the history of the southe cheltenham tramroad

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2010 is the bicentenary of the South Cheltenham Tramroad and the year when a very ugly area of South Cheltenham was renovated to remind local residents of the importance of this part of the town.

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The History of The SouthTownTramRoad : 

The History of The SouthTownTramRoad

Slide 2: 

At the end of the 18th century, Charles Brandon Trye developed the quarries at Leckhampton Hill and in 1810 he built a horse-drawn railway to carry the stone into Cheltenham and later all the way to Gloucester Docks.

Slide 3: 

The Line defined by the rail road is now Leckhampton Road, which was probably built at same time as the tramway. At the Norwood, the tramway veered to follow Norwood Road. The Gloucester and Cheltenham Tramroad also brought Forest of Dean coal from Gloucester Docks to coal sidings off Norwood Road until its route via Westal Green was closed in 1861, and became present Queen's Road and Andover Road in Tivoli.(from www.cheltenham4u.co.uk)

Theroute of the tramroad and the roads that grew around it : 

Theroute of the tramroad and the roads that grew around it

Before the roads were built : 

Before the roads were built

The Southward growth of the area : 

The Southward growth of the area

LECKHAMPTON QUARRIES : 

Leckhampton quarries employed about fifty people and supplied stone for many local churches that were built in the 19th century as well as other local buildings. Stone transported on a plateway was used to build Shire Hall in Gloucester in 1818, and via Gloucester docks reached building sites in Bristol and other cities. Magdalen College chapel in Oxford was also built from Leckhampton stone. LECKHAMPTON QUARRIES

Leckhampton Hill : 

Leckhampton Hill had been for centuries a place of recreation for people of Cheltenham. In 1894, the hill and quarries were bought by Henry J. Dale and he outraged the public by building Tramway Cottage on land off Daisy Bank Road that had long been the location for a fun fair each Good Friday. He also fenced off 26 acres of the hill. In March 1902 a group of protesters, 10,000 strong, tore down the fences and razed Tramway Cottage to the ground. Leckhampton Hill

Slide 9: 

The ringleaders were arrested and sent to Gloucester Prison. The things came to a head on Good Friday 1906. Crowds once more gathered on the slopes of the hill to tear down Dale's obstructions. The Riot Act had to be read and eight men were arrested and sentenced to hard labour. Public access to the common was assured in 1929, however, when it was bought by Cheltenham Town Council.

Dorothea Beale, Head of Cheltenham Ladies College, was so incensed by Nr Dales’ actions that she ordered him to remove all his hired pianos from her school! : 

Dorothea Beale, Head of Cheltenham Ladies College, was so incensed by Nr Dales’ actions that she ordered him to remove all his hired pianos from her school!

In the Quarry : 

In the Quarry

The Windlass, with its chain, created the gravity process necessary to move stone down Leckhampton Hill : 

The Windlass, with its chain, created the gravity process necessary to move stone down Leckhampton Hill

Quarrymen loading the barrows : 

Quarrymen loading the barrows

The horse-drawn wagons : 

The horse-drawn wagons

The main incline down Leckhampton Hill : 

The main incline down Leckhampton Hill

Upper end of the incline : 

Upper end of the incline

Slide 19: 

The line to Cheltenham had a single track with passing places. Stone sleeper blocks supported cast-iron rails that were 3ft long and L-shaped in section to suit wagon wheels without flanges. Any trader could put his own wagons and horses on the track provided he paid the appropriate toll. This type of line is now known as a tramroad to distinguish it from the later main-line railways having flanged wheels running on edge rails.(Hugh Conway-Jones - www.gloucesterdocks.me.uk)

Section of tramroad showing flanged rail on stone sleepers : 

Section of tramroad showing flanged rail on stone sleepers

Early Operation : 

The opening of the tramroad in 1810 induced the Canal Company to allow the basin at Gloucester to be used for the discharge of river-borne cargoes even though the rest of the canal was very far from completion. Over the following years a network of sidings was laid down around the basin to handle the trade that developed, boosted by the eventual opening of the canal in 1827. Most of the traffic was concerned with taking coal to Cheltenham, but road stone and other heavy goods were also carried. (Hugh Conway-Jones - www.gloucesterdocks.me.uk) Early Operation

Gloucester Docks : 

Gloucester Docks

The Railway Inn in Great Norwood Street where pints were pulled for thirsty quarrymen from 1836 to 1860. It is now a private home. : 

The Railway Inn in Great Norwood Street where pints were pulled for thirsty quarrymen from 1836 to 1860. It is now a private home.

