Model tram back on track after 86 years
- Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant
It was painstakingly created 86 years ago as a schoolboy hobby, before falling into disrepair and being carefully stored away for decades.
Now, an impressively-detailed model of a double-decker Manchester tram is to return to its former glory after being passed to a community project in Wymondham for restoration.
The tram was made by Walter Rogerson when he was a 15-year-old pupil at Chorlton High School, in the city and he won an award for it in a competition run by the Manchester Education Committee.
It now belongs to his daughter, Barbara Hendon, from Wymondham, and her brother Brian Rogerson, who has passed it to the Shed Wymondham, a charity in the town which provides a venue for members to meet and carry out practical activities, often making and fixing things.
Ms Hendon said: "It's been so precious to the whole family. It's wonderful it's in Wymondham, near to me, and I'll be able to see the progress of the restoration."
Ms Hendon was 15 when her father died, in 1968. For many years, the tram has been stored safely away, wrapped in a duvet under the stairs at the home of her mother, Marjorie. When she moved into a care home in 2018, the family wondered what to do with the model. By then, it had suffered some wear and tear, with many of the windows damaged.
The family initially sent the tram to the Manchester Transport Museum but following discussions with Shed Wymondham members Ian McDonald and Pat Callow, Ms Hendon brought it back to the town and handed it over to them last week to be restored.
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It was said to be "extremely precious" to Mrs Rogerson, who died earlier this year. Ms Hendon said her mother would be "over the moon" if she knew it was being restored now. "It was the one piece of dad she had left. She kept it very safely since," Ms Hendon added.
Mr McDonald and Mr Callow, former engineers, will be carrying out the restoration, which will involve taking the tram apart to the lower deck and rebuilding it upwards.
They estimate it will take around 12 months to complete. Mr McDonald said: "The damage is right through the tram itself.
"We are keen to restore something so old and be involved in this, and bring something back to life that has really suffered."
It is yet to be decided where the tram will be displayed following the work, but the family would like it to be in a place where people interested in Manchester Transport and model making can enjoy it.
The model now being restored at Shed Wymondham is of a Manchester tram.
At the time it was made the city had the third largest tram system in the UK, covering 163 miles. It is one of only a handful of British cities which still has trams.
Norwich, by contrast, had just 15 miles of tram routes. The city's network featured a fleet of maroon and ivory coloured tramcars, with an electricity generating station on Duke Street, a depot on Silver Road and a central hub at Orford Place.
The last route - which ran from Newmarket Road to Cavalry Barracks, closed in 1935.
Great Yarmouth's last tram service ended two years earlier. Some of the town's tramcar bodies were used as chalets at Caister holiday camp.