GEOFF CRAMBIE: The age of the tram in Nelson

editorial image

It’s back in time this week over a century to the Edwardian era, an age of elegance and prosperity, an age when Nelson’s mills ran round the clock and its population grew to almost 40,000 with hundreds of new streets being built.

This was the time of the tram and of family-run shops which offered personal service, high quality and value for money.

A family of four would have a monthly income of around £8 which today is around £600 and here in this week’s picture, we can see Nelson’s Manchester Road as it looked back during the age of the aeroplane flight in England for the first time and the old-age pension becomes payable to everyone over 70.

Here in our excellent street scene, note the open-top tramcar No. 38 as it makes its way along the tram lines. Here too, a horse and carriage trot down the road - this was a most popular form of transport then as the motor car locally was a rarity indeed.

Busy shops line both sides of the road and, in the middle distance, is the mighty stone-built Congregational Church with a circular finial 70ft. high and seating for 750 worshippers. This magnificent building was sadly bulldozed during the late 1960s.

Other important Nelson church buildings which were constructed during the reign of King Edward VII include St Philip’s Church in Leeds Road which was consecrated in 1902 with seating for 725, Holy Saviour’s Church in Bradley Hall Road, opened in 1905 with 450 sittings and the Central Gospel Mission in Goitside was founded in 1908, with new premises built in 1914, providing accommodation for a few hundred worshippers in a new stylish edifice.