The felling of the elms, c1938

I suppose that the large elm trees in the Grove when I was a child were the original ones planted at the time that the area was developed. By that time, the 1930’s, they could have been 50 years old. They were very beautiful and loved by those who lived in the area, except at times in autumn when the fallen leaves were wet with rain and became slippery. Everyone was shocked and saddened when around 1938 our beautiful trees were felled to make way for the overhead wires of the trolley buses.

A scene of utter devastation
It was a scene of utter devastation to see so many huge trees cut down all at one time. After the noise of the trams the quiet trolley buses took a while to get used to and they were locally considered a danger to children and older people who were hard of hearing. While the ‘trolleys’ reigned there were no trees and Elm Grove lost its identity.

Trolley buses were comfortable
The routes were much the same as the trams but at The Junction the trolley arms had to be removed from the overhead wires and replaced by means of a long pole. Sometimes the arms came off the wires mid-journey and had to be reconnected. The trolley buses were very comfortable with a smooth ride and of course were completely covered. Eventually the ‘trolleys’ were accepted and I believe they were missed too when in time they passed into history and were replaced by motor buses, which struggled up the hill with a full load of passengers.

I left Brighton in 1953, so I hope someone can continue the story of trees and transport in Elm Grove.

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