Ipswich Transport Museum
Preserving the transport heritage of Ipswich since 1965, and now supported by the Friends of the Ipswich Transport Museum. The Ipswich Transport Museum is a Registered Charity No. 276626 and an Accredited Museum, number RD890.
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Ipswich Horse Trams

In 1879 the Board of Trade granted permission for the construction of a horse tramway in Ipswich. Horse trams were a popular form of transport as the tram rails provided a smoother surface to travel over than a bumpy road. One horse could haul a tramcar carrying about fifty people much faster than other forms of transport.

Mr. W. B. Dick played a major part in financing a line from Cornhill to the Railway Station. The tram rails were laid in the road surrounded by granite or wooden setts, and the maintenance of this was the responsibility of the new Ipswich Tramway Company. The line opened for public service on 13th October 1880, serviced by two single deck tramcars each pulled by a single horse. In 1881 the Company was incorporated by an Act of Parliament and the office moved from London to Ipswich.

By 1884 three route extensions had taken place and the fleet expanded to incorporate six single deck and two double deck cars, hauled by a pool of 18 horses. The fleet was kept at a depot in Quadling Street. The cars featured velvet seat cushions in their saloons and were painted brown and cream.

Competition arrived for the horse trams in 1898 in the form of a rival horse bus service. This competition resulted in fares being cut but the trams were losing money. In 1901 the Company tried to sell the business but in fact Ipswich Corporation compulsorily purchased the network in that year.

Ipswich Corporation ran the horse trams until 6th June 1903 after which the network was closed and rebuilt for electric tram operation.