In 2015 we are shining a spot light on how our tramways continued to operate during the First World War. We have a brand new exhibition for visitors to explore, called Tramway Tommies and Clippie Girls and a week long special event in July. If that wasn’t enough we are delighted to say that our Chesterfield tramcar no 7 is going to have a makeover for the 2015 season, and will be transformed into a recruitment tramcar. A recruitment tramcar, what was one of those you ask? Well they sometimes looked a little bit like this: After the outbreak of War, the British government issued a call for an extra 100,000 men to volunteer to enlist with the army, and in the first couple weeks of August 1914 recruitment was high, and peaked in September with more than 750,000 men having enlisted. However, the governments need for more men to enlist continued and the recruitment campaign rolled on. A number of tramway operators, supported the campaign by decorating tramcars. They were decorated in patriotic colours, as well as displaying messages of encouragement for enlisting. They were frequently used as a platform from which Lord Mayors could deliver speeches of encouragement to men to do their duty to King and Country, and enlist. Willing recruits would be given free travel on the tramcar and taken to a recruiting station. The Electric Railway and Tramway Journal for 9th October 1914, records that Liverpool Corporation Tramways, decorated one of its tramcars as a patriotic endorsement for the demonstration at the Tournament Hall, Edge Lane on the 21st September 1914, where the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, was delivering a speech. Whilst the speech took place inside the hall the tramcar was displayed outside and recruiting officers were enlisting volunteers. Liverpool however was only the start, as recruitment tramcars would appear in Leeds, Hull, Croydon, Bradford, Rochdale, Oldham, Dublin, Methyr Tydfil, Cardiff, Belfast, Stockport and Southampton during the first couple of years of the war. They were some of the most highly decorated tramcars to grace our tramway tracks. Which brings us back to Chesterfield 7, which we will be transforming into one of these recruitment tramcars. It’s not known whether Chesterfield Corporation ever had a specific recruitment tramcar, however photos from the period show tramcars carrying some recruitment posters in the windows. As the tramcar fits with the period of the First World War, it is the perfect canvas to recreate this unique endeavour by tramway operators to support the recruitment campaign, and bring that to life at the Museum. Chesterfield 7 will be in operation on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at the Museum, from 18th April to 29th September. This will exclude special event days and will be subject to weather conditions and serviceability. Keep an eye on the blog over the next couple of months, as we will be keeping you up to date with progress on our preparations for decorating Chesterfield 7.