Edinburgh Transport

Horse-drawn Trams

From early-1870s



Scott Simpson

Kanata, Ontario, Canada, wrote:

Scott Simpson wrote:


Photograph in Council Offices

"I am searching for a photo that I know was once in Edinburgh Council Offices.  My grandfather, who is now aged 95, saw it when he visited Scotland many years ago.  Unfortunately, my attempts to contact the council offices to enquire about this photo have gone unanswered."

Eight Trams

"The picture that I'm looking for is of my great great grandfather, who was a councillor, and his family standing alongside a tram that was named after him.  I believe the photo was probably taken in the early-1870s.

There were eight trams at the time.  Each one was named after a town councillor.  My great great grandfather's name was 'Summers' or 'Sommers'.

Scott Simpson, Kanata, Ontario, Canada:  April 25 + 27, 2010

Reply to Scott

If you know anything about this photo, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to Scott.    Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  May 1, 2010



Neil Mackenzie


Thank you to Ian Mackenzie who replied:


"It seemed to me that if we are even in the right City, the event must  have been the opening of the  tramways in 1871, at which date it is  recorded that 10 trams were available, not 8. Soon afterwards, of  course, the number of trams rose steadily and there would be no urge  to name them all after Bailies or Councillors.

I therefore visited the Edinburgh Room unproductively, then then  emailed them to see if they had a record  relevant to Mr Summers/ Sommers.  This is their reply

' I have checked our list of Bailies for Edinburgh Town Council for 1871.  At that time there was a Lord Provost, the Right Hon. William Law, and 6 Bailies: William Skinner, Peter Miller, David Lewis, George Cousin, James Marshall and Peter Howden. 

There were 31 councillors, none of whom was called Summers or Sommers, although there was a Robert Somerville

Checking the Edinburgh and Leith Post Office directories for 1871 and 1872 there was an Adam Summers  who lived at 11 Melbourne Place, and whose business was Summers & McIntyre, corset and bandage makers, at 6 and 7 North Bank Street.

There was also a John Summers, baker and confectioner, at 133 Princes Street.  However, neither of these individuals was a councillor.

There are three Robert Somerville's listed in the 1871 Post Office directory:

-   Robert Somerville, stationer and librarian, 10 Spring Gardens, house 1 Claremont Place

-  Robert Somerville, 27 Montague Street

-  Robert Somerville, market officer, cattle market.

I'm not sure which of these was the councillor.'

It seems to me that  it was unlikely that Mr Summers / Sommers had a  tram named after him if he was not a Councillor or Bailie.  I think we need more information."

Neil Mackenzie, Edinburgh  May 12, 2010

Neil Mackenzie was formerly an executive with Lothian Region Transport



Princes Street  -  Looking to the east at Waverley  -  Horse Tram

Princes Street



Tramwayman's Shelter

Strathearn Place, Greenhill, Edinburgh

    Old shelter for the horse-drawn tramway at Strathearn Place, Edinburgh

Looking west  to the Shelter

    Old shelter for the horse-drawn tramway at Strathearn Place, Edinburgh

Looking south to the Shelter




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