Glossop Tramway Connections That Never Happened.

This article is based on research in newspapers of the time.

At the Glossop council meeting on 30 May 1900 the town clerk reported that he had received a letter from a Mr. Gerald Barker of London, asking if the council would be interested in the construction of a light railway between Glossop and Stalybridge (or other local towns) for the carriage of passengers and goods. As nothing was known about Mr. Barker, and the council was already in discussions with Edmundsons' about their own scheme, the council decided not to pursue the matter.

This turned out to be the first suggestion for providing a service to enable people to travel right from Manchester to Glossop by electric car. One proposal was to construct a tramway from the Glossop system to Godley and Hyde, where cars were already running which joined up to the Manchester cars at Denton. An alternative proposal was a scheme to connect Hadfield with Stalybridge by way of Hollingworth. The possibility of constructing short sections from the main line to the mills and the railway station, for transport of goods by specially constructed waggons, was also being looked at.

The Glossop-dale Chronicle and North Derbyshire Reporter of 1 November 1901 reported that a private meeting of representatives of local authorities in the southern and south-eastern suburbs of Manchester and others had been held on 29 October to consider a proposed scheme for the Manchester Electric Light Railway which would serve Sale, Northenden, Didsbury, Gatley, Cheadle, Cheadle Hulme, Hazel Grove, Marple, Mottram, Glossop, Hyde, and Stalybridge. The issue of 22 November included a map of the proposed routes, reproduced from the Manchester Courier of 16 November.

Proposed Manchester Electric Light Railway routes

At the council meeting on 8 January 1902, the town clerk reported on correspondence received from the Manchester Suburban Electric Tramways Co. Members were of the opinion that the company would have to liaise with Edmundsons' but that the council would also need to be consulted. The matter was delegated to the council sub-committee dealing with Edmundsons'.

The Glossop-dale Chronicle and North Derbyshire Reporter of 20 March 1903 carried an article under the headline Local Tramways of the Future:
The practical consummation of certain schemes at present under serious consideration should thoroughly revolutionise the means of transit and travelling in Glossop, High Peak, and surrounding districts. We are apparently in for vast, go-ahead improvements in the method of local travelling that will show up the years just past as the slow and inconvenient age. All this, of course, if plans come to successful fruition. Latest information is to the effect that it is more than probable that ere many more years have passed the North-West corner of Derbyshire and parts of this end of Cheshire will have running through them electric cars without rails. The South-Eastern section of the original Manchester Suburban Electric Tramways scheme of 1901, between Glossop, Hyde, and Stalybridge, is now to be promoted as an electric road car line, with the usual overhead electric trolley equipment, but without rails, or any permanent way other than the existing surface of the roads, The system is already in successful operation on the Continent. Application is to be made to the Light Railway Commissioners in May, and readers will be greatly interested to know that the sections first proposed to be dealt with are from Stalybridge and Hyde to Mottram, Hollingworth, and Tintwistle, Glossop, and Broadbottom, and from Glossop and Marple, and possible extensions to New Mills and Hayfield.
No record of such an Application has been found.

