Portsmouth Corporation Tramways Car 80

Portsmouth Corporation Tramways Car 80,
Illuminated for opening of New South Parade Pier

It is not only royal visits and coronations that caused trams to be decorated. In 1904 Portsmouth South Parade Pier was destroyed by fire. The Corporation took over the remains and rebuilt it, with it reopening in the summer of 1908. Tram 80 was illuminated for the occasion. The lights on the side spelt out "Success". The postcard of the tram (photographed in North End Depot) was published by J.Welch & Sons of Portsmouth. It has the caption "The Mayor's toast, Success to the South Parade Pier". Our example was posted on 22nd August 1908. Unlike so many other U.K. coastal piers, South Parade Pier still exists today.

Car 80 was the last one from the original batch of 80 open top cars built by the Electric Railway and Tramway Carriage Works Ltd of Preston for the opening of Portsmouth Corporation's electric tramways in 1901. It had 22 seats on the lower deck and 33 on the upper. It had a Brill 21E four-wheel truck with two Dick Kerr 25A 25-horsepower motors operated by Dick Kerr DB1 Form K controllers. In February 1904 this car was fitted with an experimental top cover, but this was removed in 1907. The livery was crimson lake and cream.

French fleet visit This was not the first time that Car 80 had been illuminated. During August Bank Holiday Week 1905 the French fleet visited Portsmouth. The tram, at this period in its closed top state, carried the words "Vive la France" in coloured lights and was used by the fleet together with 59 other trams. It is shown in the small view which is also from a postcard by J.Welch & Sons of Portsmouth, "printed at our works in Belgium". It has the caption "L'Entente Cordiale" and our example was posted on 5th October 1905 from Portsmouth to an address at Dourdan, near Paris.

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