Tram Conductor Statements

Smithdown Lane Car Conductor (Thomas Phillips):

The second tram Wallace boarded after getting off of his initial tram from St. Margaret’s Church.

Statement #1:

Thomas Charles PHILLIPS says:-

“I am a tram conductor No. 3078, employed by the Liverpool Corporation Tramways Department, and live at 44 Klaine Street.

On Tuesday the 20th January, 1931, I was on Car No. 229. Smithdown Road No. 5 route, running from the Pier Head to Penny Lane, Wavertree. At about 7.10p.m. a man whom I cannot describe, joined the car at the junction of Lodge Lane and Smithdown Lane. He appeared to be excited and asked me for Menlove Gardens East. As I was only going to Penny Lane I told him to take a transfer ticket of penny ticket to Penny Lane. Tram Inspr.Angus boarded the car immediately we left the junction, and the man as near as I can remember sat on the first inside seat, and I gave him a penny ticket.

When we arrived at the junction of Penny Lane, I noticed a number 7 car (Calderstones). I told the man to jump it and get off at Queens Drive. I don’t think I would know the man again.

(Signed) Thomas Charles Phillips.

Statement #2:

Central Police Office.

Thomas Charles PHILLIPS further states:-

When my tram stopped at the corner of Tunnel Road and Smithdown lane on the 20th January at 7.6p.m. there was a fair crowd waiting to board the car, and about the last to get on was the man who asked me if the car went to Menlove Gardens East. I told him “No” that a 7 or 5W would take him, but then I changed my mind and told him I could give him a transfer ticket or a penny fare and he could change. he got on and took his seat inside. I went in for the fares and he said he was a stranger in the district and that he had an urgent “call” or “business” at Menlove Gardens East and emphasized the word “East”. I gave him a penny ticket and he then said “You won’t forget Guard, I want to get to Menlove Gardens East”.

I collected my fares inside and outside and when I got back to the platform he turned his head and said “How far is it now and where do I have to change?” I told him he would have to change at Penny Lane and when we got there I saw a No. 7 car waiting and I told him to get that. he hurried away and I saw he was going towards a No. 5 car which was also waiting, and I shouted “Not that one, a No. 7 in the out loop” and he went towards the No. 7 car but I cannot say if he boarded it or not.

To-day I picked out this man from a number of others at the Main Bridewell.

I do not know if there is a Menlove Gardens East. I know there is a Menlove Gardens North and South and I judged that Menlove Gardens East would be in that vicinity.

(Signed) Thomas Charles Phillips.

Statement #3:

Evidence taken 20th February 1931.


I am a Tram Conductor in the employ of the Liverpool Corporation.

I live at 44, Klaine Street, Liverpool.

On the 20th January last I left the Smithdown Road Tram Depor on my car No. 229 at __ p.m. going to Pier Road via Wavertree, as a No. 4 car. I left the Pier Head to go to Wavertree as a No. 4 car but I do not remember the time exactly. I then went to Penny Lane and returned to the Pier Head via Smithdown Road. On this route I pass the junction of Lodge Lane and Smithdown Lane. I was engaged on this route during the evening.

At about 7.6 p.m. witness Angus boarded my car at Lodge Lane and left it about the third tram stop down Smithdown Road. I should say my car left Lodge Lane for Penny Lane at about 7.6 p.m. or 7.10 p.m. The accused then boarded the car at the junction of Smithdown Lane and Lodge Lane. In getting on the car the accused said “Does this car go to Menlove Gardens East?” I said “No, you can get a No.7, 5A [the car Wallace took], or 5W.” I then said to him “You can board my car and I can give you a penny ticket or a transfer”. He then got on the car and said “I am a stranger in the district and have important business” (or “Call” I am not sure which word he used).

He took a seat on the right hand side of the car. I went to collect my fares and the accused again said something about Menlove Gardens East. I punched him a penny ticket and went upstairs to collect fares. When I came down the accused again asked me not to forget that he would change at Penny Lane. When the car got to Penny Lane I shouted to him “Menlove Gardens, change here”. I then saw a No. 7 car near mine heading for Calderstones. I said to the accused “If you hurry up, you will catch that car” (pointing to the No. 7 car). He __ for a No. 5 but I corrected him and pointed to the No. 7. I saw him go towards it.

BY Mr. SCHOLEFIELD ALLEN, Counsel for accused:-

It was somewhere around 7.6 p.m. when I saw the accused first. It would not be before. It might be after. It is usually a couple of minutes late at that time.


