Authorised by the Coventry and District Tramways Act of 1880, the first tramway constructed in the city was owned and operated by the Coventry and District Tramways Company and opened in 1884.
The single-track line was constructed to a gauge of 3ft 6ins because of the narrow city streets and was operated by a fleet of steam locomotives hauling trailer cars.
It ran from the London and North Western Railway’s Station, north, through the centre of the city via Hertford Street, Broadgate and Bishop Street out along Foleshill Road, Longford Road, Bedworth Road and Coventry Road to the village of Bedworth, some 5.5 miles away.
The tramway was poorly patronised, probably, as reported at the time, because of the regular failures, choking smoke and poor performance in climbing uphill, particularly in Bishop Street.
As a result the service became spasmodic, which further affected patronage, and, in 1893, the service was suspended altogether.
No. 7 ex-South Staffordshire Tramways Co (No. 38, new 1884 to Hartlepools Steam Tramways Company (one of Nos. 1-3).
In preparing this history reference has been made to the following sources;
The Directory of British Tramways (Keith Turner, PSL 1996); Coventry Transport 1884-1940 (AS Denton and FP Groves, BTHG 1985); Coventry Transport 1912-1974 (Commemorative Brochure by Coventry Transport Committee 1974).