Over the last week I’ve been scanning some old photos from a little wooden box owned by my late father-in-law, Keith Mosher. Not all the photos in it are his – some came from his wife, Marjorie Buckley, and possibly her family – but it’s fun looking at some of them and trying to work out what they’re of, or where they’re of, or who they’re of.
Calling all tram buffs!
Probably my favourite find so far has been a scrap of photo mounted on cardboard – possibly this was a mounting board from an old picture frame, I’m not sure – but after scanning it at 1200 dpi so that I could blow it up as much as possible, I’m just astounded at the clarity of such an old photo. Here’s a web-friendly (96 dpi) version of the image – an early 1900s electric tram with driver/engineer, conductor and background observer 😉 :
The biggest clue is, of course, the tram itself. It’s a number 76, but unlike most early electric trams I’ve been able to find images of, the number is below the headlamp, rather than above it. I am hoping this will be meaningful to a tram enthusiast out there!
The next clue is that it’s an open-front, double-decker tram. The metwalwork winding up from the driver’s left-hand side represents the floor of the staircase leading to the upper level, so it ran somewhere that double-decker electric trams were used.
And then there’s the location – it’s in an English-speaking country, going by the sign for the below-street level gents’ toilet over by the footpath, and what looks to be a sign saying ‘Saddler’ on the building above the gents’ loo. My original guess was London based on the clothing, but it could also be Manchester. Marjorie’s family came from the Barton upon Irwell and Eccles area, so it’s feasible that it was taken there. They left England for Australia in early 1911, so if it is Manchester, then it was probably taken between about 1900 and 1911. There’s a remote possibility that it’s Sydney, Australia, but the buildings and road look a bit too ‘established’ to my mind.
But even if I can find out where the tram was driven and where the photo was taken, do you know what I’d love to know the most? Who the driver and the conductor are! The driver is so serious – looking straight ahead, steering his tram. He’s got a great moustache and, like the conductor, wears a uniform designed to help keep him warm – hence my theory that it’s more likely a UK tram. And the conductor looks so young and perhaps just a wee bit nervous. I wonder if he ever settled into his job – or if he was merely nervous about having his photo taken? And then there’s the fellow in the background doing his best movie-star impersonation – although movie stars probably hadn’t been ‘invented’ at this stage!
I’ll likely never find out who any of the people in this photo are, but it would be great to get an idea of where and when it was taken. If you can solve the puzzle, please let me know!