In order to provide a home and power for the electrified tramway, Hoeford depot was built in 1904 to accommodate the new electric trams and provide power for the network. The power station was not only used for the operation of trams, but was also used to provide electricity to Gosport and Alverstoke.
Once the trams had ceased running in 1929, the power station still generated domestic electricity for the Gosport area. The supply of domestic power lasted until 1935 when electricity supply for Gosport was provided from Portsmouth.
During the 1930s, the Provincial fleet expanded rapidly with new AEC buses and second-hand purchases from neighbouring Southdown and Hants & Dorset bus companies in 1934 and 1935 respectively.
As a consequence of the fleet’s expansion, the old power station buildings were converted into a maintenance area for the growing bus fleet. The final chapter in the history of Hoeford power station was the demolition of the 160ft chimney on 16 June 1940. Described in a local newspaper as a landmark, the chimney was demolished when further alterations to the depot took place.
In 1940, Provincial started work on building a new garage adjoining the western flank of the original depot. This enabled more of the bus fleet to be housed undercover as more new buses had been purchased in the late 1930s.
During wartime, the depot remained rather empty, because most of the buses were parked overnight throughout the area to avoid vehicle losses in the event of the garage being bombed by the Luftwaffe. However, the depot remained unscathed during the war and major disruption to service was avoided.
Hoeford’s darkest hour, however, occurred in June 1957 when a fire swept through the original tram sheds which made up the eastern wing of the depot. All but two of the vehicles that were parked in this part of the building were completely lost.
In total eight buses were severely damaged or destroyed, though the chassis of some of these vehicles were subsequently overhauled and returned to service. In place of the former east wing, a new garage was built on the site and was completed in March 1959. .
In 1970 Provincial became a National Bus Company subsidiary when the industry was controlled differently through legislation. The resultant influx of new rear-engined single deckers meant that maintenance was increasingly changing. Consequently, in October 1976, a new maintenance facility was completed on the site of the east wing. After the new maintenance building was completed, a new bus wash and fuelling bay was added to the depot as well as new staff facilities which were opened in 1977.
Today, the depot is still an important centre for the maintenance of the First Hampshire & Dorset fleet. Parts of the original 1904 structure still stand and are used in the day to day operation of buses over one hundred years after its completion.