AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): LCC/TWYS/GEN
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Date(s): 1870-1933
Level of description: subfonds
View parent record
Extent: 3.65 linear metres
Name of creator(s): LCC | London County Council x London County Council


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Council inherited from the Metropolitan Board of Works the power under the Tramways Act, 1870 (which the Board had not in fact exercised) to construct tramways and lease them to operating companies and also to purchase at prescribed future dates the undertakings of the existing tramway companies (of which there were fourteen in 1889). Until the passing of the London County Tramways Act, 1896, the Council's powers did not extend to operating a tramway undertaking itself. The London Street Tramways Company's undertaking was the first to be purchased and released on a short-term basis in 1892 and the arbitration proceedings which ensued set the pattern for subsequent purchases.

When the undertaking of another of the companies, the London Tramways Company, which operated wholly South of the Thames, was purchased with effect from 1 January 1899, the Council decided to operate the system itself, appointing a General Manager of Tramways as the head of a new Department for this purpose and the direct management of other systems followed, as they were purchased or leases expired. Electrification powers were conferred by the London County Tramways (Electrical Power) Act 1900 and the first section of electrified line (running between Westminster Bridge and Tooting) was opened by the Prince of Wales of 15 May 1903. Electrification was completed by 1912, the large generating station at Greenwich being opened in two stages in 1906 and 1910.

The attempt of the Council to continue to operate the horse omnibus service between the south side of Westminster Bridge and Charing Cross which had been maintained by the London Tramways Company was frustrated by litigation and it was not until 1906 after much controversy that Parliament sanctioned the carrying of tramways over Westminster and other Thames bridges and along the Victoria Embankment. The Kingsway subway, designed to link the northern and southern systems was opened between Holborn and Aldwych in 1906 and extended to the Victoria Embankment in 1908.

The question of the financing of the undertaking and the form of accounts was the subject of considerable controversy at the 1907 L.C.C. elections which resulted in a change of party in the majority in the Council Chamber.

Under the London Passenger Transport Act 1933, the Council's tramway undertaking, the undertakings of the omnibus companies and the underground railways were transferred to the newly-created London Passenger Transport Board with effect from 1 July 1933.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the London County Council Tramways Department, 1870-1933, including copies of relevant legislation; reports by solicitor; annual accounts; printed reports on the purchase of undertakings, methods of traction, electrification and so on, tramways development, financial matters, fares, staff and organisation and light railways; papers relating to arbitration proceedings against the London Street Tramways Company, North Metropolitan Tramway Company, London Tramways Company, London Deptford and Greenwich Tramways Company, Woolwich and South-East London Tramways Company and London United Tramways Company; arbitration concerning contract for construction of the superstructure of Greenwich Generating Station by Joseph Westwood and Company Limited; proceedings on claim for reduction of weekly hours from 56 to 48 and award thereon; proceedings on claim for increased wages for employees in the Electrical Section and award thereon.

Map of the tramways of London; maps showing the tramways of London North and South of the Thames; tramway map of London and suburbs showing the LCC tramways, their connections with other tramways and the tube railways; copies of the Official LCC Tram Map and Guide, containing descriptions of places of public interest and the tram routes serving them; 'Direct Services between North and South London - A Guide to Kingsway Tramway'; 'A Description of the System of LCC Tramways prepared on the occasion of the Annual conference of the Tramways, Light Railways and Transport Association'; issues of brochure 'The London Holiday Maker'; publicity brochures and fixture cards; regulations regarding the Electrical Power (Conduit System) on the LCC tramways; rules and regulations for conductors and drivers; 'What the progressives have done for the people's Trams', LCC election campaign literature (text and photographs reprinted from The Daily News).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

LCC/TWYS/GEN/01: Reports; LCC/TWYS/GEN/02: Arbitration proceedings; LCC/TWYS/GEN/03: Maps, guides and brochures; LCC/TWYS/GEN/04: Miscellaneous.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

The principal records of the Tramways Department were transferred to the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933. Some material was transferred back to the GLRO (now LMA) via the Public Record Office (now the National Archives) and may be found amongst the records of London Transport, reference ACC/1297.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acquired with the records of its parent body, the London County Council.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The catalogue of LCC Committee minutes and papers should be consulted for the minutes and presented papers of the Highways Committee (LCC/MIN/6700-7244), which was responsible for the management of the LCC tramways, and for those of the following special committees: Departmental Committee on the Organisation and Working of the Tramways Department 1923-24 (LCC/MIN/12644); Special Committee on the allocation of cost of Special Improvements along Tramway Routes, 1909 - 1914 (LCC/MIN/12774-12777); Special Committee of Inquiry on Tramways, 1920-21 (LCC/MIN/12799); Special Joint Sub-Committee of the Finance Committee, Highways Committee and Improvements Committee on the Allocation of the Cost of Street Improvements along Tramway Routes, 1919 (LCC/MIN/12778); Tramways Conciliation Boards, 1910-1918 (LCC/MIN/12800-12808); Joint Committee (LCC and Leyton UDC) on the working of the Leyton Tramways, 1922-30 (LCC/MIN/12671).

Publication note:

See also SMEETON, C S - The Metropolitan Electric Tramways Vol. I: Origins to 1920, Vol. II: 1921 to 1933 (LMA library reference 27.23 SME) and BARKER, Theodor Cardwell and ROBBINS, Michael - A history of London Transport, passenger travel and the development of the metropolis Vol. I: The 19th Century, Vol II. the 20th Century to 1970 (LMA library reference 27.061 BAR).

For further information on the history of the LCC please see Achievement: A Short History of the London County Council by W Eric Jackson (1965), LMA Library reference 18.0 1965, The London County Council 1938, LMA Library reference 18.7 SER 4, and The Youngest County: A description of London as a county and its public services, 1951, LMA Library reference 18.0 1951.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
April to June 2009

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"