In 1885 the Stony Stratford Light Railway Co. secured powers to build a line from Deanshanger to Wolverton. The section from Wolverton to Stony Stratford opened in 1887 and was extended through Old Stratford to Deanshanger the following year.
The building of the tramway through the village in 1888 required the creation of a radiused, rather than right-angled, junction at the south-eastern corner of the crossroads.
The tramway, on which large double-decker carriages were hauled by a small steam locomotive, crossed the bridge, ran alongside London Road to the crossroads, where a depot was built in the south-eastern corner of the junction, and then followed Deanshanger Road to terminate at E. & H. Roberts's foundry at Deanshanger. The original company failed in December 1889 and, although the Buckinghamshire section was reopened by another concern two years later and remained in use until 1926, the Deanshanger branch was lifted.
DIAGRAMS OF ENGINES, WOLVERTON & STONY STRATFORD TRAM July 1st 1926
During the steam age there were very few tramways.
In 1870 an Act of Parliament permitted “street railways,” in 1886 construction was started on the steam railway, but even by 1887 only 363 miles had been authorised.
Therefore it was perhaps surprising when in 1885 a group of men, mostly Stony Stratford tradesmen got together and started to plan the prospects of running a steam train. Iron rails were laid from Deanshanger through Old Stratford, Stony Stratford, Wolverton and Wolverton Cattle Sidings.
This steam railway was a very important idea because it seemed everyday hundreds of men and women had to walk from Old Stratford and neighbouring villages to get to work and back.
Two important factories were Wolverton Carriage and Waggon Works and McCorquodales which was a printing works that had opened in 1875.
In 1850 Mary Chapman, landlady of the Cock Inn and her friend Fanny Clarke ran a small bus service from the Cock Inn to Wolverton Station with a fare of 6d for those who could afford it. But unfortunately the bus only ran when there was sufficient travellers and this was not very often because 6d was a lot of money for a bus ride.
There average takings were only £2 to £3 a week and there was not much profit.
Charles Wilkinson was a local contractor who had at one time tried to get the Newport Olney branch railway going but his task had failed.
Wilkinson in August 1886, entered into a contract with Stony Stratford District Light Railway Company to build the line for £13,325 of which £2,000 was to be shares. These shares sold very well and work went ahead without delay. On 27th May 1887 the Stony Stratford and District Light Railway was opened.
These trams consisted of two workmen’s cars, carrying 120 passengers each, although the car itself was only seated for 100, one upholstered coach, seating 80 passengers a smaller one seating 20 passengers and four wagon.
Two of the trucks when built were made with convertible wheels, the idea being that when the tram reached the Cock Hotel they could be pulled off the lines and used horse drawn around the town.
One of the two directors of the Stony Stratford Light Railway was known locally in Old Stratford as Louis Clovis and a great surprise when on his death his full name of Louis Clovis Bonaparte was revealed. Obviously the reason for his secrecy being that the Napoleonic Wars were still in living memory.
The tram was a great success, passengers takings topped about £45 per week. The workman’s weekly ticket cost a shilling a week, entitling the passenger to four journeys a day. To other passengers it cost: Wolverton to Deanshanger 4d. Wolverton to Old Stratford 3d.
In 1889 a tram depot was built on the left hand side of the Old Stratford crossroads, where Druce’s was situated. This depot was also where the passenger would wait for the tram.
The tram business became unprofitable and unfortunately a few years later while the train was still running at it’s best a formidable challenge arose in the form of the “safety bicycle”.
Plan of Upper Deck L.& N.W.RY
WOLVERTON & STONY STRATFORD TRAMWAY
CARS Nos 1- 2 & 3
The Northampton Mercury January 8th 1887
HIGHWAY BOARD, Jan. 4, 1887. "That the Board sanctions the application for the Provisional Order provided certain conditions are complied with, and that those conditions be drawn up by the committee and the clerk". Carried unanimously. The following are the conditions: (1) That the turn at the junction of the two main roads in Old Stratford opposite the Falcon Inn be improved by purchasing a piece of the adjoining land to cut off the corner and running the tramway on the land purchased; (2), that the tramway be laid on the South side of the highway leading from Old Stratford to Deanshanger, and not in the centre of the road as shown on the plans; (3), that the macadamised part of the highway road throughout be made wide as it now is by the promoters.
