Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 29, 2018
Webpage updated: July 27, 2019




There were in fact two separate undertakings called the Plymouth Tramways Company.  The first, apparently registered in 1888 as the Plymouth Tramways Company Limited, was formed to purchase the rights, powers and property of the Plymouth, Devonport and District Tramways Company, to finish construction of the other proposed lines and to work horse-trams over the system.

Little is known about this Company at present.   It is suspected that this undertaking may be the same as the one mentioned in the Western Daily Mercury on Friday December 9th 1887 under the heading of "Plymouth Steam Trams": 'some gentlemen from London, who arrived in Plymouth a few days since, have been engaged in making negotiations with respect to buying up the plant of the Plymouth Tramway Company, which they have secured for the sum of 4,000.'

The first reference to their existence is in the Preamble to the Plymouth Tramways Act of 1889, which set up the second Plymouth Tramways Company 'to authorise the acquisition by and transfer to the Company and to vest in the Company the undertakings, lands, works, estates, property (real and personal), and all powers, rights, privileges and authorities of and exercisable by the Plymouth Tramways Company Limited, hereinafter called the Limited Company.'

It would appear that the only action this Company took was to offer the tramway it had bought to the Plymouth Corporation for 1,000 more than it had paid for it (i.e. 5,000).  In those days it was not seen as the role of a local authority to enter in to what amounted to a business proposition so the Corporation declined the offer.  As the Company did not attempt to get any Parliamentary powers to operate or construct any lines, its existence has been previously unknown.

The second Plymouth Tramways Company, without the limited liability, was an altogether different undertaking and was incorporated under the authority of the Plymouth Tramways Act 1889.