Scarratt, F W
c 1909 ?
About this image
A bustling sunlit Edwardian scene with Burton Corporation electric tramcar No 19 heading down Station Street on a Branstone (sic) Road working. The tramway system had been inaugurated in 1903 with routes radiating from the town to Horninglow, Winshill, Stapenhill and Branston Road. Tram No 19 was the penultimate example of the initial batch of 20 vehicles constructed by the Electric Railway & Tramway Carriage Works company of Preston. All were originally open-topped but from 1906 top covers began to be fitted, as seen here.
The tram is about to negotiate the junction with Guild Street (to the left) and the conductor is leaning from the rear platform to check the way ahead. Through the lower saloon the motorman can be seen in silhouette and beyond him another tram can just be detected coming in the opposite direction. Even more distant, but apparent from the steam to the left of No 19, is the fact that the gates at one of the Station Street level crossings are closed against the road and an 0-4-0ST locomotive is making its way across. The centre of Burton was entwined by railway lines serving the many breweries, maltings and related establishments. Indeed, the town could claim a total of 27 level crossings, which were the cause of much inconvenience and many delays. Where the tram lines also encountered the brewery branches the trackwork became particularly complicated and the trams often suffered broken axles as a result. Beyond the crossing the tram will turn left into High Street where it will need to reverse in order to proceed back past the end of Station Street and out along Lichfield Street to reach Branston Road.
On the far corner of Guild Street is the rendered Midland Hotel and on the near corner the presence of four police officers is accounted for by the fact that they are outside the town's police station, erected in 1848. One of the officers, a sergeant, appears to be keeping an eye on the photographer's Douglas motorcycle, parked against the kerb; the other motorcyclist alongside may be the photographer's brother, Albert Scarratt.
Opposite Guild Street is Union Street and the large edifice on this corner is the Wesleyan Methodist's Station Street Chapel, dating from 1871 and designed by Edward Holmes of Birmingham in a Decorated style.
To the right the shops provide plenty of variety. They include The Lincoln Rubber Company's Burton Rubber Stores, Bassett's Stone & Marble Works, and Pearson's Drapery Warehouse.
Burton's tramway system was replaced by motor buses in 1929 and the town's many level crossings disappeared in the 1960s as the breweries went over to road transport. By 2010 few of the buildings in this view remained. The Methodist chapel closed in 1958 and had been demolished by 1970, while the shops later gave way to a Sainsbury's supermarket. The principal survivor (having been listed Grade II in 1979) was the Midland Hotel, albeit then trading as the Grail Court Hotel with an Arthurian theme.
Derby-based postcard publisher F W Scarratt took this photo and its serial number may be 307, although this has not been confirmed.