The Northampton Mercury February 26th 1887
HIGHWAY BOARD. Provisional Order for the construction and extension of the Wolverton and Stony Stratford Tramways to Deanshanger, they having to be lodged with the Board of Trade by the 22nd inst. Viz.: Notwithstanding anything shown on the deposited plans the tramways shall be laid on the waste of the south side of the road leading from Old Stratford to Deanshanger from a point distant one furlong, measured in a south-westerly direction from the commencement of the tramway No. 3 and the termination of tramway No. 7; and the promoters shall so lay the tramway that between the aforesaid points the roadway shall be maintained at its present width. For the purpose of carrying tramway No. 3 past the junction of the two main roads in Old Stratford opposite the Falcon Inn, the promoters shall acquire so much of the land lying to the south of that junction of the tramway from a point 85 yards from its commencement, to the point 35 yards from the junction of the two main roads measured in the direction those two points shall construct the said tramway upon the said piece of land, and not upon the said roads, and so much of the said piece of land as may not be required by the promotors for the construction or use of the tramways, and as may lie between the tramway and the said road shall be added to the roads, and become the property of the road authority. After considerable discussion, it was unanimously resolved. "That the Board adhere to the resolutions and conditions arrived at the meeting of the Board held on the 4th of January last".
Details of Bolster knees & Gusset also joint between Sole bar & End plate
L.& N.W.RY CO. WOLVERTON & STONY STRATFORD TRAMWAY SCALES ¾" & 3" = 1 FOOT Wolverton 14.4.20
The Northampton Mercury January 14th 1888
HIGHWAY BOARD. An extraordinary meeting of this Board was held on Tuesday, the 10th inst. Present Mr. P. Grove (chairman), the Duke of Grafton, K.G., and Mr.E Grant (ex.officio). Messrs. H. Smith. S. W. Underwood, W. Bird. W. Webb, A. Roberts, N. Woollett, J. Savage. T. Maude, J. Chettle. J. B. Harris, C. York, G. Savage, R. Jolley, J. Higham, W. H. Chapman, and H. Ridge.The business was to consider a letter received from Mr. Sellon, the engineer for the extension to Deanshanger of the Wolverton and Stony Stratford Railway, respecting the alteration of the corner at Old Stratford opposite the Falcon Inn. At the last meeting of the Board application was made and plan produced. shewing the proposed alteration of the corner at Old Stratford, to have a passing place there, and the whole to be paved ; and by that arrangement the corner would be greatly improved, and a waiting-room built for the convenience of passengers. This application was, however, refused, as by the plan sent it appeared that the rails were to be laid in the middle of the Deanshanger-road, the Board at a previous meeting having passed a resolution that the rails should be laid on the south side of the road.The Clerk read the engineer's letter, which referred to certain clauses in the Act having been inserted in the clerk's own words, and at his request, which he denied, and stated that he had never prepared and had never sent anything besides the resolution and conditions made by this had not even seen the act.Considerable correspondence was read by the Clerk, and Mr. S. Sellon was then called to make his application. He said that at the corner at Old Stratford, the turn as shown by the plans first submitted, was on a hill, and a most awkward place to stop engines. The promoters had purchased more land and given more over to the Road Authority than they were bound to give according to the Act, and by so doing the turn out had been made according to the plan now shewn, and now they had a level place to stop the cars. The Board of Trade were satisfied as to the improvement. The Chairman said the plan showed the rails to be laid in the centre of the road for about 100 yards, and the two primary conditions at this Board when they sanctioned the application for the provisional order on the 4th January, 1887, were that the promoters were to purchase a piece of land to cut off the corner at Old Stratford, and to lay the rails on the south side of the road. Mr. Sellon said as far as laying the tramway was concerned he was going according to the Act. He wrote out those particular clauses and handed them to the