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West Park, Tram No 179


West Park, Tram No 179
Description:
3rd March 1956, View taken on last day of Tram No 179 on route no 1 to Lawnswood.

User Comments:

Name:
B Hallam

Comment:
I wonder how many Leodis fans have looked at this photo and simply seen a tram. In fact, that was exactly the intention of the photographer who took it to record for postrity the 'swansong' of car 179. But it is unlikely that he would have taken the trouble - or had the insight - to compose this scene in order to record so much irony. His photo has unwittingly captured sixty-years of transport progress, albeit that the electric tram's actual assassin - the bus - is missing. There are four other vehicles in the scene, and each had its particular place in time and progress. The 'sit-up-and-beg' car in the background representing the 1920's, is an example of the modern motor-car that had finally thrown-off its horseless carriage image. Next up, is the car to the near-right. Hailing from the late 1930's to the early 1940's, possibly either a Standard or a Singer, it represents car design known as 'streamline'. However, beneath the surface of the shiny black coachwork of these two cars, little had changed, and thanks to WW2, little would change for about ten-years. Then, enter the car in the foreground, a Hillman Minx circa 1954. Along with its contemporary about to undertake the tram - possibly a Ford Prefect, they represent the motor-car of today. Gone was the old idea of a chassis onto which sat a coach-built body of steel plated wooden frames - just like the tram. The all-in-one pressed steel body/chassis - called unit construction - had arrived. Overhead valve (high compression) engines, and coil-spring suspension, had brought speed and comfort. The age of motoring, and the irony signposted by this 1956 photo, had begun. Now, here in 2009 - fifty three years later - our roads are clogged by millions of us driving cars that are (basically) little changed from that 1950's Hillman Minx. And of course, the topic of 2009, is "make cars electric, and bring back the tram!" Not only are we Brits famous for spotting irony, we are pretty good at creating it too.

Date:
28-Jun-2009

Email:
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Name:
B Hallam

Comment:
Further to my previous musings on this photograph, I assumed - from the description - that it had recorded the 'last-day' of tram 179. This was clearly not the case. Tram 179 was photographed four-months later - in July 1956, standing at the terminus at Halton.

Date:
15-Jul-2009

Email:
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Name:
Graham A. Schofield

Comment:
I think that we should thank Mr. Hallam for opening our eyes to what could be described as a collage showing a very historic moment in time. The five vehicles represent a huge window into our transport history - - - spanning as it does, a momentous period which saw this country survive through two World Wars and The Depression. The demise of the tramcar, was a sad day for The City of Leeds, heralding as it did a world of clogged up, and exhaust fume polluted streets and roads. If one sits quietly and studies this, and other similar pictures, you will most likely begin to understand why you hear, far more often these days, those, what used to be distant voices, but now much, much nearer, crying, pleading - - - "Bring Back The Tramcar." Mr. Hallam is correct when he tells us that this picture does not portray the last working day for this tram, number 179. Have a look at picture number 2002102_3354751.

Date:
16-Feb-2013

Email:
GrahamScho@AOL.com

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