BUS workers give five special chairs to the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in 1981 – Roger Pilcher, Lord Shepherd, Sister Margaret Rymill and George Barnett are in the foreground B US workers in Oxford had done their bit for charity, and now it was time to hand over the fruits of their labour.

They had organised a raffle with the intention of buying a special chair for patients at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Headington.

But the fundraising effort had proved so successful that they found they had enough money for not one, but FIVE chairs.

The chairs, two of which can be seen in this picture, were put on show when they were handed over in the presence of many of the depot workers.

The presentation was made by Lord Shepherd, chairman of the National Bus Company, to which Oxford South Midland was affiliated. He is second from the left in the foreground, accompanied by Roger Pilcher, left, Sister Margaret Rymill, from the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, and George Barnett, right.

Mr Barnett, a chargehand fitter at the depot, who helped to organise the raffle, said the raffle had raised £763 and he had been overwhelmed at the response.

He said at the time: “We had expected only to make enough money to provide one chair, so we were very surprised when we got this amount.”

Many of the tickets for the raffle had been bought by visitors who attended an open day at the Oxford South Midland depot in Cowley Road in 1981 marking the 100th anniversary of the start of public transport in Oxford.

The City of Oxford and District Tramway Company came into being in 1879 and £42,000 was raised to build a network of tram lines.

The first horse-drawn trams appeared on December 1, 1881, running from the two railway stations – the Great Western and the London & North Western – to Queen Street, High Street and Cowley Road, terminating at Magdalen Road.

New lines were added, one running along Banbury Road to St Margaret’s Road opening in 1882 and another along Woodstock Road to Leckford Road in 1884.

A short southerly line from Carfax to Lake Street opened in 1887, and the Banbury Road route was extended to South Parade in 1898. The whole tram network covered six miles.

Efforts to electrify the system failed to materialise, mainly due to opposition from the colleges, which objected to overhead wires, and Oxford retained horse-drawn trams much longer than other cities.

In fact, Oxford went straight from horse-drawn to motor transport, the first fuel-driven buses appearing on the streets in 1913.