An article by “Stroller” in the Glossop-dale Chronicle and North Derbyshire Reporter of 25 September 1903 was headed Electric Cars to Longdendale and read:
Why should Londendale lag behind now that Glossop-dale has got its fine service of electric cars? This is a question which is seriously agitating the minds of some of the residents of Mottram and Hollingworth districts, and at the last meeting of the Mottram Urban District Council allusion was made to the matter. The Chairman (Mr. J. Wagstaffe, J.P.) stated that some way or another a rumour had got into the neighbourhood to the effect that the Urban Electric Supply Company (who are the promoters of Glossop scheme) had obtained permission to put down a tramway in the Mottram district. The Council, he said, knew nothing whatever about the matter, and no steps had been taken or any public notice issued either by the Urban Electric Supply Company or any other company, which they would most certainly have to do before anything could be done. Perhaps the company mentioned might be able to take on a scheme, but no permission had yet been given, but if they did obtain authority the Council would give them every encouragement they could. He thought that was only reasonable, considering what they (the Council) had done in the past when they approached the Hyde, Stalybridge, etc. Joint Board to bring their electric power round to Mottram and Broadbottom. The Clerk (Mr. Thompson) thought that the Urban Electric Supply Company had perhaps been making some preliminary application for powers to the authorities. The Hyde and Stalybridge Board had not, however, definitely refused the Council’s offer, and he thought that in the event of their getting to hear that the Urban Supply Company had come forward, if such should eventually prove to be the case, there would be a tough fight between the two bodies. Nothing whatever had yet been heard of the matter, however.
To most observers it suggests itself that it can only be a question of brief time ere there is a network of tram lines connecting Glossop with Mottram and Hollingworth and thus on to Hyde and Stalybridge, with probably off-shoot lines to various villages such as Broadbottom and Tintwistle. And when Glossop gets this tram outlet to Hyde and Stalybridge, then shall the three towns benefit mutually in a business sense and a great convenience be given to travellers throughout the district. Obviously, hearty support to any good scheme will be given by the Mottram and Hollingworth Councils, and, with this encouragement, any company could enter upon the scheme with full hopes of success and public patronage. At present Glossop is cooped up; an outlet by tram service would be of inestimable advantage, and would not only bring many visitors into the town but would give townspeople a chance of visiting other places. I am in a position to state that such a connecting scheme has been under the discussion of the directors of the Glossop Company, but at present no definite plan of action has been arrived at. In conversation with a high official of the Glossop Company this week, the writer was assured that the Urban Electric Supply Company would be glad to welcome any attempt to bring about a reciprocal scheme for connecting the Glossop tramways with those of Stalybridge or Hyde; and this being so, it looks as if something tangible will be the outcome shortly and perhaps joint action arrived at between the respective companies. When that happy consummation comes to pass, the district will be well convenienced indeed. Ardent spirits, too, can be heard advocating the necessity of laying a tram track from Glossop to the Snake, but, personally, I do not consider any such scheme feasible, or, at least, remunerative for the outlay, and especially in winter-time would there be lack of patronage. However, there are others who hold contrary views.

An article in the Glossop-dale Chronicle and North Derbyshire Reporter of 20 November 1903 read:
Present appearances indicate very strongly that Longdendale district is to be granted tramway facilities, and these, it is stated, will connect up the important towns of Glossop, Stalybridge, and Hyde. A new company is to carry out the work, and its operations will be warmly welcomed by the people of Mottram, Broadbottom, Hollingworth, and Tintwistle. At the monthly meeting of the Mottram Urban District Council, on Friday evening last, the following communication was read “37, Cross Street, Manchester. 7th Nov, 1903. East Cheshire Light Railways. Dear Sir,—I beg to inform you that an application is intended to be made, and plans deposited on the 30th of the present month, under the Light Railways Act, 1896, to the Light Railway Commissioners, to construct and work a system of light railways radiating from Mottram as a centre, and connecting up on the west with the Hyde, Dukinfield, and Stalybridge system; and on the east, via Woolley Bridge, connecting up with the Glossop and Hadfield tramways, with two further branches, one to Broad bottom, and the other to Tintwistle, via Hollingworth. It is proposed that the light railways should be worked on the trolley system uniformly with all the adjacent systems. The total length of the route will be about 7¼ miles. It is proposed to provide a frequent service of cars at low fares, and it is believed that the district through which the tramways will pass, as well as the districts contiguous to the several routes, will be greatly benefited by the undertaking. The district of Mottram will particularly benefit by the scheme, for it will be placed in direct communication with such important centres of population as Hyde, Stalybridge, Ashton-under-Lyne, and Stockport. We shall, therefore, be glad if your Council will give the matter their favourable consideration, and if they can see their way to pass a resolution in support of the scheme we should be much obliged. As time is getting short, we shall be obliged if you will let us have your reply as early as convenient to yourself. Should you require any further information about the scheme, we shall be most happy to hear from you to supply the same. —Yours truly, Rowcliffe and Co. To the Clerk of Mottram-in-Longdendale Council.” The Mottram Council expressed approval of such a scheme, and it is anticipated that Hollingworth and Tintwistle Councils will also give their support.

At a meeting on 15 January 1904, however, the Mottram Council agreed to reply to the letter detailing several objections to the scheme, most especially that it was not financially viable and certain provisions were unworkable.
Hyde Town Council also decided to object. The Parliamentary Subcommittee of the Hyde Corporation reported that they had resolved that, while considering it very desirable that a tramway should be provided connecting Hyde and Mottram with Glossop, having regard to the objections raised by the local authorities interested, which appeared to be well grounded, they could not recommend the Council to support the application of the East Cheshire Light Railways Limited. The Committee's resolution was confirmed by the Council.

