East Ham Council ran its own trams. The tram depot for East Ham was located in Nelson Street, behind the Town Hall. In 1898 East Ham Council obtained Parliamentary powers for the construction and running of tramways. Plans were drawn up and work commenced the following year. It was completed in 1901 and extended in 1909. The depot was 145 feet by 65 feet (45 by 20 metres), with a capacity of 25 trams. East Ham was the first local council in London to adopt the system of electrically-propelled trams at its inception in 1901. By 1933 the system carried over 20 million passengers a year.
Unfortunately, tramways were expensive to run and made a considerable financial loss. One of the major contributing factors was the heavy road construction and maintenance charges which were imposed on such underakings by the Tramways Act of 1870. The other factor was the advent of the motor bus. These were more flexible and were also exempt from the road maintenace charges.
Upon the formation in 1933 of the London Passenger Transport Board this new 'strategic' transport authority acquired 56 of East Ham Corporation's trams - along with those of other municipal-run systems. One of the first acts of the new Board was the closure of the Depot, resulting in the transfer of 20 bogie cars to Bow depot, 23 single truck cars to West Ham depot, with the remaining old trams being sent to Hampstead Depot for scrapping.
For many years after closure the tram depot was used by the council for various purposes. In the 1990s the whole site (including the adjacent public baths) was refurbished and converted into East Ham Leisure Centre. As a listed building it was one of the few remaining "industrial municipal" premises of its sort.
(Text: Newham Heritage & Archives with additional information from East & West Ham Trams by Robert Henley, published by Middleton Press, 1995. Image provided by Robert J. Rogers)