Horse-drawn Trams Skegness Beach

Source: Skegness Herald 1887

Not many people will know that there was once a tramway on Skegness beach.

The horse-drawn trams idea, which was a private enterprise, solved the problem of the soft sands being difficult to walk upon, especially by the Victorian ladies.

The tramway didn’t last that long, as it seems sand blew onto the tracks and eventually caused more problems than it solved.

We are indebted to 80 year-old, Mr Mike Richards of Skegness for providing this photograph of the tramway.

Tramway_skegness_beach

The ‘old ship on the sand’ referred to in the article is of course the Whale Ship Eliza.

Tramway on Skegness Beach

A tramway is being constructed on the beach by Messers. Rowley and Storr, and when completed it will afford great accommodation to visitors desirous of having a walk on our beautiful sands, which are several hundred yards from the parades.
This intermediate space consists of soft sands, which is very difficult to walk on, and which is usually, during the season, occupied with shows, swings, merry-go-rounds, Aunt Sallies etc.
Complaints have frequently been heard from visitors during the past two or three years of the difficult approach to the sea, and various suggestions have been made as to best means of providing a remedy for the same.
One of these, made to the Local Board some months ago, was the forming a wooden footpath from the Parade, opposite Lumley Road, to the highest elevation on the beach near the old ship on the sands, but the subject was not entertained by the Board.
We are glad, however, to state that private speculators have come to the rescue, in the persons of Messers. Rowley and Storr, who are now providing the accommodation so greatly needed, and which we hope, and have no doubt, will prove remunerative to them.
They are now constructing a tramway from the parade, directly opposite Lumley Road, over the soft sands, and at a distance of about five hundred yards to the sea.
The work is being rapidly proceeded with and will be completed by Good Friday, on which day it is intended to be opened for traffic.
The tramway will consist, the greater part of the distance, of two lines of rails, which are being laid on sleepers on a level with the sands.
The gauge will be 2ft 6in and four cars are being specially constructed, and each of which will carry twenty-one persons.
One of these cars will be constructed in such a manner that sedan chairs and perambulators can easily be conveyed in it.
The cars will be drawn by horses.
The starting point will be at the left hand corner of the North Parade, and here a platform about 60ft long and 22ft wide is being constructed.
The platform, which is a few feet below the level of the parades, will be approached by a slight incline, and will be enclosed with ornamental railing.
The tramway will run along by the side of the new Marine Gardens for a distance of about 50 yards.
At the entrance to the platform, adjacent to the parades, will be a turn style and ornamental ticket office.
It is expected that the charge will be one penny for the single, and three-half-pence for the double journey.
Passengers entering the car at the sea end, or anywhere on the homeward journey, will pay their fares at the turn-style near the parade.
We trust that this accommodation which is being provided for visitors will be greatly appreciated, and patronizes, by them.

1964_1965 018

This letter to the Editor of the Skegness Herald was published in the newspaper in response to the new tramway:

The Tramway on the Sands

Sir – I am very pleased to see the great improvements that have taken place in Skegness since my visit here last year, more particularly in regard to the tramway, which is a great boon to the public and supplies a long-felt want.
Great credit is due to the promoters of the same.
For some years past great difficulty has been experienced, especially by ladies, in traversing the intervening soft sand, and many complaints have from time to time been made in respect of the difficulty in getting to the beautiful sands at the water’s edge, and which are firm and clean.
Yours truly
H R Shepherd

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