Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: July 28, 2019
Webpage updated: July 28, 2019




When Plymouth Corporation acquired the Plymouth Tramway Company network in 1892 one of the lines ran from Market Place, through Old Town Street, Pound Street, Cobourg Street, North Road, Houndiscombe Road to Mutley Plain, where it joined the main route from Market Place via Tavistock Place.

At the time of the opening of the service between Market Place and Compton Lane End in April 1893, the Western Daily Mercury said: 'The loop line by way of Cobourg-street and Houndiscombe-road to Mutley Plain is not yet ready for traffic.  It will be worked by means of light one-horse cars similar to those in use on the West Hoe section.'

Later that month the Tramways Manager, Mr C R Everson, reported to the Corporation that the section running along Houndiscombe Road was to be opened as soon as possible.

Commencement (see note A below)

There is no evidence of the date of the opening of the Houndiscombe Road section but it is though to have been in December 1893 or possibly January 1894. 

Original Route (see note B below)

Market Place, Old Town Avenue, Old Town Street, Pound Street, Cobourg Street, North Road, Houndiscombe Road, Mutley Plain, Townsend Hill, Tavistock Road, Compton Lane End.

Subsequent development (see note C below)

On the section through Houndiscombe Road, the first car left the junction with Belgrave Road at 8.50am and returned from the Market at 9.04.  It then ran every 35 minutes until 9.20pm from Mutley and 10pm from the Market.  On Saturdays there was a late car at 11pm from the Market.

There was a major change in the livery of the tramcars during 1897.  On April 23rd the Council resolved to repaint the tramcars according to the route they were allocated to.  Cars going to Hyde Park via Houndiscombe Road would be yellow.  This would be carried out when the cars needed renovating but it is not clear if this decision was actually carried out.

In June 1897 the service through Houndiscombe Road appears to have been cut-back slightly to terminate at Mutley Baptist Chapel and would run every 15-minutes from the Market.  This did not last long though, as from Monday September 6th 1897 the frequency was reduced to every 30 minutes.

An interesting diversion was a Council decision dated September 19th 1898: 'That a notice be exhibited on the tramcars requesting passengers to destroy their tickets upon leaving the car'.


During December 1898 a proposal was made to close the line through Cobourg Street, North Road and Houndiscombe Road and this decision was confirmed by the full Council on January 9th 1899.

Note A:  Wherever possible an exact date of commencement of a service is shown.  However, in a lot of cases no precise date has been recorded so reference will be made to official returns to the Council or other documentary evidence to narrow the date down as much as possible.

Note B:  This gives the roads and streets the service passed through.  A road or street name in brackets indicates that it has not been confirmed beyond doubt that the road or street was used by buses on this route but it is a "best guess" based on the author's knowledge of the practice at the time.  If it is subsequently confirmed by either documentary or photographic evidence that the road or street was traversed by this service then the brackets will be deleted.

Note C:  Where deviations to the original route are shown they will be from and to a road or street named in the "Original Route" section so that the alteration in route can be easily followed.