19th century tram tickets discovered in dental centre build

02 August 2022
2 min read
Left to right: Billy Sinclair upon discovering the tram tickets during the construction of SureSmile clinic and Tram ticket - Culture Perth and Kinross
Left to right: Billy Sinclair upon discovering the tram tickets during the construction of SureSmile clinic and Tram ticket - Culture Perth and Kinross

Historical tram tickets dating back to the 19th century have been found during the construction of a new dental care facility in Perth. 

Electrical contractor, Billy Sinclair, also found an Australian bank receipt during his renovations for the UK’s first SureSmile Studio which is due to open this August. 

The three-storey building is being redeveloped as part of a £1 million project by Clyde Munro Dental Group in tandem with $5 billion multi-national Dentsply Sirona. 

The discovery came whilst Billy was running a cable down the inside of a wall cavity in one of the upstairs rooms of the B-listed building which was home to the British Linen Bank in the 19th century. 

Following the remarkable find, the tickets have since been donated to a local museum. 

Contractor Billy was astonished by his discovery. He said, “I was having difficulty running a cable down inside a wall cavity in one of the rooms upstairs. 

“When I cut out a hole, I found out why. It was being jammed by three rolls of tram tickets. One was very badly damaged and really tatty, but the other two were pretty much as new. 

“No one knows why they would have been put there in the first place, it’s a bit of a mystery. We believe this part of the building was a restaurant at one time, but that wouldn’t explain why so many penny tram tickets were hidden away. 

“It wasn’t so surprising to find a faded and undated receipt from the Anglo-Australian Bank given that the building was originally built for the British Linen Bank.” 

The 1d Service Perth and District Tramways tickets were for the route between the station entrance and Cherrybank, which is a mile southwest of the town centre. 

The Tramways company was founded in the era of horse-drawn carts and it is believed around 6,000 passengers boarded the trams within the first week. The business was bought by the local council in 1903 at a cost of £21,800. 

Within two years, the horses were replaced by five miles of electrified lines, however, it didn’t prove to be a sound investment as by 1925, debts had soared to £30,000 as cars and buses provided intense competition. The final tram ran in 1929 and the tramlines to a number of the terminals in and around Perth were ripped-up within the year. 

Fiona Wood, chief operations officer for Clyde Munro Dental Group said, "This is truly a unique and fascinating find. It is testament to the skill of local tradesman Billy to have preserved the artefacts as much as possible while carrying out his renovations.  

“We have always ensured our practices remain part of the communities they reside in, and the SureSmile Studio will be no different. This discovery of course gives it an added edge of history and value and we cannot wait to open the studio doors in the coming months to provide patients with the latest invisible teeth straightening treatments. 

“We hope the renovations of this wonderful building continue to spring up further time capsules.”