Whitcombe, Harold Arthur 1883 - 1943


(1883-1943) Doctor, Photographer

Dr Harold Arthur Whitcombe (1883-1943) was a medical doctor whose hobby was studying the history of street tramways, especially the steam tram. He wrote the first academic paper on the history of the steam tram ‘History of the Steam Tram’, Institution of Locomotive Engineers Paper No 367, read before the Institution on 6 January 1937. The paper was later published for a more general audience as 'History of the Steam Tram (edited, with an introduction, by Charles E Lee)', Locomotion Papers Number Nine, Oakwood Press, South Godstone, 1954. Whitcombe was a prolific photographer of trams and compiled many loose-leaf album of the prints, ultimately numbering twenty albums. Whitcombe was one of a very small number of enthusiasts who in the 1920s and 1930s travelled the UK and abroad to study and photograph tram systems. Sometimes two or three of them would travel together, taking very similar photos of the same subjects. They also shared their prints with each other and Whitcombe’s albums contain many prints taken by others. He died in 1943.