solicitor to the promoters, who informed him that the Towcester Highway Board had consented to them.The Clerk here stated it was just the contrary; they had never seen the clauses. He had sent the conditions which the Board had prepared to the solicitor, and nothing else. Sellon said he had no wish to raise any contention as to laying the rails on the south side of the road at this particular point, but if he parted from the exact point of the Act he would be violating the strictness of the Act. He said the Board of Trade had inserted sub-section 2 of Clause7. If It was advisable for the public safety that the rails be laid on the south side of the road he would ask the Board to pass a resolution to that effect, and forward it to him, and then he would hand it in to the Board of Trade. But from his experience of tramways he believed neither himself, nor the Towcester Board, nor the Board of Trade, had power to alter it. The Chairman said this Board must look to the safety of the public, and when they gave their consent to the conditions already mentioned they had reasons of their own for objecting to the centre of the road being used, and those clauses were inserted in the Act without the knowledge of the Board.The Clerk said the Board had never seen the Act, and in the provisional order stent them nothing was mentioned as to sub-section 2.Mr. Sellon said it was mentioned in the amended order, when Mr. Woollett said the Board had never seen any amended order.Mr. J. B. Harris asked why It had never been sent to the Board, to which Mr. Sellon replied that the amended order was advertised in the daily papers, and might have been obtained through the parliamentary agent for 1d.The Chairman said it the consent of the Board was necessary, surely a copy of the amended order should have been sent without applying to parliamentary agents, and all information should have been given, The Chairman thought the advertisement would have more to do with the public than this BoardMr. George Savage said a committee was appointed, met, and consulted together, and went over the road, and then gave their consent conditionally, and he could-not see why it would not be better to run on the side of the road rather than the middle.The Chairman stated the facts, and said he was from the find against the tramway being placed along so narrow a road of that sort, and for his part he thought they ought adhere to the conditions.Mr. Josiah Savage imagined they were powerless in the matter.Mr. Jolley said he could not see what use the Board was if their resolution stood for nothing.The Duke of Grafton thought the better plan would be to ignore the request until they fell in to the Board’s resolution.--The Chairman said it was for the Board to consider whether they should keep to their former resolution or not. Mr. Roberts asked the Board to adopt the Engineer’s resolution. Mr. Savage thought they were placed entirely in the hands of the Board of Trade, and after a few remarks from other gentlemen, Mr. G. Savage proposed and Mr. J. Chettle seconded “That this Board adheres to the resolution and conditions passed on the 4th January, 1887, and that a copy of this resolution, and those agreed to on the 4th January, 1887, be also forwarded to the Board of Trade, with a request that the alterations be carried out as desired by this Board.” Carried unanimously.
Plan showing the tram track through Old Stratford and the turn at the crossroads to Deanshanger.
The Northampton Mercury February 4th 1888
Wolverton and Stony Stratford Tramways (Deanshanger Extension). A letter from Mr. Sellon, the engineer, and also a copy letter from General Hutchinson, the Inspector to the Board of Trade were read; and Mr. S. Sellon attended the Board and produced a plan, modified so as to meet the requirements of this Board, and fully explained the matter. The Duke of Grafton proposed, and Mr. Chettle seconded "That the constructions of the tramway at the corner of the road from Old Stratford to Deanshanger, as shown in the plan produced to the Board by Mr. Sellon, be approved. The Grand Junction Canal. The Clerk was directed to write to the secretary to the Grand Junction Canal, and request the company to fence off the canal and towing path by the side of the road leading from Old Stratford to Deanshanger, to avoid possible accidents that may arise in consequence of the tramway now in course of construction.
