Edinburgh Corporation Tramways

Summary
After taking over the operation of its system from the lessee (Edinburgh and District Tramways Company) in 1919, the corporation embarked upon the not insignificant task of rebranding the enterprise, including of course, staff uniforms and insignia. For motormen, the corporation merely continued the uniform policy of its predecessor, only changing those items that were company speciific, namely, the buttons and the cap badge. Motormen therefore continued to wear double-breasted, 'lancer'-style tunics with two rows of five nickel buttons (bearing the corporation arms - see link) and upright collars; the latter carried an employee number in individual nickel numerals on both sides. Caps were in the military style and bore a script-lettering grade badge - 'Driver' - above which was worn a new nickel cap badge comprising the arms of Edinburgh above the city motto (in a ribbon), all surmounted by a curved banner inlaid with blue enamel, containing the word: 'TRAMWAYS'. In contrast to the approach outlined above, conductors' uniforms were switched to a completely different style, namely: single-breasted jackets with five buttons, two breast pockets (with button closures) and upright collars; the latter again bore employee numbers on both sides. For reasons now lost in the mists of time, the corporation chose to issue conductors with rather old-fashioned kepi-style caps, which appear to have been relatively quickly superseded by the same style of military cap worn by motormen; the caps bore an off-the-shelf, script-lettering grade badge - 'Conductor' - above which was worn the new municipal cap badge.

The uniforms were completely redesigned in the late 1920s, with jackets, trousers and caps all now piped in red, which made for a very smart appearance against the blue of the main body. The corporation however continued its policy of issuing different styles of jacket to motormen and conductors; the former were issued with double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons, two waist pockets and lapels, whilst the latter were issued with single-breasted jackets with four buttons, two breast pockets (with button closures) and lapels. The upper lapels (collars) bore an employee number on the left-hand side and individual system initials - 'E C T' - on the right-hand side, sometimes worn in line with the collar, sometimes at right-angles to it. The buttons and insignia were in nickel, though a switch was no doubt made to chrome in the 1930s or 1940s. Photographs show that the jackets sometimes bore epaulettes (with button closure, but devoid of insignia), and sometimes not, suggesting that the styles changed subtly over the decades. Caps were in the military style and were also piped, carrying the same cap badges as previously.

Tramcar staff were also issued with double-breasted overcoats - these again appeared to have differed slightly between motormen and conductors, the former having two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars, the latter having two rows of four buttons and lapels. Both styles bore epaulettes (with button closures), again devoid of insignia. At the same time that uniforms were changed to the new smarter piped style (late 1920s), overcoats were also changed; these were now double-breasted with two rows of four buttons, lapels and epaulettes. The latter were as usual devoid of insignia, whereas the collars now bore 'E C T' initials on the bearer's right-hand side and an employee number (probably) on the left-hand side.

Edinburgh also made use of auxiliary conductors, usually Transport Department staff pressed into service, particularly around the time of World War II - armbands were worn to show that they were indeed actin in an official capacity, and both blue serge (matching the uniforms) and white linen/canvas examples have survived (see below).

Edinburgh also employed Parcels Boys and Points Boys. Both grades wore single-breasted jackets identical to those worn by conductors, initially with kepi-style caps and later on (probably from the mid 1930s), military-style caps. The caps bore nickel, script-lettering grade badges - 'Points Boy' or 'Parcels' - the former being a two-piece rather than a one-piece badge. In the case of Points Boys, the standard municipal cap badge was worn above the script-lettering grade badge; however, Parcels Boys seem to have made do without, until around the 1930s, and possibly even later. Points Boys, who stood outside in all weathers, were issued with heavy-duty double-breasted overcoats, whilst Parcels Boys tended to wear a lighter-weight variety similar to tramcar staff. The sole surviving shot of a Pointsman (not boy) - taken in 1922 - shows the individual wearing a single-breasted jacket with three hip/waist level pockets (with flaps), four buttons and lapels; other than the buttons, the jacket appears to have been devoid of insignia. Caps were in the military style and carried a script-lettering grade badge - 'Pointsman' - along with the standard municipal cap badge.

Photographs of regulators indicate that they may have initially worn single-breasted jackets edged in a finer material than the main jacket, with hidden buttons (or a hook and eye affair) and upright collars; the latter probably bore the grade - ''Regulator' - in embroidered script lettering. Caps were initially in the kepi style with a pom pom and piping, and were almost identical to those worn by senior staff in company days (see link); they carried the standard corporation cap badge, but without a grade badge. Jackets were later changed - probably in the 1930s - to a single-breasted design with four buttons and lapels; the latter continued to carry the grade in embroidered script lettering. The jackets were probably changed one final time to a double-breasted design just before or shortly after, the Second World War.

