THE spotlight turns to the bus and tram services which got people to schools, work and the shops at the next meeting of Barrow Civic and Local History Society.

Geoff Holme will  talking about the history of public transport in Barrow from 2pm on Friday, February 28, at the Trinity Church Centre, Abbey Road.

The cost of admission, including refreshments, is £2.50 for members and £3 for visitors and everyone is welcome.

To mark the event, today’s nostalgia pictures feature a range of Barrow bus and tram pictures.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of a society pledged to preserve as much of the town’s Victorian heritage as possible.

When its first meetings were held in 1985 the town centre was changing rapidly and a national programme of bus deregulation was about to have an equally dramatic effect on road transport.

The town’s trams were already a distant memory and old rivalries between Barrow Borough Transport, Cumberland and Ribble quickly became a battle for customers which left just Stagecoach as a provider of bus services.

An Act of Parliament in 1881 gave powers to build a tramway in Barrow and a committee was formed to look at different systems already operating in north of England. 

Barrow’s steam-powered locomotives and the trailers they pulled for the passengers were based at a depot in Salthouse Road.

The system opened to the public on July 11 in 1885 but making the trams pay their way proved to be difficult.

At the end of 1899British Electric Traction took over and by February 6 in 1904 introduced new trams with power from overhead electric wires.

On January 1 in1920 Barrow Borough Council bought the system for just short of £100,000 -probably not the wisest move in a national industrial recession.

The last Barrow tram  service ran on April 5 in 1932 and an expanded fleet of corporation buses took over.

By 1936 there was anew bus depot on Hindpool Road, routes were extended and there was even a move into running coach trips and tours.

Under the 1985Transport Act, the council’s traditional transport department become a limited company, trading as Barrow Borough Transport from October 1986.

The company, with the council as the major shareholder, ceased trading in 1989 - ending decades of municipal involvement in road transport.