Thursday 4th April 1901
The London United Tramway Company opened London’s first regular electric tram service on a public road. The first three routes were between Hammersmith and Kew Bridge, between Shepherd’s Bush and Kew Bridge (via Chiswick), and between Shepherd’s Bush and Acton. This was the golden age of the electric tram. The first public tramway had opened in Blackpool in 1885, and between 1900 and 1907 the national tramway mileage doubled. By 1901, encouraged by the Light Railways Act of 1896, tram and rail services were transforming patterns of settlement in Britain’s cities and enabling working people to move out to the suburbs. The census returns for 1901 show, for example, that the population of Middlesex and Surrey had grown by over a third since 1891, while that of the county of London had fallen.