This image shows the tram tracks being laid alongÂ Mount Pleasant Road, Hastings in about 1905. Proposals for a tram system were first proposed as early as 1891 but there was stiff resistance to the enterprise by town councillors. They thought it would ruin the town. The proposalÂ would not go away though. Over the next 10 years repeated attempts were made to push the tram system proposal through to approval. This was finally given in July 1900 but protests against the trams and problems with the firms contracted to carry out the workÂ delayed construction beginning untilÂ December 1904.
The trams were well used, with 120,801 fares being taken during the week ended January 30 1908. The fares paid equated to Â£650 (about Â£68k in todays money). Indeed some trams were so packed that conductors had trouble moving about the car to take fares. The cars were designed to accommodate 20 people only, however the seem to have regularly had 30 people and 20 dogs on board!
Just a year later though the AGM of the Hastings and District Electric Tramways Ltd heard that takings were down and maintenance costs up.
I found these interesting snippets of information on the Hastings Chronicles website. It provides a sequence of headlines relating to the development and implementation of the tramways for the first five years. You can access it here.
The two original images used to create the one above are below. The black and white image is from the Hastings Bygones website. The page can be accessed by clicking on the image below.