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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Waterloo le 18 Juni 1815

Two hundred years ago to the day - tens of thousands of men marched across rolling fields towards their deaths in the face of musketry, cannon fire, bayonets and cavalry charges. Farmland near to the outlying village of Waterloo became synonymous with a climatic battle that marked the end of the Napoleonic era.

Much like its naval predecessor, Trafalgar, the outcome of the day was cause for

national celebration (in Britain) as well as capitals of European sovereign states who joined together in common cause against the 'Corsican Tyrant'. Commander of the Allied Armies (Prussia, Russia, Austria, Britain et al) - the Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington, was memorialised up and down the country; as was his greatest battle.

At the time, Blackpool did not register on the national map. Merely a huddle of modest structures amid farmland and marshes. It was the turn of another century and grand expansion of a burgeoning seaside resort before the great battle was appropriately represented with the naming of an important new road leading directly to the sea for travellers arriving from inland.

Waterloo Road would host a brand new electric tramway along much of its path : opening up a whole new area to residential and commercial development. At its junction with an equally important thoroughfare, Lytham Road, the paths of two electric lines met to create what became Blackpool's busiest street tram junction. Popularly known as 'Royal Oak' after the Public House on the corner - it acquired almost magical status for followers of Blackpool's trams, given the high frequency of trams passing through, or terminating, at this point. Alas 'Waterloo' never achieved fame by appearing on tram destination blinds - unlike .Royal Oak'. In commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo - two images from the halcyon days of trams on Waterloo Road (both by John Woodman).

Top : Rail coach 208 departs from the Oxford

to head due west to the

Royal Oak along Waterloo

Road. Below : The busy

tram junction at Royal

Oak. A summer season

South Pier service sees

a 'Marton Vambac' on

Lytham Road turning

on to Waterloo Road.

Another tram has just

arrived at the Royal

Oak terminus of the

Marton service - this

was a busy Saturday

morning in 1960.

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