Inspectors probably wore the same jackets as regulators initially, though there is some evidence to suggest that a switch was quickly made to double breasted jackets with two rows of three buttons and lapels; curiously, the latter appear to have been left plain, i.e. without a grade badge. Caps were initially in the kepi style with a pom pom on top, and like regulators, simply carried the standard 'Tramways' cap badge; the kepi-style caps were superseded by military style caps sometime in the mid-to-late 1920s. Inspectors were also issued with double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of four buttons and lapels; the collars were edged in a lighter coloured material than the main garment, and also bore lettering, more than likely the grade - 'Inspector' - probably embroidered.

The corporation inherited a significant number of conductresses from the E&DTCo, seemingly dispensing with their services with alacrity, so they simply continued to wear their company attire, even down to their cap badges. The corporation also employed a significant number of ladies during the Second World War, appointing its first conductresses in May 1941 and having over 600 just one year later! The ladies were issued with tailored, piped, single-breasted jackets with four buttons, two breast pockets (with button closures) and lapels; the collars bore 'E C T' initials on both sides. A matching skirt was also provided, along with a baggy peaked cap which bore the usual municipal cap badge, though seemingly without a script-lettering grade badge.

For a detailed history of Edinburgh Corporation Tramways, see: 'Edinburgh's Transport - Volume 2, The Corporation Years' by D L G Hunter; Adam Gordon (1999).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Edinburgh Corporation Tramways 265 and crew
An interesting photo of a rather battered-looking cable tram (No 205), along with a motorman (in corporation uniform) and conductress (in Edinburgh & District Tramways Co uniform) - photo undated, but probably taken in late 1919 or early 1920.


Edinburgh Corporation tram driver 301
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the motorman (No 301); motormen were always referred to as 'drivers' in Edinburgh.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways motorman 1920
Studio portrait of an ECT motorman (No 455) - photo undated, but probably taken around the time of municipalisation, i.e. 1919 or 1920.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways cap badge
Edinburgh Corporation Tramways cap badge - nickel and blue enamel.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways script-lettering cap badges
Script-lettering grade badges of the type used by Edinburgh - nickel.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Tram No 166 and crew
Looking for all the world like an Edwardian photograph - probably due to the rather old-fashioned kepi-style cap worn by the conductor - but one which was actually taken after the corporation take-over and very probably in early summer 1921, given that a poster inside the vehicle appears to announce Census Day, which was the 19th June that year. The driver and conductor (No 769) are pictured at the Abbeyhill Terminus (Norton Place) in front of Cable Tram No 166, with a Number 5 service to Morningside Station. It is unclear why the corporation adopted the curious practice of issuing drivers with military-style caps but conductors with rather anachronistic kepis; one wonders what the conductors thought of this, given that they had worn more modern military-style caps in the latter years of the company (see link). With thanks to Alan Brotchie for the background information.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Tram No 148 at Port Seton 1923
Two senior staff (regulators or inspectors), conductor and motorman pose with Tramcar No 148 on one of the first through services to Port Seton - 23rd June 1923. Photo by E O Catford.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways conductor on Tram No 148 Port Seton
A blow-up of the above photograph, showing the conductor in single-breasted jacket, but wearing a military-style cap rather than the old-fashioned kepis with which they were initially issued.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways tram 272 and crew
Motorman and conductor with Tramcar No 272 on a service to Piershill - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid 1920s. Note the differing style of overcoat.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways driver
Motorman in a new, much smarter style of piped, double-breasted jacket on the platform of newly built Tramcar No 180 - 1932. Photo by E O Catford.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways conductors 1938
An excellent study of two conductors cashing in their takings at Tollcross Depot - circa 1938. The single-breasted jackets bear epaulettes but no badges. The collar on the subject nearest the camera bears an employee number (661), whereas that of his colleague bears the more usual 'E C T' initials (here mounted transverse to the collar). Photo by E O Catford.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramwayas Tram driver
Edinburgh Corporation Tramways motorman - July 1949. His collar initials are mounted in line with the collar rather than at right-angles to it.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways crew, Andrew Birrell
Motorman James Kay and Conductor Andrew Birrell pose for the camera with Edinburgh's last tram, No 272, on the evening of 16th of November 1956. The smartness of the piped uniforms, even at this juncture, is testamount to civic pride. Author's collection - with thanks to Alan Brotchie for the background information.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways driver
Edinburgh motorman (No 256) - photo taken during the last week of tram services, November 1956. The system initials (right-hand collar) and employee number (left-hand collar) are easily made out. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways conductor
An unusual shot of an Edinburgh conductor, taken on the last evening of operation, 16th November 1956. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.


