William Henry Gaunt (born in Bradford, Yorkshire, 13 January 1874 – 31 October 1951)[1] was an English transport engineer who began his working life developing and building gas-powered trams. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School before joining the Ashbury Company in Manchester as an apprentice. The works at Ashbury supplied the trams for Britain’s first gas-powered tramway, the Blackpool, St Annes and Lytham tramway, operated by the British Gas Traction CompanyThe British Gas Traction Company was incorporated on 13 July 1896 to operate gas-powered trams, which it worked initially on the Blackpool, St. Annes and Lytham tramway, the first such tramway in Britain. . Gaunt transferred to the tramway company in 1896, and then became manager of a similar gas-powered scheme at Trafford Park in 1896. Following the financial collapse of the Gas Traction Company in 1899 Gaunt was appointed manager of Trafford Park’s gas and electric tramways, a position he held until 1905, when the operation of the electric line was taken over by the corporations of Manchester and Salford.[2]

Gaunt then moved south to manage the world’s first garden city, at Letchworth.[2] During the First World War he worked for the Coal Mines Department of the Board of Trade as a distribution superintendent[1] in charge of coal, gas, and electricity. He subsequently joined J. Lyons & Co. as a transport manager,[2] and eventually rose to become a director of the company. In 1940 Gaunt became transport adviser to the Ministry of Food.[1]

Gaunt married Kate (neé Brooks Kearsley) in 1900. The couple had no children, and she died in 1941.[1] He was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a Vice-President of the Institute of Transport. He was awarded a C.B.E. in 1938.[2]



Gray, Ted. Trafford Park Tramways, 1897–1946. Northern Publishing Service, 1996.
Staff writer. “GAUNT, Walter Henry.” Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2008, Online, Oxford University Press, http://www.ukwhoswho.com/view/article/oupww/whowaswho/U237574.