The matter want to a public enquiry, the Manchester Courier of 13 February 1904 reporting:
An inquiry was held on Tuesday at Stalybridge by the Light Railways Commissioners, concerning an application by the East Cheshire Light Railways Syndicate Limited, for powers to construct a light railway radiating from Mottram, to connect on with the tramways at Stalybridge and Hyde and running to Broadbottom and Tintwistle. The promoters were represented by Mr. George Rhodes, barrister, who stated that they proposed to construct tramways of a total length of seven miles. The tramways would provide inter-communication between the towns of Ashton-under-Lyne, Stalybridge, Hyde, Mottram, Broadbottom, Glossop, Hollingworth and Tintwistle, thus placing in inter-communication a total population of 133,535. There would be a frequent service of cars. The total cost of the construction of the system was estimated at £50,000.
Evidence in support of the application was given by Mr. T. C. Beeley, ex-Mayor of Hyde (chairman of the Joint Electricity Board), Colonel Pearson (one of the promoters), Mr. T. W. Ellison (town clerk) and Mr. Herbert Partington (Deputy-Mayor of Glossop), with several engineers and various residents of the Mottram and Hollingworth districts, all of whom said they believed the scheme would be of advantage to the neighbourhood.
The opposition was represented by Mr Coward, barrister (on behalf of the Great Central Railway Company), Mr. Cole Williams, instructed by Mr. Reginald Potts (on behalf of the Cheshire County Council), and Mr Fred Thompson, of Stalybridge (on behalf of the Mottram Rural District Council).
Mr. Joseph Rostern, assistant general manager of the Great Central Railway Co., said the directors of that company viewed this scheme as a serious opposition to their undertaking, and one which would do them a great deal of injury in regard to the traffic in that district. The company had lost a good many thousands of pounds by the running of cars between Manchester, Guide Bridge and Hyde. The cars at Glossop had done them so much harm that in order to regain their traffic they had dropped the return fare from Glossop to Hadfield from 4d, to 3d., and that not proving successful, they had commenced issuing weekly tickets at 6d. each. or 1d. per day, and a man could travel for that sum as often as he liked.
The Commissioners found that there would be sufficient interference by this scheme with the traffic of the Great Central Railway Company as to withdraw the case from their jurisdiction.

The Manchester Evening News of 18 February 1904 reported:
As a consequence of the recent rejection by the Light Railway Commissioners of the East Cheshire Light Railway Syndicate's application for an order to construct light railways to connect Stalybridge and Hyde with Glossop, considerable disappointment is felt, especially in the Longdendale valley; and the Mottram Urban Council, which lodged objections to the scheme, is coming in for not a little criticism. A correspondent of the “Evening News” has obtained the case for the Mottram Council against the Light Railway Syndicate's application. It is argued that the local authority would prefer that the powers for local trams should be in the hands of the Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley, and Dukinfield Joint Municipal Tramways Board and not of a company. This, the chairman of the council argues, is the position they have taken up all along, feeling that they have a claim upon their larger and wealthier neighbours. They consider it is not advisable for any speculative company to obtain powers, but that the boroughs should assist the outlying districts. Importance is attached by the Council to the fact that not one of the promoters of the syndicate’s scheme—so the chairman asserts—has any known interest, either as resident ratepayer or otherwise in the Longdendale valley. In very many particulars, on questions both of principle and detail, the proposals as submitted were objectionable, unfavourable to the council as representing the ratepayers, and not as advantageous as a scheme worked by the Joint Board would be. It is pointed out that the Tintwistle Rural District Council delivered objections similar to those of Mottram Council; whilst the objections of the Cheshire County Council, which were not gone into at the inquiry, were even more formidable. It is asserted that the promoters should have proceeded under the Tramway Act instead of the Light Railway Act, in which event they would have been far nearer complying with the requirements of the local authorities, and the chief objections of the Mottram Council would have been met. The promoters had no support from Longendale Valley, and Hyde Corporation refused to support the scheme. The Chairman of the Mottram Council believes there is ground for anticipating that powers will have to be sought in the early future to permit the Stalybridge and Hyde Joint Board to complete the circle of their electric tramway system by passing through the Mottram district. To complete this circle a distance of only about two miles requires to be covered, whereas the Syndicate's undertaking, if carried, would cover over seven miles. It would, however, provide the link which is most needed, and it is generally expected that, if not forestalled, the Joint Board will turn attention to it after completing their present undertaking, which they will do within the next few months. At present the termini both from Stalybridge, and Hyde, in the Mottram direction, is in the country, where the population is exceedingly small.

Obviously, neither scheme went ahead and Glossop's connection with the towns to its west remained by train and (eventually) bus.

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Last updated: 16 November 2022