Later Operation : 

In 1840, a main line railway was opened between Gloucester and Cheltenham, as part of the line to Birmingham, but initially there was no connection to the docks. The tramroad therefore took on a new role of carrying goods between the docks and Gloucester station, and so for a few years it became an important link in a new route for forwarding imports to the Midlands in competition with the existing river and canal route. This additional role ended in 1848 when a branch from the main line into the docks was opened, but the tramroad continued to provide a local service for several more years. This role gradually declined, however, and in 1861 the line was closed and the rails were taken up.(Hugh Conway-Jones - www.gloucesterdocks.me.uk) Later Operation

Slide 25: 

Surviving Stone Blocks
     Although the rails were taken up, many of the stone sleeper blocks were left in situ at that time, and some were discovered still undisturbed during an archaeological excavation in 1983 The stones were subsequently covered over to allow the area to be used as a car park, and they were revealed again during preparations for building a block of apartments on the site.

The sketch used by the engraver of the Gloucester and Cheltenham Railway Company for their plaque : 

The sketch used by the engraver of the Gloucester and Cheltenham Railway Company for their plaque

Gloucester and Cheltenham Railway Company Plaque : 

Gloucester and Cheltenham Railway Company Plaque

The Tramroad closed in 1860 : 

The Tramroad closed in 1860

The Norwood Triangle : 

The Norwood Triangle Renovation started in 2010 as a result of a successful lottery grant application It also commemorated the bicentenary of the opening of the tramroad The triangle was centrally located within the south Cheltenham residential development that took place as a result of the trade that grew up around the tramroad The Norwood Triangle

Aims of the Project : 

The aims of the project were: 1) To create an attractive public space in a part of the town which has very few such areas2) To reduce the speed of traffic and increase public safety by introducing traffic calming measures3) To celebrate the historic role of the space, as a junction on the Tramroad and a focal point of south Cheltenham Aims of the Project

The Chosen Artists : 

Malcolm Martin and Gaynor Dowling are based in Stroud.  They have an international reputation as sculptors in wood, and have carried out many commissions in public art.  They were chosen through competition, and impressed the project team by their ability to tell a story through artwork.  In preparing the work, they researched all sides of the Tramroad's history, and spent three weeks with children of St James Primary School.   Some designs produced by the children are included in the images on the Triangle The Chosen Artists

The Children from St James’ Primary School were asked to help : 

The Children from St James’ Primary School were asked to help

Slide 33: 

They learnt about the original St James’ Primary School in Great Norwood Street

And thought about what quarrying and working on the tramroad must have been like : 

And thought about what quarrying and working on the tramroad must have been like

They were asked to think about what art they would like to see on the triangle : 

They were asked to think about what art they would like to see on the triangle

And worked with the artists to come up with their own ideas : 

And worked with the artists to come up with their own ideas

The final artwork designs : 

The story of the Tramroad, and of the town that grew round it, is told in a series of stone roundels, sand-blasted with images created by Artists Malcolm Martin and Gaynor Dowling and by the children of St James Primary School.  The stone used is greenstone from the Forest of Dean, the same stone that formed the sleepers on the historic Tramroad. The final artwork designs

The Renovation Process : 

The project to renovate the Triangle has taken over two years to conceive, negotiate, find funds and do the work. We raised the sunken cycle-ways, widened the pedestrian area, moved 5 car parking spaces to nearby streets, removed the big central lighting column and most of the bollards.  Then we installed five new lighting columns, planted eight trees, installed the artwork and resurfaced the whole area with resin-bonded stone.  The whole project has costs £80,000, of which £32,000 came from the Borough and County Councils, £43,500 from the Big Lottery, £500 from The Rowlands Trust, and the rest from local fund-raising. The Renovation Process

The finished project : 

The renovated Norwood Triangle was opened on 3 July 2010, one day after the precise bicentenary of the opening of the Tramroad on 2 July 1810. .A plaque was unveiled, on the wall of the former Railway Inn, by the 21st Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire, whose four greats grandfather the 15th Earl laid the  foundation stone of the Tramroad in 1809. The finished project

Slide 40: 

Beofre Before After

Slide 41: 

CREDITS Wendy Ellyatt Film Production Malcolm Martin, Gaynor Dowling , Eric Miller and Michael Dower Historical Research and photographs The teachers and children of St James’ Primary SchoolArtwork

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