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From the Archives: Tram traffic on the right track at Villa Park
Trams picture-perfect in B6 post-war.
12th Feb 2013
From the Archives: Tram traffic on the right track at Villa Park


Brown

Any organisation with tradition tends to prompt nostalgia. Aston Villa is no exception.

Fans with much longer memories than the younger breed of supporter love to look back to the early post-war years when crowds of 50,000 and more were commonplace.

It's impossible to picture now but whereas now 30,000 folks arrived mostly by car, back in the late 1940s the same amount would be dropped off by trams right outside the ground.

The excellent sketch above is from 1977 by RK Calvert and produced by Renault Printing Company Ltd of Birmingham.

It perfectly captures the atmosphere from Villa Park life in the late 1940s.

The sketch, entitled 'A Football Special 1949' contains numerous interesting features when studied closely.

Right there almost in the centre is a seller with a huge pile of match programmes by his side but he has no apparent fear that they might be stolen or damaged.

Not far from him is one good, old-fashioned English bobby mingling with the crowd and seemingly redundant in terms of needing to look out for any troublemakers. Obviously there weren't any.

Another eye-catching aspect of the picture is that the majority of the figures shown wear a rosette, almost the only means available at that time of sporting your team's colours other than the perennial scarf.

The absence of floodlights should be noted.

There's also, of course, the usual 'Football Specials' trams.

They would be waiting in position right outside the ground after the game as the fans poured out.

Strange now to reflect that in those days congestion meant a line of trams and a human flood of people rather than the traffic jams created by cars!

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