Regular cheap public transport, which is taken for, granted today, would have had a quite significant effect on people at the time when it was introduced and developed. The advent of public transport would have opened up a wider area for people to socialise and find work and areas outside of the main urban areas could be developed into suburbs new cleaner housing for people to live and allowing them to live away from the shadow of the work place the average tram fare in the 1880’s was 1 1/2d. This development of public transport would also include the development of the railways, which would help to spread families further apart.
The first horse tramways in Newcastle started in 1879 run by The Newcastle and Gosforth Tramways and Carriage Company. By 1893 tracks had been laid to Gosforth. The horse tram services stopped operating 13 April 1901 and the new electric cars began operating on the 16 December 1901 the majority of main routes where completed by 1904 later extensions where added to Fenham 1907, Shieldfield 1912, and Throckley 1915 after World War One extensions where laid to the villages of Forest Hall, Westmoor, and the entrance to Gosforth Park in 1921 and Fenham to Westerhope in 1925. On 12 January 1923 tracks were opened over the High Level Bridge. (Built between October 1846 and June 1849 by Stephenson and Harrison to Gateshead.)
Ernest Wake snr. Was a Car Conductor living in Hebburn at the time of his marriage in July 1904 , the picture postcard of him on a Newcastle Corporation tram can be dated to about 1904 onwards (due to the layout on the back.) I do not know when E. Wake snr stopped working for the Newcastle Corporation but he had served with the Northumberland Fusiliers during World War One and then started his own leather business.
By 1928 Newcastle had 300 trams running on 51 miles of track it was the biggest tramways between Leeds and Edinburgh.
It was originally known as Newcastle and Corporation Tramways but in 1915 it changed its name to Newcastle Corporation Transport and Electricity Undertaking.
Motor busses began operating in 1912 on a route which ran to Westerhope by 1925 there where five motor bus services running to Branch End, Belsay, Gosforth, Hexham, and Seaton Sluice. In 1919 a Sentinel steam wagon fitted with seats and towing a trailer was operating a service to Burradon a mining village to the north east of Newcastle.
The Trolley bus system began operating in 1935 and became the largest in the country.
Ernest Wake jnr. started working for the Newcastle Corporation Tramways as a line boy age 14 in 1919 the job of the line boy was to change the tracks at junctions to redirect the trams much the same as points do on a railway by the time of his marriage in August 1926 he was employed as a motor conductor, he met his future wife Elizabeth Mills when she used his bus on her journey to work, employed by public transport he could have been exempt from service in World War Two but he enlisted and served with the Royal Corps of Transport. After the war he resumed his job with The Newcastle Corporation driving buses until his retirement in 1970.
Canneaux, T.P. & Hanson, Nnn.H. (1985.) The Trolleybuses of Newcastle upon Tyne 1935-1966, Newcastle Upon Tyne City Librarys.
E.J.Hobsbawm, (1990) “Volume 3 The Penguin Economic History of Britain.” Penguin.
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