Electricity sparked major progression as towns acquired better lighting and cleaner powers during latter years of an industrious 19th century. Reports of tramline promoters visiting Mansfield dated 25th March 1898 coincide amid months when proposals were made building a giant power station near Warsop colliery. Gas suppliers tried opposing introduction of what they considered was a competitive fuel. A miraculous and clean supply of power inevitably progressed, quickly gaining favour for lighting streets and driving most urban passenger tram services recognised again in modern city use.
Application eventually submitted November 1899 to the Light Railway Commissioners sought official permission for laying tramlines radiating from Mansfield. The private company proposed electricity powered routes running upon a gauge of 3ft 6inch. Offered without burden upon Rates they pushed this commercial venture worrying that delays would increase future costs as previously happened with water and gas suppliers. Chairman of an inquiry held June 1900 at the Town Hall stated they would be happy to recommend the Board of Trade to grant the application, subject to certain clauses. Agreements actually resulted in extending proposed routes, before work began laying four town lines from Mansfield Market place by the Mansfield & District Light Railway.
Rails northward extend into Pleasley, north east connecting the Urban District of Mansfield Woodhouse, and southward reaching Mansfields District boundaries at Berry Hill. Fourth tramroad westerly through Sutton commenced September 1st 1904. Opened by a civic party ride before agreed extension connected Huthwaite, unlike other routes into Crown Farm, Skegby and Teversal never started. Photo held by Mansfield Museum is the 1910 Mansfield Tram and later bus depot.
Trams coming from Mansfield heading into Sutton progressed between main shop fronts along Outram Street. Previously called Tenter Lane whose renaming was claimed linked with the tramway or a noted rail flange designer. However, the Outram family once owned lands here prior 1797 forest enclosures. Lewis postcard scene circa 1909 reveals tramcar No.15 approaching the Great Northern railway bridge. Crossing that station platform gave a direct tram to train connection, also later shared from Huthwaite.
An empty looking Portland Square circa 1910 shows in foreground where tracks continued west bringing Mansfield tramways into Huthwaite. At that central Sutton stop, Urban District Councillors boarded an electric tram to officially experience opening the first Huthwaite run. A ticket issued 17th February 1906 claims proving date when frequent villager services began running through connections into Mansfield.
Continuing the journey proves it was largely sufficient laying a single tramroad, flush and along middle each roadway. The tram below demonstrates this passing the Lammas grounds towards Church Street.
Two way traffic did however require strategically positioned passing points, such as this one fronting Sutton cemetery, where a tollgate formerly stood at Sutton Forest Side previously charging passage for all horse and cart traffic. Daily commuters now made regular tram journeys to and from work. This was perhaps the nearest stop for Simpson Wright and Lowe's factory employees, but with no reportage found of any major breakdowns our journey safely continues westerly along Huthwaite Lane. This renamed Huthwaite Road section of todays B6026 gently climbs across our village border, entering as Sutton Road. After dropping off more workers at the C.W.S. factory, it reaches highest stage around Huthwaite cemetery gates. A final passing point fronted the Portland Arms, overlooking a steeper drop into the Huthwaite Terminus. Two points giving some choice for New Hucknall miners to continue their shortened walk into work from far further afield.
Written 01 Aug 04 Revised 14 Jun 12 © by Gary Elliott