Former Nottingham Corporation Trent Bridge Tram Depot built by Arthur Brown, the City Engineer, and opened in 1901.
Reasons for Designation
The former Nottingham Corporation Trent Bridge Tram Depot built by Arthur Brown, the City Engineer, and opened in 1901, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* it has a bold composition embellished with unexpectedly delicate neo-classical detailing, demonstrating a confident hand in its considered proportions and use of good quality building materials;
* the configuration of the depot remains largely as designed, rendering its original purpose completely legible;
* the survival of the ancillary structures, notably the stable, cart sheds and the staff areas, including the original WCs and recreation room, particularly distinguishes the depot from other examples.
* given the rapidly diminishing number of tram depots, it is a particularly good and reasonably well-preserved example clearly demonstrating the civic pride taken in this form of transport during this period;
* it has a distinctive presence in the surrounding residential area, together forming a coherent urban landscape of the late C19 and early C20.
Electric tramways first appeared in 1883 and proliferated at the beginning of the C20 in the main urban centres but they soon gave way to the more flexible motor bus. Many municipalities built large tram depots, often with ornate frontages that reflected municipal pride. Depots could be little more than large open-air screen-walled enclosures with some rudimentary repair and maintenance facilities but were more usually large, top-lit structures with the roof supported on a dense pattern of supports. They were often designed to incorporate other elements such as the offices, or both the offices and generating station. Such offices were often emblems of civic pride and were designed at considerable expense.
The Nottingham Tramways Company was established in 1872 and the horse-drawn tramway was formally opened in 1878. By the turn of the century, the Nottingham Corporation had plans to convert the tramway system to electric traction and to expand the network. As part of this, the car house and repair shops forming the Trent Bridge Depot were completed in May 1901 and formally opened on 21 October 1901. The engineering and constructional work was carried out by Arthur Brown, the City Engineer, with the assistance of T Wallis Gordon, the assistant engineer. Herbert Talbot, the city electrical engineer, was responsible for all the electrical work.
The electrification of the tramway and the opening of the Trent Bridge Depot were covered in a detailed article in Street Railway Journal (November 22 1902) which included photographs and a plan of the depot. It was described as ‘a very convenient and imposing set of buildings’. The plan shows that the car house contained spaces for eleven tracks, which is ‘pitted’ to provide access beneath the cars, and accommodation for 80 to 90 cars. On entering the car shed, a two-storey office is on the right hand side, and a mess room and conveniences for motormen and conductors on the left. Adjoining the car shed at the rear (north-east) is a repair shop with two ‘pitted’ tracks and two 5-ton electric travelling cranes. On the north-west side of the repair shop is a carpenter’s shop and a paint shop, both containing two tracks. A blacksmith’s shop with two forges adjoins these with access from one to the other. At the back of the repair shop are two stores and another on the upper floor. Arranged around the rear yard, the plan shows a carriage house and three cart sheds, stables, an oil store, a coal shed and the Foreman’s cottage with its own small private yard, scullery, coal shed, WC and ash store. On the floor above one of the stores is a recreation room ‘supplied with papers, books, chess, draughts, and other games’. Over the carriage house and cart shed is ‘an exceedingly well arranged and lighted billiard room to hold two full-size billiard tables with benches on one side.’ The article adds ‘it is believed that these rooms are very much appreciated by the men.’ The power for the tramways was supplied from the electricity station in Talbot Street.
The tram depot closed in 1920 and was subsequently used as a bus depot. At some point between the Ordnance Survey (OS) maps of 1916 and 1954, the building was extended at the rear resulting in the loss of the blacksmith’s shop. Between the OS maps of 1954 and 1970 the oil store in the yard appears to have been either repurposed or rebuilt to create an electricity substation. The foreman’s cottage was demolished at some point between the OS maps of 1970 and 1990.
Former Nottingham Corporation Trent Bridge Tram Depot built by Arthur Brown, the City Engineer, and opened in 1901.
MATERIALS: red brick laid in Flemish bond with rubbed brick and stone dressings. The roof covering over the former car house is of slate with glazed strips on each pitch; whilst the rear repair shops have raised glazed ridges, and the stable roof is clad in plain red clay tiles.
PLAN: the depot is a very large building occupying an entire block within an area of late C19 and early C20 housing, bounded by Bunbury Street to the north-east, Pyatt Street to the south-east, Wilford Crescent East to the south-west, and Turney Street to the north-west. It has a rectangular plan consisting of the former car house at the north-east end, repair shops, stores and a yard at the south-west end. Along the south-eastern wall of the yard is the former cart shed with a recreation room above, and in the southern corner is the former stable.