Thanks to John Gannon.


597. Is your name Thomas Charles Phillips? Yes.

598. Are you a tram conductor in the employ of the Liverpool Corporation living at 44, Elaine Street, Liverpool? Yes.

599. On the 20th of January last did you leave the Smithdown Road Tram Depot with your car, No 229, at 5.04. Yes.

600. Going to the Pier Head via Wavertree? Yes.

601. After leaving the Pier Head, did you go to Wavertree as a No 4 car? Yes.

602. And on that route did you pass the junction of Lodge Land and Smithdown Lane? Coming round with the No 5, yes.

603. Were you engaged that night on this route? Yes.

604. Do you remember what time you left Lodge Lane? As near, as I can say it would about 7.06 or 7.10.

605. What is your schedule time there? 7.01. [5 to 9 minutes late.]

606. You were running late? Yes.

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: At the junction of Smithdown Lane and Lodge Lane is where he was?
MR HEMMERDE: Yes, my Lord, Smithdown Road and then you get to Lodge Lane.
MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: He does not go down Lodge Lane, he merely crosses it.
MR HEMMERDE: Yes my Lord.

607. You cross the junction? Yes.

608. Then you go down Smithdown Road towards Penny Lane? Yes.

609. Up to where Penny Lane crosses. Is that right? Yes.

610. At that time, were cars running rather late because of the subsidence in Dale Street? Yes. [Same for trams on the day prior, the 19th Jan.]

611. The road had given way? Yes.

612. And the traffic was diverted? Yes.

613. Do you remember that evening having a conversation with the accused? Yes.

614. Was that before you started or after you had started from Lodge Lane? Before and afterwards.

615. Both? Yes.

616. Before you started what did he say to you? He asked me if the car went to Menlove Gardens East and I said: “No, you can get on No 5, 5A, 5W or a No 7 car.”

617. Did you tell him what he had better do? After I told him about the cars he could take I suddenly changed my mind and told him to keep on my car and told him I could give him a penny ticket for the transfer.

618. MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: That means it would take him up to Penny Lane? Yes, my Lord.

619. MR HEMMERDE: Then he gets a transfer and walks across to the other tram? Yes.

620. From there he gets the tram up Menlove Avenue towards Calderstone. Is that right? Yes.

621. When you told him that, did he get on the car? Yes.

622. What did he say to you? He said that he was a stranger in the district and that he had some important business or call – I am not sure whether it was business or call, it was important business or calls – and he wanted Menlove Gardens East.

623. Did he then take a seat in the car? Yes.

624. A little later, did you get to collect your fares? Yes.

625. And did he again say something to you? Yes, he asked me again about Menlove Gardens East.

626. Do you remember the exact words he said then? I think he said: “You won’t forget, Mister, I want Menlove Gardens East”.

627. I think you punched him a penny ticket and went on to collect fares? Yes.

628. When you came down again did he speak to you again? Yes. He said something to me again about Menlove Gardens East and I told him to change at Penny Lane.

629. That was the third time he had spoken to you? Yes.

630. When you got to Penny Lane what did you do? I shouted: “Menlove Gardens change here” and I looked around and saw a No 7 car in the loop heading for Calderstone and I told him if he hurried, he would get that car. There was a No 5 coming down and I shouted to him: “Either that one or the one in the loop”.

631. Either would go there? Yes.

632. And you saw him go towards the Calderstone Car? Yes.

633. MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: You saw him go towards No 7 car? Yes.

634. And lost sight of him? Yes, my Lord.


635. About that time. You say your car was running late that night? Yes.

636. Have you any means of knowing how late you were? Only by the business.

637. On the Wavertree side during the vacation of Dale Street, during that time, you went via Cross Hall Street and sometimes you were turned into Church Street and with the congestion of the traffic, it would always delay you anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes? Yes.

638. You do not keep any record in writing of what the delay is? No.

639. You might have to; that is why I am asking, but you do not as a matter of fact have to? No.

640. You simply guess, that is what it comes to. From your general recollection of the traffic, you probably were what, 5 minutes late? It all depends which car it is and where you were running.

641. MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: On this day, you give yourself something like 5 to 9 minutes late. You have a scheduled time and you say you get to Lodge Lane about 7.06 or 7.10, that is 5 to 9 minutes. Yes.

