The Shipley Glen Tramway
There is evidence of thousands of years of habitation and industry on Bracken Hall Green (beyond the Old Glen House Pub), in the steep sided glen and on Baildon Hill rising to the East.
There are many of the ‘cup-
Other remains indicate that people were living here at least 4,000 years ago.
The area’s history since then is full of intriguing stories of industry, entertainment and habitation.
Cup and ring stone.
Defensive wall built during WWII
From about 1870 a massive fairground grew on Bracken Hall Green. Thousands of people visited the area for this fairground and the pleasure of the open countryside around.
It is reported that there were over 100,000 visitors on one day alone.
There was a roller coaster (the first or second built in the UK), a helter-
THE FIRST FAIRGROUND
Sam’s Toboggan Slide.
Crowds approaching the fairground.
Sam Wilson opened his Tramway on 18 May 1895. It was intended as an alternative to walking up the steep path to the bottom of Prod Lane, from where the access to the Fairground out beyond the Old Glen House Pub, was less steep.
There are records that show that the Tramway could carry up to 15,000 passengers a day.
It is told that Sam used to make his own lemonade and sell it from buckets at the top station. He then used the buckets to transport the takings to the bank. He also kept hens and sold eggs at the Tramway.
THE GLEN TRAMWAY
Practically all the crowds approaching the fairground would pass up Prod Lane so from the early 1900 s the owners of Vulcan House, the Teales, began to develop their own fairground with tearooms, swings, round-
This fairground replaced the First Fairgound, which faded at the time of WWI, the second continued until about 1990 though it was pretty well run down by then.
There were also garden nurseries, photographers, ice cream stalls, an amusement arcade and a paddling pool.
In the grounds of Ivy House at the bottom of Prod Lane, Tom Hartley built his Japanese Gardens for his wife. He included a boating lake for the public.
THE SECOND FAIRGROUND
Second Fai rgroundd
The Tramway is a true Funicular Railway. It has a large wheel at both stations and one continuous rope to which both trams are permanently attached.
The rope goes one-
The adjacent control room has a rheostat control for speed and controls for the braking systems.
The rope goes once round the wheel at the bottom station. (It can be seen in the museum.) This wheel is weighted and keeps the rope taut thus making sure that it does not slip on the drive wheel.
Rollers keep the rope off the ground and guide it around the slight curve.
Cont i nued
The original trams were like the one exhibited outside the museum. In the early days the rails were wooden with metal running faces and the first engine was a gas engine.
In 1905/7 new trams were built but still of wood and in 1915 the engines were changed to run on liquid fuel.
In 1928 the third owners of the Tramway, the Parrs, took over and soon converted the engines to electric. The trams were rebuilt with metal frames and lasted until 1955/56.
The Tramway has survived short times of abandonment, vandalism and in 2016 serious damage from heavy rains. Its safety and control systems have been upgraded to modern standards.
Herbert and Patti Parr (seated) and Patti’s sister
A very early promotional photograph. Shows the original trams.
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