Terminus at E. & H. Roberts' foundry at Deanshanger
Deanshanger - Tram trackways
The Northampton Mercury March 23rd 1889
EVANGELISTICAL SERVICE. A series of evangelical services was commenced last Sunday afternoon in the Tramway Waiting-room at Old Stratford. The service was conducted by the Rev. H. J. Bayley, and was fairly well attended.
The Northampton Mercury April 10th 1891
A TRAM FATALITY
At Northampton Infirmary, on Wednesday, an inquest was held by the Borough Coroner (Mr. C. C. Becke) as to the death of Thomas Badby, a gas fitter, aged 41, who resided in Russell-street, Stony Stratford. He was admitted into the Institute on March 28th with a fractured leg and a crushed foot, injuries received on the 28 ult. Through deceased jumping off a tram at Wolverton. His leg got caught in the wheel as he leapt from the front, and was passed over. The driver of the tram, William Reynolds, of Stony Stratford, said he noticed something wrong with the wheel of the tram, and on stopping it found that the deceased had been run over. Although passengers could get in or out at either end of the tram, the gate through which the deceased got off should have been locked. There was luggage in front of the gate, but passenger could step over it if they wished. There was of course an outlet at the rear of the tram, and a notice was up as to passengers who wished to leave the tram communicating with the conductor. William Morris, of Old Stratford, the conductor, said the deceased said nothing to him, and he did not know what had occurred until he felt the car “jump.” Hugh F. Knyvett, assistant house-surgeon at the Infirmary gave evidence, and the verdict of “Accidental Death” was returned.
The Northampton Mercury April 27th 1900
RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL: The Surveyor (Mr Pritchard) was instructed to get out an estimate for making a footpath along the old tramway from Deanshanger to Old Stratford.
Mercury & Herald December 31st 1954
Herbert Meacham, “I can remember the tram company manager well. He had the grand name of Louis Clovis Bonaparte. He lived at Old Stratford and whenever he spent a night celebrating in Stony Stratford, they ran the tram specially to take him home.”
Prince Louis-Clovis Bonaparte
Birth: February 11th 1859
Death: May 14th 1894
The inscription reads: "Here rests the body of Prince Louis-Clovis Bonaparte, the only son of His Highness Prince Louis-Lucien Bonaparte, the celebrated philologist. Endowed with a warm heart, he was beloved by all his friends, inheriting much of the talent of his distinguished family. He gave promise, attaining eminence as a civil engineer, when death cut short his career in the 36th. year of his age. He was born the 11th. of February 1859 and died the 14th. of May 1894. On his soul sweet Jesus have mercy. Beloved in life, in death he is not forgotten." Prince Louis-Clovis, who is buried immediately to the North of his father, was married twice: firstly, on the 30th. May 1888 in Douglas on the Isle of Man, to Rosalie Barlow; secondly, on the 14th. October 1891, to Laura Elizabeth Scott of London (3rd. July 1872-13th. April 1953.) It is possible that one or both of these ladies may be buried next to him, but not one word on the adjacent grave is legible.
Burial: St. Mary Roman Catholic Cemetery Kensal Green, Brent
Board of TradeSession. 1897. Wolverton and Stony Stratford Tramways. (Deanshanger Extension.)
Memorandum This Notice was deposited in my office on Tuesday the 30th day of November 1886 at Six of Clock in the afternoon
… … Markam
Clerk of the Peace of the County of Northampton
Board of TradeSession. 1897.
Wolverton and Stony Stratford Tramways.
