City of Oxford Tramways Company

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
City of Oxford Tramways Company
City of Oxford Tramways Company.jpg
Map of the City of Oxford Tramways
Locale Oxford
Open 1 December 1881
Close 7 August 1914
Status Closed
Track gauge 4 ft (1,219 mm)
Propulsion system(s) Horse
Depot(s) Leopold Street, Oxford

The City of Oxford Tramways Company and its successor the City of Oxford Electric Tramways Company operated a horse-drawn passenger tramway service in Oxford between 1881 and 1914.[1]


The City of Oxford Tramways Company was incorporated in 1879[2] under the provisions of the Oxford Tramways Act of 1870.[3]

Major General Charles Scrope Hutchinson from the Board of Trade inspected the works on 28 November 1881 and the first line opened to the public on 1 December 1881.

The first route of 1881 was from the railway station to Cowley Road, Carfax. On 28 January 1882 a route was opened from Carfax to Rachham’s Lane along Cornmarket Street, Magdalen Street and St. Giles Street. On 15 July 1884 a route opened to Kingston Road via Beaumont Street and Walton Street. On 15 March 1887 a route was opened from Carfax to Lake Street, New Hinksey via St. Aldates.

By 1895 the company had a fleet of 16 single-decker trams. By 1910 this had expanded to 19 double-decker cars.

The depot was located off Leopold Street at SP 5301 0548.

The Oxford Corporation had the option to purchase the company after 26 years, but political consensus could not be achieved, and the company made a new agreement to extend the system and continue operation until 1907. On 5 November 1898 the Banbury Road route was extended to Summertown.

The company did not get its full term and in 1906 the corporation bought it out. A newly formed City of Oxford Electric Tramways Company took over in 1907. This was a subsidiary of the National Electric Construction Company. The method of electrification could not be agreed upon, and the concession of this new company expired in 1912.


The system suffered from a strike by the tram workers in 1913. William Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield, and Frank Gray started a motor-bus service in direct competition with the tram and without a licence. This prompted the Tramway Company to respond with its own bus service. The last horse tram service ran on 7 August 1914.


  1. ^ The Golden Age of Tramways. Published by Taylor and Francis.
  2. ^ The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. ^ The Horse-Trams of Oxford, 1881-1914, Harold W Hart