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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Sub Station Anyone ? Tram Shelter Anyone ?

Our intrepid researcher Colin MacLeod set out to record two structures still extant on Talbot Road which have relevance to the former tram service which was replaced by motor buses in 1936. The service of course was the short mile and a bit straight run between Talbot Square and Layton Cemetery on what was then called 'New Road'.

At the time of its construction it ran through fields until reaching the Cemetery Gates once it turned east after passing the old Talbot Road Station (now Blackpool North). One of the ports of call was the Isolation Hospital which was sited at the junction of Devonshire Road with New Road. Very quickly development along the entire route took over the former greener surrounds, whilst Layton tram terminus quickly found itself in proximity to terraced housing which served the needs of hundreds of families with employment in the town's hotels, bars, and places of entertainment.

A proposal to further extend the tramway from the Cemetery Gates which had detailed planning of the line as far as the crest of Hoo Hill at which point roads split northwards to Bispham Village crossing the railway line via a level crossing at Bispham Station : and eastwards to Poulton. Regrettably this was not to be.

Colin recorded what would appear to be the original tramway sub station structure - still serving the needs of a utility group, sited next to the now busy road junction with Talbot Road and Devonshire Road. On Talbot Road built into the perimeter wall of the Isolation Hospital is a substantial shelter with interior wooden bench seating. This is presumed to be the tram shelter (and later bus shelter) for intending passengers visiting the hospital and returning either into town, or the shorter distance to Layton terminus. A substantial shelter was also built at the tram terminus opposite the Cemetery complete with rustic clock tower and tiled roof. It copied a style in vogue in the 1920s with similar tram shelters evident on the Marton Service at Devonshire Square, the Oxford, and Waterloo Road/Central Drive junction. Here trams diverged from Waterloo Road to head due north towards Revoe Gymnasium and then on to Central Drive, terminating in proximity to Central Station forecourt. Other services continued due west on Waterloo Road to Royal Oak, Lytham Road and Victoria Pier.

Colin's images of the two reminders of this long gone tram service were taken today.

The tram shelter built within the perimeter boundary wall of the Isolation Hospital site still with its imposing wrought iron fencing in place. Both Images : Colin MacLeod

Obviously the front facing walls and doorway have been replaced on safety grounds. Private residences now box in this lingering remnant from Layton's tram service.

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