North Metropolitan Horse Tram

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North Metropolitan horse tram being extracted from the farm site in Powys. Photo: Mike Crabtree.

The North Metropolitan Tramways Company was incorporated on 12th July 1869 and opened for traffic on 9th May 1870 with just 2½ miles of track. The first tramcars were imported from the New York firm of John Stephenson & Co. but by February 1881 domestic demand was so great that the firm had priced itself out of its former export markets.  So, from this date the North Metropolitan Tramways obtained all its new stock either by building its own or by purchasing from other British suppliers.

By June 1884, the track mileage had increased to 34¾ miles (most of which was double track), serving districts in the north and east of London. By this stage, the tramway owned a stud of 2,474 horses and 253 horse trams of various sizes, of which around 200 were likely to be in service on any given day.

The tramway’s Building and General Workshop at Leytonstone was capable of producing 57 horse trams per year at a cost of £135 each. Other tramcars for the fleet were obtained from the Falcon Works at Loughborough.

Unidentified North Metropolitan horse trams. Photo courtesy of Crich TMS photo archive.

A horse tram that was built at one or other of these premises in 1885 and withdrawn in 1906 is known to have ended up as a children’s playhouse on a farm in Newtown, Powys, after it was bought by a local farmer and transported by rail to its new location.  When the surrounding land was ploughed up for arable crops during the second world war, to support the war effort, the playhouse became a cereal store.



Type of tram
Double deck open-topped horse tram with garden seats on the upper deck
Seating capacity
Probably 46
Date built
Manufacturer of body
North Metropolitan Tramways Co (or Falcon Works, Loughborough)
Manufacturer of truck
Falcon Works, Loughborough
4’ 8½”
Current collector


Withdrawn from service


Subsequent history

Purchased by a North Wales farmer and transported by rail to Newtown in Powys, for use as a children’s playhouse, before conversion to a grain store during the second world war.

Restoration history

Recovered from field and placed in long-term storage in 2016 pending a decision on its future.

Current status
Stored in dismantled ‘flat-pack condition’
Date started operating at Crich
Total mileage covered at Crich
Current location
Off-site storage facility
Future plans

LCCTT has expressed interest in restoring a London horse tram, and a fund has been established for this purpose. If adequate resources are available there is a reasonable prospect that this ambitious project could come to fruition.

  • 1885 – 1906Operational on original tramway
  • 1906 – 2016Converted to summer house
  • 2016 – dateIn storage at off-site storage facility.

Crich Tramway Village is a brand name for the National Tramway Museum (Accredited with Arts Council England), solely owned and operated by The Tramway Museum Society, incorporated in England with liability by guarantee (no. 744229). Registered charity number 313615. Our ICO number is Z6700136.