(Construction of Tramways ; Gauge; Motive Power ; Compulsory User, &c., of streets; Tolls ; Power to carry Cattle, Goods, &c., Agreements with Local and Road Authorities; Amendment of Acts.) APPLICATION is intended to be made by the Wolverton and Stony Stratford Tramways Company, Limited (hereinafter called the Promoters ), to the Board of Trade for a Provisional Order under the Tramways Act, 1870, for the purpose or some of the purposes, following, that is to say :
To authorize the promoters to construct and maintain the following tramways, or some or one of them, or some part or parts thereof respectively, that is to say :
Tramway No. 1 (single line) commencing in the parishes of Stony Stratford (east and west), in the county of Buckingham, by a junction with Tramway No. 11, authorized by the Wolverton and Stony Stratford Tramways Order, 1883. in High-street, Stony Stratford, at a point 17 links, measured in a south-easterly direction from the "Barley Mow" inn, thence passing in a north-westerly direction along High-street, Stony Stratford, and Old Stratford-road, and terminating in the last-mentioned road, in the parishes of Cosgrove and Passenham, in the county of Northampton, at a point 100 feet northwest of the south-eastern corner of the house known as Trinity-school, and occupied by Mrs. Thomas.
Tramway No. 2 (double line) commencing in the parishes of Cosgrove and Passenham and county of Northampton by a junction with Tramway No. 1 at its termination, and passing in a north westerly direction along Old Stratford road, and terminating in that road at a point 198 feet distant from its commencement in that road.
Tramway No. 3 (single, line) commencing in the said parishes of Cosgrove and Passenham, by a junction with Tramway No. 2 at its termination, passing in a north-westerly direction along Old Stratford-road and thence in a southerly direction along Deanshanger-road, and terminating in the last-mentioned road at point 385 feet, measured in a northerly direction from the mile post in that road, marked, Stony Stratford 1 mile, Buckingham 7 miles.
Tramway No. 4 (double line), wholly in the said parish of Passenham, commencing by a junction with Tramway No. 3 at its termination, and passing in a southerly direction along Deanshanger-road and terminating in that road at a point 230 feet in a southerly direction from its commencement.
Tramway No. 5 (single line), wholly in the said pariah of Passenham, commencing by a junction with Tramway No. 4 at its termination and passing along Deanshanger-road in a southerly direction, thence along the same road in a westerly direction, and terminating at a point measured 1,080 feet in an easterly direction from a farm road, leading from Deanshanger-road to North-fields Farm.
Tramway No. 6 (double line), wholly in the said parish of Passenham, commencing by a junction with Tramway No. 5 at its termination, passing in a westerly direction along Deanshanger-road and terminating in that road at a point, measured 198 feet in a westerly direction from the commencement of the said tramway.
Tramway No. 7 (single line), wholly in the said parish of Passenham, commencing by a junction with Tramway No. 6 at is termination, thence passing in a westerly direction along Deanshanger-road, and terminating at the junction of High-street, Deanshanger, with the Buckingham-road.
Tramway No. 8 (single line), wholly in the said parish of Passenham, commencing by a junction with Tramway No. 7 at its termination, thence passing in a westerly direction along High-street, Deanshanger, and terminating at a point measured 22 feet in a westerly direction, from the centre of the gateway to Roberts’ Iron- works.
Tramway No. 9 (single line), wholly in the said parish of Passenham, commencing by a junction with Tramway No. 7 at its termination, thence passing in a south-westerly direction, along Buckingham-road, and over the bridge carrying that road over a stream, thence in a westerly direction along the Wicken-road, and terminating in the last-mentioned road at a point (measured in a westerly direction) 650 feet from the commencement of the said tramway.
Tramway No. 10 (doable line), wholly in the said parish of Passenham, commencing by a junction with Tramway No.9, and thence passing along Wicken-road, and terminating at a point in that road (measured in a westerly direction) 200 feet from the commencement of the said tramway.
In the following instance Tramway No. 8 will be so laid that for a distance of 30 feet and upwards a less space than 9 feet 6 inches will intervene between the outside of the footpath and the outside of the nearest rail of the tram-way :
For a distance of 260 feet (on both sides of the road), measured in a westerly direction along High-street from a point 250 feet, measured along the said street from the commencement of Tramway No. 8.
To authorise the promoters to construct the tramways on a gunge of 3 feet 6 inches.
It is intended to employ animal, steam, or other mechanical or motive poseur for moving carriages or trucks open the tramways.