Edinburgh Corporation Transport armbands
World War II Auxiliary Conductor armbands - top serge, bottom linen or canvas



Not strictly speaking a uniform item, but a Glengarry cap badge worn by members of the Edinburgh Tramways Pipe Band - brass. With thanks to David Fraser for this information.


Parcels Boys and Points Boys/Men
Edinburgh-staff-L345INVRED
Two youthful-looking denizens of the Parcels Department - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s. The kepi-style cap bears a script-lettering grade badge - 'Parcels' rather than 'Parcels Boy' - and without the standard 'Tramways Dept' cap badge.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Parcels cap badge
Script-lettering grade badge - nickel - of the type worn by Edinburgh staff. Author's collection.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Parcels Staff
A staff photo taken outside the ECT Parcels Office - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1930s. Almost all those present are young boys, all in kepi-style caps carrying the standard script-lettering 'Parcels' cap badge.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Parcels Boy
Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Parcels Boy - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1940s or 1950s. Despite the manual nature of the work, staff were evidentally expected to be smartly turned out. Photo by E O Catford.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Points Boy
Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Points Boy poses for the camera with his control box - photo undated, but probably 1920s or 1930s. He is wearing the standard cap badge, along with a two-part 'Points Boy' grade badge. Photo by E O Catford.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Points Boy
Another Points Boy at his control box, this time without grade badge and wearing an overcoat - photo undated, but probably 1920s or 1930s. Photo by E O Catford.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Points Boy
Another fine study of a rather disgruntled Points Boy at the foot of Frederick St - photo undated, but again, probably 1920s or 1930s. The reason for his disenchantment may have been boredom, as he would only have had to operate his lever when a No 24 service came along, approximately 1 in 30 cars (with thanks to Alan Brotchie for this information). Photo by E O Catford.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Pointsman and tram driver
A rare shot of an Edinburgh 'Pointsman' aboard newly electrified No 154 (a former cable tram) - photo taken in 1922.


Senior staff
Edinburgh Corporation Tramways inspectors
A blow-up of the Port Seton photograph above (taken in 1923) showing the two senior staff; the man behind is possibly a regulator, whilst the man in the foreground may be an inspector. Both men appear to be wearing piped kepi-style caps virtually identical to those worn by senior staff working for the E&DTCo, though clearly bearing the new corporation cap badge. The jackets may reflect a difference in the grades, though this is merely speculation.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways inspectors 1924
Two senior staff, in all probability inspectors, aboard Tramcar No 209 as it ascends the Mound on what would appear to be a trial run, dating the photograph to June 1924. Both men are wearing kepi-style caps with pom poms on top, along with the standard 'Tramways' cap badge. The greatcoat collars are edged in material of a contrasting colour to the main garment, and these also bear lettering of some description, most probably the grade, i.e. 'Inspector'. The man seated in the interior is the General Manager, R Stuart Pilcher.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways inspector and trmaway crew
The individual in the middle is probably an inspector - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1950s. Unlike regulators, inspectors appear to have had no badge marking them as such, merely wearing the standard municipal cap badge.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways regulator
Edinburgh Corporation Tramways regulator, book in hand, stands next to Tramcar No 362 at Haymarket with a service bound for Ardmillan Terrace. Photo by Richard Wiseman.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Inspector
A more senior grade - regulator (?) - points iron in hand, supervising Tramcar No 231 (out of shot) at Liberton terminus - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1950s.


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways regulator
A regulator with Tramcar No 218 at Granton Rd Station - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1950s.


Edin H374CROP
A couple of senior staff assist passengers boarding Tramcar No 148 at the top of Leith Street - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1950s.


Female staff
Edinburgh Corproation tramways conductress
Blow-up of the photograph of Cable Tram No 205 above showing the conductress. Edinburgh Corporation apparently dispensed with their services relatively quickly after their take-over of the E&DTCo, so it would seem that they simply continued to wear their ex-company uniforms, including the prominent cap badges (see link).


Edinburgh Corporation Tramways conductress
The only shot that has so far come to my attention of a post-Great War Edinburgh Corporation Tramways conductress, turning the trolley of Car No 148 at Liberton terminus - photo undated, but definitely taken between 1952 and 1956. Not much to go on I'm afraid!



Edinburgh Corporation Tramways World War 2 conductresses
Four ECT conductresses (from a larger photograph of 12 individuals) outside Central Garage in Annandale Street - photo undated, though this is very likely a shot taken to mark the first intake of 12 ladies in May 1941. Those depicted are probably bus conductresses, though in all likelihood tram conductresses wore identical uniforms.