642. But you have no record? No, but the inspector perhaps can tell you.

643. MR ROLAND OLIVER: I daresay he can, but can you tell us? No.

644. How long does it take to get from Lodge Lane to Penny Lane? Ten minutes.

645. So that if you were as late at 7.10 you would not have got to Penny Lane till 7.20 in the ordinary way? If I left at 7.10 probably or perhaps a little before.

646. I am suggesting 10 minutes is about right? That is the time we are allowed.

647. Do you know that your brother conductor, Arthur Thompson – you know him, I suppose? Yes.

648. (Arthur Thompson) has said, and I suppose will say again, that the accused was on his tram at 7.15. This is very easily explained.

649. There are many explanations but he could not have flown from Smithdown Lane to Penny Lane and change and get on to another tram in 5 minutes, could he? I daresay the car would go down quicker than 10 minutes especially if there is no traffic because the car could proceed much quicker.

650. You are not to argue the case. You are going to help me find out the truth, are not you? Yes.

651. You say 10 minutes is the ordinary time and you say there was congestion in the traffic and you were 10 minutes late? Yes.

652. If your brother conductor says, he was on his tram at 7.15 it must have been something, 7.05 or 7.06, after you left the first place? Somewhere near that time.

MR ROLAND OLIVER: We are only trying to fix things. I am not attacking you in any way.


653. When you talk about congestion, do you mean congestion in town or congestion out in the Menlove Avenue district? Congestion in Town.

654. You are made late by the roads in Town, but there is nothing to prevent your car getting along afterwards? No.

MR ROLAND OLIVER: If my friend is going to put that kind of leading question upon my cross-examination, he is putting the answer into his mouth.
MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: Yes, I think you are quite right. The note I have made is, the congestion was in the Town.

655. MR HEMMERDE: What is the routine here when you reach certain points? Is there any inspector that notes the time you arrive or leave? You get stamped off at Penny Lane at one end of the journey and stamped off at the Pier Head, that is the other end of the journey.

656. Where is Portman Road? About the fourth stop down on the left-hand side of Smithdown Road from Lodge Lane.

657. How long would it take you to get down from Lodge Lane to Portman Road? I should say 3 to 5 minutes.

MR HEMMERDE: Portman Road, your Lordship, is some 20 yards up just past Smithdown Road, just following Smithdown Road.
MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: Yes, I see. It is not a very striking place.
MR HEMMERDE: No, my lord, but that happens to be a stop.
THE WITNESS: That is so.

658. Did an inspector get on there, do you remember? No, I think he would get on somewhere round Lodge Lane.

659. Would you mind looking at that paper? (Same handed). Yes.

MR HEMMERDE: My Lord, what I want to put to him is the document signed. Would your Lordship just look at it?
MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: Yes. (Same handed).
MR ROLAND OLIVER: If my friend has got an entry that someone or other was at Portman Street at 7.10 I am content. I do not want to object to it.
MR HEMMERDE: That is what he says and I am trying to show he is right. He says 3 or 4 minutes.
MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: You had better look at this.
MR ROLAND OLIVER: I have said I will accept it.
MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: This is your signature for the purpose?
THE WITNESS: Yes, my Lord.

660. That says: Number of car, 229. Whose car is that? My car.

661. Then there is something I cannot read. Earl Road.

662. Yes, and then there is Portman. That is where the inspector gets on.

663. He joined the car at Earl Road and left it at Portman Road and there is the time, 7.20. Was that when he got off? Yes.

664. At Portman Road? Yes.

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: That shows he got to Portman Road at 7.10.
MR HEMMERDE: That is 3 or 4 minutes from Lodge Lane.
MR ROLAND OLIVER: It makes no difference to me whether the tram started at 7.06 or 7.10, I am content with that.
MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: I shall say it left Portman Road at 7.10 and it was about what from Lodge Lane?
THE WITNESS: Four minutes from Lodge Lane.
MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: That agrees with our first figure, 7.06.
MR HEMMERDE: Yes, my Lord.
MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: That agrees with the other figure 7.15 [Arthur Thompson] for all practical purposes?
MR HEMMERDE: Yes, my Lord.

Penny Lane Car Conductor (Arthur Thompson):

The third and final tram Wallace boarded after switching from the Smithdown Lane car. This took him to the stop at Menlove Gardens West.

Statement #1:

Central Police Office.
9th February 1931.