To reserve to the Company the exclusive right of using on the proposed tramways engines and carriages with flange wheels, or wheels specially or particularly adapted to run on a grooved edge or other rail.
To empower the promoters from time to time to make such crossings, passing places, sidings, junctions, and other works in addition to those particularly specified in this notice, as may be necessary or convenient for the efficient working of the proposed tramways or any of them, or for providing access to any stable or carriage sheds or works of the promoters.
To enable the promoters when, by reason of the execution of any work affecting the surface or soil of any street, road, or thorough-fare, or otherwise, it is necessary or expedient to remove or discontinue the use of any tramway as aforesaid, or any part thereof, to make in the same or any adjacent street, road, or thoroughfare, in any parish or place mentioned in this notice, and maintain so long as occasion may require, a temporary tramway, or temporary tramways, in lieu of the tramway, or part of a tramway, so removed or discontinued to be used, or intended so to be.
To enable the promoters for the purposes of the proposed tramways, to purchase by agreement, or to take easements over lands and houses, and to erect offices, buildings, and other conveniences on any such lands.
To enable the promoters to levy tolls, rates, and charges for the use of the proposed tram-ways by carriages passing along the same, and for the conveyance of passengers, or other traffic of whatever kind upon the same.
To empower the promoters to hold and acquire patent rights in relation to tramways.
To enable the local boards, town councils, vestries, or other bodies corporate, or persons having respectively the duty of directing the repairs, or the control and management of the said streets, roads, and places respectively, to enter into contracts and agreements with respect to the laying down, maintaining, renewing, repairing, working, and using of the proposed tram-ways, and the rails, plates, sleepers, and works connected therewith, and for facilitating the passage of carriages and traffic over and along the same.
To vary and extinguish all rights and privileges which would interfere with the objects of the Provisional Order, and to confer other rights and privileges.
The proposed Order will amend or repeal so far as may be necessary or expedient for any of the purposes of the Provisional Order, the provisions, or some of the provisions, of the Wolverton and Stony Stratford Tramway's Order, 1883, and all other Acts or Orders relating to the Wolverton and Stony Stratford Tramways Company, Limited, and will incorporate all or some of the provisions of the Tramways Act., 1870, subject to such alterations and modifications as may be deemed expedient.
On or before the 30th day of November instant, plans and sections of the proposed tramways and works, and a copy of this advertisement, as published in the London Gazette, will he deposited at the office of the Board of Trade, London, and for public inspection with the Clerk of the Peace for the county of Buckingham at his office at Aylesbury, with the Clerk of the Peace for the county of Northampton, at his office at Northampton, and on or before the same day a copy of so much of the said plans and sections as relates to each of the parishes and extra parochial places in or through which the tramways are proposed to be laid, together with a copy of this advertisement as published as aforesaid, will be deposited in the case of each such parish with the Parish Clerk thereof at his residence, and in the case of each such extra-parochial place with the Parish Clerk of some parish immediately adjoining thereto at his residence.
Printed copies of the draft Provisional Order will be deposited at the Board of Trade on or before the 23rd December next, and printed copies of the draft Provisional Order when deposited, and of the Provisional Order when made, may be obtained on application at the office of Messrs. C. JJ. Hanly and Co., Parliamentary Agents, 2, Princes-street, Great George-street, Westminster, S.W., at the price of one shilling for each copy.
Every Company, Corporation, or person desirous of making any representation to the Board of Trade, or of bringing before them any objection respecting this application, may do so by letter addressed to the Assistant Secretary of the Railway Department of the Board of Trade on or before the 15th of January next, and copies of such representation or objections must at the same time be sent to the Promoters ; and in forwarding to the Board of Trade such objections the objectors or their agents should state that a copy of the same has been sent to the promoters or their agents.
Dated this 18th day of November, 1886.
John Ballams, 71, Eastcheap, London,
E.C., Solicitor for the Promoters.
C. J. Hanly and Co., 2, Princes-street, Great George-street, Westminster, S.W.,