The Tram Depot
The Trust’s aspiration is to showcase the area’s rich and fascinating transport heritage in a permanent museum. In April 2013 the Trust signed a lease with Leicester City Council for the old Edwardian Tram Depot at 453 London Road, Stoneygate, Leicester.
The plan is to apply for funding to conserve the building and transform it into a Local Transport Heritage & Research Centre. If successful in obtaining the necessary funding, Leicester City Council has agreed to sell the freehold of the tram depot to the Trust. The aim is to acquire another site to house the Trust’s collection of 15 vehicles which range from a 1950 Leyland PD2 double-decker to a more modern low floor Scania L113CRL single-decker. Members also own a further 18 vehicles with a local connection.
The Stoneygate Tram Depot was constructed in 1904 on London Road at the boundary between the city and Oadby. This was the new Stoneygate terminus to coincide with the introduction of electric trams to Leicester’s streets. This “district” depot (like a similar one built on Narborough Road) was constructed to complement the main depot on Abbey Park Road and could accommodate six trams.
It also boasted maintenance pits underneath the tram tracks. Furthermore, outbuildings in the yard in front of the depot included an office and men’s room. In 1922, the decision was made to expand the central depot which meant that the two district depots were no longer required. As a result, the Stoneygate depot was leased out for many years to various motor engineers, notably including Browetts, who expanded their site into what is today the Shell petrol station on the Oadby side of the boundary.
The out buildings, however, were retained by the Corporation and converted into public toilets and the 1920s art deco ‘Beryl’ urinals remain in place! Fortunately, the building received very little alteration and the Trust was delighted that it was able to obtain a lease on this iconic building in April 2013.
A great deal of repair and cosmetic work has been undertaken and the premises are opened to the public on an occasional basis when the Trust is able to display a selection from its vehicle and archive collections. The interest and support of the public has been nothing short of exceptional. The next stage is to transform the Tram Depot into a permanent Transport Heritage Centre for the public to enjoy.