London United Electric Tramways tram, Teddington, London, 1903.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Any opening of a new electric tramway was always a matter of great civic pride, illustrated here by the crowd gathered to witnes the first tram, carrying invited guests, to arrive in Teddington in West London. Electric trams were first introduced to London in 1901, and by 1906 there were 10 tram systems in operation in various parts of the city. The trams ran on rails set into the road surface and drew power from overhead electric cables. By 1924 more pasengers used trams than any other method of public transport in London, but competition from buses led to a decline in their use and the last tram in the capital ran in July 1952.