EXTERIOR: the depot is relatively plain architecturally but is embellished with some delicate neo-classical detailing. It has a plinth of engineering brick, a dentilled brick eaves cornice, stone quoins, and moulded stone coping at the gable ends. The former car house, which faces north-east onto Bunbury Street, has a triple span roof with segmental pediments at the three gable heads, moulded stone kneelers, and two stone bands spanning the façade. The nine tall entrance openings are divided by wooden piers in the form of panelled pilasters with a fluted frieze to the capitals, although not all of these are intact due to the fifth, sixth and seventh openings having been modified. A continuous stone architrave above the openings has a dentilled cornice and segmental pediments at each end. An exhaust extraction has been inserted in the semicircular window in the central gable head. At the far left of the façade, the former mess room is lit by a three-light mullion and transom window with a quarter round moulding to the brick jambs. The mullions are ovolo moulded with a fillet and the plain stone lintel has a moulded cornice. At the far right, the offices are lit on both floors by similar two-light windows. To the left, the stone lintel above the door is in the same style but the door itself has been replaced.
The long north-west elevation is 32 window bays wide. From the left, the first 19, which light the car shed, have tall recessed cross windows with wooden glazing bars, rubbed semicircular brick arches, stone hoodmoulds and sills. A moulded stone band runs across at lintel level. Two of the openings have doors, neither of which is original. Adjoining this is the former paint store which has a lower roof and is six window bays wide. A further range, added at some point between 1916 and 1954, is seven window bays wide and has similar detailing.
The long south-east elevation has, from the right, two cross windows lighting the former mess room, followed by 19 windows to the car shed, and 12 windows to the repair shop. To the left, the three-bay gabled section which houses the ground-floor store and recreation room above, is lit by cross windows on both floors. A moulded stone band demarcates the floors and two stone bands adorn the gable head. Following this is a longer range with a four-panelled door in a rebuilt brick surround which leads up the stairs to the social areas of the depot. Above, the WCs on the landing and first floor are lit by pairs of small two-over-two pane sash windows with wide stone lintels. The ground floor is then blind, as the cart sheds are behind, and the billiard room above is lit by four cross windows. Adjoining this is the gable end of the stable which has a pair of small semicircular windows with brick arches and stone lintels, and a three-light stone mullioned window to the hay loft. The left return of the stables, which is at the right-hand side of the rear south-west elevation, is lit on both floors by three small semicircular windows. Adjoining this is the wall enclosing the yard which incorporates the gable end of a small building, probably the repurposed oil store which has a raised glazed roof ridge.
In the rear yard, at the northern end are the remains of the foreman’s cottage, now just two blocked up fireplaces and the short section of wall that divided the two main rooms. To the south of this is what may have been the oil store, followed by the stable in the south corner which has plain barge boards. This retains a panelled door with a three-light mullioned window above, and on the left return, a two-part stable door with a hay loft opening and hoist above. Adjoining this to the east are three cart sheds with wide openings, none of which are original. The billiard room and store above are lit by five cross windows and retain a very ornate iron bracket, presumably for a gas lamp. To the left, at a right angle, is the four-bay range containing the two stores. The openings are irregular, some containing cross windows whilst other have been blocked up or altered. To the left are the two gable ends of the main parallel ranges which have tall, wide openings with C20 concertina doors. The opening on the left range is flanked by tall semicircular windows with wooden glazing bars.
INTERIOR: the large open spaces within the car sheds and repair shops have exposed brick walls, painted overall, and lightweight metal trusses supporting the roofs. A floor has been laid over the original floor in the car shed to cover the long narrow pits but some of the original low brick supports are revealed by the creation of later repair pits. The two travelling cranes remain in situ in the repair shops. The offices in the right corner at the entrance retain a moulded ceiling cornice and some panelled doors but have been considerably extended. The former mess room in the left corner has been altered except for two plank doors and the brick-lined floor.
The social area of the depot to the rear is accessed via a dogleg stair within a stairwell lined in glazed brown tiles. The stair has a tiled spandrel, stone steps, stick balusters and a shaped newel post, both of iron. The WCs situated on the landing and first floor also have tile-clad walls, and retain ceramic urinals and two ceramic wash-hand basins, one in a decorative style supported by ornate metal brackets. The large billiard room has a woodblock floor laid in herringbone and a modillion ceiling cornice. The panelling to dado height consists of arched panels below and small square panels above. At one end is a shallow plinth with fitted wooden benches supported by shaped brackets. Two fireplaces are positioned opposite each other halfway along the room. These have moulded wooden surrounds surmounted by a three-panelled overmantel and an iron grate with hood. The cheeks and hearth are lined in red tiles. One of the original pair of highly ornate neo-Jacobean style billiard tables remains, along with the wooden score board in the same flamboyantly carved style, which is affixed to the wall. The recreation room above one of the stores has a similar woodblock floor and a canted ceiling covered in matchboard cladding with lightweight Queen post roof trusses. It is divided from the adjacent store, which has the same roof construction, by a panelled and glazed partition.
The walls of the stables are lined in glazed brown tiles and the floor slopes towards a central channel. The ladder up to the hayloft remains but the stall dividers and mangers have been removed. The cart sheds have a jack arch roof and brick-lined floor but no other fittings survive.