Print

Kenneth Young interview: Transport memories - Trams

London United (LU) trams had arrived in Wimbledon in 1907 before my time. They came from Hampton Court via Kingston and went on to Tooting. The London County Council (LCC) operated the greater part of the central London tram system by this time where overhead wires were not allowed. Current was therefore taken from below the road surface using conduits below the tracks. On arrival at the suburbs the trams connected to overhead wires at changeover pits - one such pit was at Longley Road, Tooting.

In 1922 the LCC trams came to Wimbledon, using the track of the LU trams from Tooting to a terminus at the foot of Wimbledon Hill (Mansel Road/Woodside junction). Here I remember there were often two big double-decker trams waiting side by side, other traffic just managing to squeeze past. The terminus was moved to outside the Town Hall in 1932. From the Wimbledon Hill terminus the trams went to the Victoria Embankment, through Tooting and Clapham, one route going via Elephant and Castle and Blackfriars Bridge, the other over Westminster Bridge.

As a boy aged eight I used to go (unaccompanied it should be noted) by the service all the way to the Embankment. Cheap mid-day fares applied after 10am and returning by 4pm. My fare was 1d each way. Hardly believable. Grown-ups paid 2d for the same journey.  The trams were replaced by trolley-buses from the 1930s and later by buses.