Horse tram services started 19 August 1872
Electric traction from 13 October 1898 until 4 September 1962
Tramway abandonment's started in 1926, with major route closures from 1956 onwards
Trolleybuses introduced 3 April 1949 - Abandoned 27 May 1967
Peter Mitchell spent most of his life in the London Transport area. He was a prolific photographer
of buses, trams, trolleybuses, railways, post boxes and windmills. The extent of his work covered systems throughout
Britain and Ireland. He also collected maps, timetables, hand bills and had an unrivalled collection of railway, tramway,
trolleybus and motorbus tickets from all over Britain.
I was aware that he had photographed London trolleybuses, and thought that some of his photographs could be used in various
publications. I visited him at his house in Cheam, and was amazed at what was virtually an Aladdin's cave of transport material.
I used a number of his photographs and he was pleased to see them in print. His favourite photographic subjects were Southdown
buses, London trolleybuses, Huddersfield trolleybuses and Glasgow Standard trams.
By the time I met him he had been widowed for many years; a retired rating officer, he spent all of his time pursuing his transport
interests. He tended to be rather reclusive but I made a connection with him and we would have many long telephone conversations
about buses, trams and trolleybuses. When he visited me, I was astounded at his amazing memory and knowledge. It became apparent,
during our chats, that he had not made a Will. His reply was that he had no-one to leave it to. I had a distressing image of a
house clearance firm dumping this historical collection.
In June 2011 he was taken into hospital. When he went home he needed care assistants, who told me that he was unlikely to live much
longer. I suggested that he made a Will to which he positively responded. When I was at the house I became aware of the large number
of photos that he had taken of the Glasgow Standards; I asked him why that was so and he said "Because they were so old".
His wish was that the proceeds from his estate should go towards the restoration and preservation of trams and trolleybuses that had
their origins in the British Isles. He suggested a number of vehicles that could benefit in this way, with Glasgow tram 488 being one.
Proceeds from his estate will be used to fund transport restoration/preservation projects. His photographic collection is safe; at
present the executors [of which I am one] are printing many of his photographs for what will be the first time - they will form a
library of his work.
When I was with representatives of the Paris Transport Museum, organising the return of London trolleybus 796 to Britain, it was
very obvious to me that Glasgow 488 would also be offered in due course - I came to this assumption because they said they would
never be able to operate it. Three weeks after Peter had signed his Will, the Paris Transport Museum offered 488 to the East
Anglia Transport Museum. The EATMS accepted it; it is on a two year loan at present and ownership will be transferred to them
in 2015. Before Peter died I was able to tell him that thanks to his generosity, 488 would be completely restored. He was pleased
to know this and a plaque will be positioned in the tram to acknowledge his contribution.