Ilford Council Tramways Car 10, Chadwell Heath Terminus

Our real photographic postcard is number 48581 in the Bell Series published by Bell's Photo Co. Ltd. of Leigh-on-Sea in around 1907, our copy being posted from Chadwell Heath to Clacton-on-Sea on 1st July 1908. The original, described as "Photos in Silver Print", was extremely faded but we have managed to restore this rare image. The location is the Ilford Council Tramways terminus at Chadwell Heath.

Chadwell Heath is an area in England about four miles to the east of Ilford. Romford is two miles further east. The name 'Chadwell' was first recorded in 1254 as 'Chaudewell' and referred to a settlement on the Ilford side of the ancient boundary between Dagenham and Barking. It is thought to have been named somewhat earlier after the well or spring of Saint Chad, a 7th century Anglo-Saxon monk. It was at this same boundary that the Ilford trams (and later the trolleybuses) terminated. The Eastern Counties Railway had built the line from Liverpool Street through the area to Romford in 1839 and in 1864 Chadwell Heath railway station was opened by its new owners, the Great Eastern Railway.

Tram 10 in our postcard was one of a batch of twelve (1-12) delivered in early 1903 for the tramway opening, and built by Hurst Nelson & Co. Ltd of Motherwell. They originally had open-top 57-seat bodies. Each ran on Hurst Nelson 6ft wheelbase cantilever 4-wheel trucks and had B.T.H. K10 controllers and two GE54 25hp motors. At the date of this card the tram had been fitted with a top cover (in 1904) and was in a crimson lake and cream livery. We have previously described the Ilford system in connection with another view (see Postcard).

In an attempt to combat bus competition, in June 1913 proposals for joint running were put forward at the instigation of the London County Council including the operation of an extension of the Aldgate to Ilford joint service onwards to Chadwell Heath, to be operated by LCC, West Ham and East Ham trams, and also a service from Canning Town to Chadwell Heath via Barking to be operated by Ilford trams, which lacked conduit fittings. This came to nothing, Ilford always being against the heavy London cars with magnetic track brakes wearing out its tracks. An earlier proposal under the Romford and District Tramways Act of 1903 would have allowed for a tramway to be built from Romford Market Place to Chadwell Heath, enabling trams to run from Romford to Ilford and potentially on to Aldgate. Sadly, this tramway was never built and the powers lapsed. A lost opportunity for tramways, certainly a benefit to the bus and railway companies who were not restricted by borough boundaries.

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