Birmingham Corporation Tramways



Owner Birmingham Corporation
Opened 11th September 1873 - Monmouth St to Hockley Brook [horse]
Operator (lessee) Birmingham and District Tramways Co Ltd
Taken over (lessee) 24th May 1876 (Birmingham Tramways and Omnibus Co Ltd)
Opened 17th June 1876 - Bristol Rd route [horse]
Operator (lessee) Birmingham Tramways and Omnibus Co Ltd
Opened 26th December 1882 - Birmingham to Aston Manor [steam]
Operator (lessee) Birmingham and Aston Tramways Co Ltd
Opened 11th November 1884 - Nechells route [horse]
Operator (lessee) Birmingham Central Tramways Co Ltd
Opened 25th November 1884 to 16th January 1886 - Perry Barr, Moseley Rd, Sparkbrook, Lozells, Saltley Rd and Small Heath routes [steam]
Operator (lessee) Birmingham Central Tramways Co Ltd
Taken over (lease) January 1886 (Birmingham Central Tramways Co Ltd) - corporation lines formerly leased to the Birmingham Tramways and Omnibus Co Ltd
Opened 24th March 1888 - Colmore Row to Hockley Brook [cable]
Operator (lessee) Birmingham Central Tramways Co Ltd
Opened 25th October 1886 - new lines in Wheeler St and Great Hampton Row [horse]
Operator (lessee) Birmingham Central Tramways Co Ltd
Taken over (lessee) 29th October 1896 (City of Birmingham Tramways Co Ltd)
First electric route 24th May 1901 - Bristol Rd route
Operator (lessee) City of Birmingham Tramways Co Ltd
Taken over (lessee) June 1902 (controlling interest acquired by the British Electric Traction Co Ltd)
Took over 1st January 1904 (Birmingham and Aston Tramways [steam] - lines within city boundary owned by Birmingham Corporation)
Operator Birmingham Corporation
First electric route 4th January 1904
Operator Birmingham Corporation
Took over 1st January 1907 (majority of routes formerly leased to the City of Birmingham Tramways Co Ltd [steam; cable; electric])
Took over (operation) 1st July 1911 (Handsworth UDC owned lines) - previously leased to the South Staffordshire Tramways (Lessee) Company Ltd
Took over (ownership) 9th November 1911 (following expansion of the city's boundaries, all lines owned by Aston Manor, Erdington, Handsworth, Kings Norton, Northfield and Yardley)
Operator (lessee) City of Birmingham Tramways Co Ltd
Took over 1st January 1912 (City of Birmingham Tramways - remaining assets)
Took over 1st April 1924 (operation of West Bromwich Corporation-owned lines previously leased to the Birmingham and Midland Tramways Joint Committee [South Staffordshire Lessee Co], a BETCo subsidiary)
Name changed 18th October 1927 to Birmingham Corporation Tramways and Omnibus Department
Took over 1st April 1928 (Birmingham and Midland Tramways Joint Committee [Birmingham and District Power and Traction Co Ltd] - main line to Dudley)
Name changed 9th November 1937 to Birmingham City Transport
Closed 4th July 1953
Length 80.42 mile
Gauge 3ft 6ins (some early lines 4ft 8½ins)

Button description Title (‘Birmingham Corporation Tramways') in circlet, surrounding arms (quartered shield, surmounted by castle and arm with hammer), with worker supporters, all above motto ‘Forward’
Materials known Brass; japanned brass; black horn; natural horn
Button Line reference [113/7]

Comments The translucent natural horn buttons were used on light-coloured summer dust jackets (see link). Curiously, no other tramway appears to have used such buttons, though similar buttons were certainly used on summer jackets issued by the Royal Navy and the Royal Mail (thanks to Rex Butler for this information). Examples of the latter two have survived, and bear the mark of ‘James Grove & Son of Halesowen’, who perhaps unsurprisingly, was also the manufacturer of the Birmingham Corporation Tramways button.