The Stables

In  1877, original tramway owner Thomas Lightfoot purchased three terraced houses at the northern end of Queen's Promenade where the tramway first terminated, near the bottom of Summer Hill (formerly known as Burnt Mill Hill). He proceeded to develop new stables on land behind the cottages, eventually accommodating up to 33 horses.

The adjoining 'upper' stable block and rear blacksmith shop were added later, 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.

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 must hope that the long term future of the Horse Tramway can be secured and that the original stables are conserved as part of any re-development plans.

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

'Meet the Trammers' 

Guided tours of the stables are available on selected dates throughout the season, led by knowledgeable Friends of DBHT guides. Visitors can explore the stables, meet and feed the Shire and Clydesdale heavy horses, learn about their lives and discover the hidden story of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway.  There are also a small exhibition room and gift shop within the stables.

Please check with Isle of Man Railways ( or call 01624 662525) to confirm guided tour times / dates before making your travel arrangements and setting out, as tours may be subject to late change or even cancellation.

The Summer Hill Stables are open to the public when the horse tramway is operating.  Guided 'Meet the Trammers' tours are free, however spaces are limited.  For information and guided tour bookings, please visit the MER Ticket Office at Derby Castle in person, or phone 01624 614687, during seasonal open hours. 

Friends of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
helping to promote

Friends of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
c/o Rocket House, Parliament Square
Castletown IM9 1LB, Isle of Man
Tel:        07624 412374

Copyright © 2015 to date - Friends of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway

Friends of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway is an independent news, information and campaign support service, helping to promote and support the Douglas Bay Tramway, its draught horses and its historic tramcars. The Tramway itself is owned by the Isle of Man Government and operated as a heritage transport service and visitor attraction by Isle of Man Railways, part of the Department of Infrastructure.

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