Cardiff Corporation Tramways

Summary
Following its takeover of the Cardiff Tramways Company on the 1st January 1902, the corporation continued to run horse car services until their withdrawal on 17th October 1902. Although it is possible that the men working these services - who were by and large transferred from the CTCo to the corporation - continued to wear the uniforms of their former employer (see link), a more likely scenario is that the corporation issued them with new uniforms in order to mark their new acquisition as a municpal enterprise. Unfortunately, photographic evidence from this period is lacking, so so what actually took place is currently unclear.

Staff working the new electric services (introduced on 1st May 1902) were certainly issued with new uniforms, which were of blue serge and comprised: double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five brass buttons (narrowing from top to bottom) and upright collars; the latter carried an employee number (in individual metal numerals) on the bearer's left-hand side, and system initials - 'C C T' - (in individual metal letters) on the right. Caps were soft-topped with a glossy peak and carried a script-lettering grade badge - either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor' - above which was a small municipal shield badge, almost certainly the same device used on the early-period uniform buttons (see link). All the badges were almost certainly brass to match the buttons. The soft-topped caps were relatively quickly superseded by military-style caps with a tensioned crown (top), certainly by 1904.

In 1906, Cardiff was granted new municipal arms by the College of Heralds; these incorporated a red dragon and new motto, and were quickley supplemented (in 1907) by a grant of goat and hippocamp (mythical seahorse) supporters. At some point after this, the corporation presumably began the process of replacing the old arms, which for the tramways, led to new buttons (see link) and the issuing of new design of cap badge, which consisted of the new arms, within a wreath, all above the full system title: 'Cardiff Corporation Tramways'. The tunics were unaltered (stylistically) but now incorporated leather shoulder reinforcements, as well as epaulettes; the latter were fastened with buttons and bore a small municipal arms badge. The elaborate cap badge lasted right through to the end of the Great War, shortly after which, it was superseded by the same badge that was used on the epaulettes.

Later in the system's life, probably in the 1930s, modern double-breasted jackets were introduced; these had lapels, which more than likely bore one-piece, chrome 'CCT' initial badges, though photographic evidence is as yet inconclusive. It is likely that the cap badge was changed to a brass and red enamel 'Cardiff Corporation Transport' pattern shortly after the enterprise's name was thus changed, i.e. in 1934.

Tramcar crews were also issued with double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars; the latter did not bear badges of any kind. At some point, probably in the late Edwardian era, epaulettes were added; these had a button fastening, and carried the new municipal arms badge, together with a brass employee number (at the outer end).

In the mid-Edwardian era, licences were evidently used for a short period; these were round, possibly enamel, and appear to have borne script initials sloping diagonally from the top left to the bottom right. They were evidently reused in the Great War to confer authority on conductresses, prior to them being issued with uniforms (see below).

In the early years of operation, inspectors wore typical tramway inspector garb, i.e. single-breasted jackets with hidden buttons (or a hook and eye affair), two slit hip pockets and upright collars; the latter bore ‘Inspector’ in embroidered script lettering on the bearer's left-hand side, and system initials (C C T) on the right, again in embroidered script lettering. The jackets (including the slit pockets) were edged in a finer material than the main jacket, with the sleeves also embellished with a chevron of the same material. Headgear took the form of a kepi-style cap with a steeply inclined glossy peak remiscent of military practice; the cap bore a large embroidered cloth badge comprising the municipal shield within a wreath. At some point, probably the same time as tramcar crews' uniforms were changed, the style of uniform was subtly altered, still single-breasted, but now with slit breast pockets rather than hip pockets. Around the same time, the kepi-style cap was superseded by a military-style cap with a tensioned crown (top) and braided peak; this carried an elaborate municipal coat of arms badge that appears to have been an embellised version of the standard badge worn on employee's epaulettes. This elaborate cap badge was also worn on inspectors' epaulettes.

Inspectors were also issued with long overcoat; by the 1920s, these had lapels rather than the high fold-over collars worn by motormen and conductors, and were seemingly also devoid of epaulettes. The lapels bore embroidered insignia, probably 'C.C.T' on the bearer's right-hand side and 'Inspector' on the left. In later years, long gabardine overcoats were probably introduced.

