The Stables...

Wash yard and entrance, Lower (original) Stables
In 1877, original tramway owner-operator Thomas Lightfoot purchased a house with rear yard and small stables at the northern end of Queen's Promenade where the tramway first terminated, near to the bottom of Summer Hill road (formerly known as Burnt Mill Hill). He proceeded to develop a larger stables building to the rear of the site and replaced the house with a terrace of three with an access archway. Eventually the 'lower' stables accommodated up to 33 horses.

The adjoining 'upper' stable block and rear blacksmith shop were added later by Douglas Corporation in the early 20th Century, housing a further 45 horses. The combined capacity today is greatly reduced to a maximum of 24 horses, with loose boxes large enough for the horses to turn around, lie down and sleep!

Isle of Man Tramways Ltd, who had acquired the horse tramway from Lightfoot in 1882, also purchased nearby No.1 Strathallan Crescent with its garden in 1891 and developed the site for their offices, additional stabling and a temporary storage yard for tramcars, known as "The Brig". By 1902, this site stabled up to 21 horses, much to the annoyance of and complaints from neighbouring private residences regarding 'air pollution' from stable manure, although an independent inspector disagreed and found no 'nuisance' caused.

Tramway Terrace, Queen's Promenade
A working original Victorian stable tucked away in a modern urban environment, complete with smithy, feedstock rolling machinery, hay loft and cobbled washyard, is a rare treasure to find in any developed country.

We therefore welcome the acquisition of the Summer Hill Stables by the Isle of Man Government in April 2018 for continued occupancy by the tramway horses.

Always popular, the Summer Hill Stables undoubtedly add significantly to the heritage attraction and experience that the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway is able to offer visitors, quite comparable with elements of Cregneash village so highly prized by Manx National Heritage




Tramway Stables - Harness Room
Exhibition Room & Gift Shop