Arthur THOMPSON, 16, Arnold Grove, Wavertree, says:-

I am a tram conductor employed by the Liverpool Corporation. On Tuesday the 20th of January I went on duty at 7.13p.m. at Penny Lane and took charge of a 5a tram car proceeding to Calderstones. The tram had come from town and there were some passengers on when I took over. We left Penny Lane as soon as I took over, and a man inside the tram asked me if I would put him off at Menlove Gardens East. I told him I would and when we got to Menlove Gardens West, I stopped the car and beckoned the man. He came to the platform and I pointed to Menlove Gardens West and told him that as far as I knew he would find Menlove Gardens East up there. He thanked me and said “I am a complete stranger”. He got off the tram and went towards Menlove Gardens West. The tram stop at Menlove Gardens West is only about two or three minutes run from Penny Lane.

The man was about 50 to 55 years, over 6ft. tall, I think he had a trilby hat on and wore glasses. I think I would know him again.

(Signed) Arthur Thompson.

Evidence taken 20th February 1931.


I am a Tram Conductor in the employ of the Liverpool Corporation.

I live at 16, Arnold Grove, Wavertree, Liverpool.

On the 20th January last I left the Smithdown Road Tram Depot at 7.10 p.m. and went to Penny Lane, arrived there at 7.12 p.m. when I reported to the Inspector for duty. I boarded a No. 5A car coming from town towards Calderstones at about 7.15 p.m. A gentleman, I think it was the accused, was sitting on the left hand side of the car. he asked me to put him off at Menlove Gardens East. I said I would. When the car arrived at Menlove Gardens West I beckoned to the gentleman and he came to the platform of the car. I said “This is Menlove Gardens West. Menlove Gardens is a triangular affair, three roads. There are two roads running off on the right. You will probably find it is one of them”. He said “Thank you, I am a complete stranger around here”. He then left the car.



665. Your name is Arthur Thompson? Yes.

666. You are a tram conductor in the employ of the Liverpool Corporation? Yes.

667. An you live at 16 Arnold Road, Wavertree, Liverpool? Yes.

668. On the 20th of January what time, did you leave the Smithdown Road Tram Depot? At about 9 or 10 minutes past 7.

669. You went down to Penny Lane? Yes, I went down to the tram terminus at Penny Lane.

670. What time would you arrive there? I arrived there at 13 minutes past 7.

671. Do you there report to the Inspector on duty? Yes.

672. Then you board a tramcar, 5A, going to Calderstone? Yes.

673. At what time? It was quarter past 7.

674. Was there anyone sitting on the tramcar? Yes, there were several passengers on the car.

675. Did one of them speak to you? A passenger [Mr. Wallace] sitting on the left-hand side of the car spoke to me just after leaving Penny Lane.

676. Can you recognise that passenger? I believe it is the accused.

677. What did he ask you? Whether I would put him off at Menlove Gardens East.

678. When the car arrived at Menlove Gardens West, what did you do? I beckoned to the prisoner and he came to the platform and I pointed out Menlove Gardens West to him and said: “That is Menlove Gardens West; you will probably find the street you want, Menlove Gardens East is in that direction” and I described it as well as I could and as well as I knew the vicinity.

679. When you described it, what did he say? “Thank you, I am a complete stranger round here”.


680. You say you boarded your tram about 7.15? Yes, 7.13 at Penny Lane and I had to wait about 2 minutes.

681. You did not look at a watch, I mean, to take any particular time? I looked at the clock at 7.30. Within a minute of that?

682. MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: That was at Penny Lane terminus? Yes, that was at the terminus before the car arrived.

683. MR ROLAND OLIVER: Then when your car arrived you had to get that way? Yes.

684. And he was already sitting on it? I could not say he was sitting on it then but he was on it when we left the terminus.

685. Was the car you drove the same car that the last witness drove? No.

686. It was a different car? Yes.

687. The reason why I ask was because it continues up. As long as I have got it clear. He was already in your car when you saw him and had to change? Yes.

688. MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: Your car was 5A? Yes, my Lord, going to Calderstone, the other car had turned round to Church Road that he had got off.


689. Some of the cars run straight through and on some you have to change? Yes.

690. It depends on the number? Yes.

Alighted at the tram stop by Menlove Gardens West.

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2 Responses to Tram Conductor Statements


    Arthur Thompson was my grandfather
    As he died young from tuberculosis, I never got to meet him but I am trying to
    research his life.
    I was aware that he was a witness in this case but was under the impression that
    he was never called to give evidence.
    This is very enlightening

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Hey, glad to hear I was able to give you some history of your grandfather 🙂

      I suppose that means you are also related to Thomas Charles Phillips as it is said he and Arthur were brothers. Did your family have any particular ideas on the case or know of any rumours?

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