In common with many tramway operators, Cardiff recruited female staff during the Great War to replace male employees lost to the armed forces. Apparently, only two were trained as motorwomen, whilst the rest served as conductresses; by the end of the war however, over 200 women were employed. These ladies initially wore informal attire, the sole badge of office being a round licence, which appears to have been the same pattern that tramcar crews wore in the mid-Edwardian era. Photographs of these ladies in their uniforms are rare, so some of what follows has had to be inferred. An excellent studio portrait has however survived, which shows a lady in a double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunic, which appears to have been virtually identical to those worn by the men (including insignia), those these would presumably have been tailored to fit the female form. Caps were also very similar to those worn by the men, but had a straw top; they carried the same municipal tramways cap badge, though in all likelihood, this was often replaced by a regimental sweetheart badge, a practice which was very common right across UK tramway systems during the Great War. Female employees were also issued with single-breasted tailored coats (possibly with the line of buttons off centre), epaulettes, lapels, and a waist belt with centre button; as was the case with male employees, the collars were devoid of insignia. It is currently unclear whether female staff were employed during the Second World War, though this would seem highly likely.

For a history of Cardiff's tramways, see 'Cardiff's Electric Tramways' by David Gould; Oakwood Press (1974).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Cardiff Corporation Tramways Tram No 11 and crew Grangetown
Inspector and crew with Tramcar No 11 bound for Grangetown - photo undated, but probably taken in 1904. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways tram conductor circa 1902
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor (either Employee No 131 or No 151). His left-hand collar bears his employee number, whilst the right bears system initials - 'C C T'. His cap carries a script-lettering grade badge, surmounted by a shield-shaped badge, almost certainly the same municipal device that was used on the early uniform buttons (see link).


Cardiff Corporation Tramways tram driver 1913
A blow-up of the Wood St staff photo shown below, showing a motorman, who in contrast to all the others depicted, is still wearing the early script-lettering grade and a municipal shield badges.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways cap badges
Standard ‘off the shelf’ script-lettering cap badges of the type used by Cardiff Corporation Tramways from 1902 to around 1908 - brass.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways Tram No 8
A very badly faded photograph which had been rescued - to some extent - by modern technology, but one which shows a crew in new military-style caps, though still with the early cap badge arrangement - photo undated, but probably mid Edwardian. The tramcar (No 8) is on a Clarence Rd service via St Mary's Rd. Both men are wearing double-breasted overcoats, which are seemingly devoid of insignia, save for the a round badge on their left breasts which may be a municipal licence, though this is far from clear. Richard Rosa collection.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways staff at Wood St depot 1913
A group of motormen and conductors, captured for posterity, possibly at Wood St depot. Author's collection.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways tram conductor 1913
A blow-up of the above photo showing one of the conductors. The elaborate tramway department cap badge, leather shoulder reinforcement, epaulettes and epaulette badge are easily discerned.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways cap badge
Cardiff Corporation Tramways cap badge - brass - probably introduced in the late Edwardian era and used through to the end of the Great War.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways epaulette badge
Cardiff Corporation Tramways epaulette badge - brass. This badge was probably introduced within a few years of the grant of the goat and hippocamp supporters to Cardiff in 1907. After the Great War, it also doubled as a cap badge. Author's collection.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways staff hphoto at Wood Street
A group of staff pictured at Wood St depot in 1913. Author's collection.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways tram staff 1913
A blow-up of the above photo showing two of the men wearing greatcoats, the only insignia on the latter being the epaulette badges.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways Band
Cardiff Corporation Tramways band - photo undated, but probably taken shortly before the Great War, as only two of the individuals have medals (presumably from the Boer War). Author's collection.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways Band members
A blow-up of the above photo showing three of the band members. All are wearing regular tramway uniforms, with military-style caps and the large municipal tramways cap badge.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways staff photo pre Great War
A staff shot which was evidentally taken on the same day as the photo above. Author's collection.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways motormen and conductors
A blow-up of the above photo showing Employees 464 (or 404), 241 and 178.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways tram driver 1920s,
A studio portrait of CCT Employee No 562 - almost certainly a motorman - taken in the studios of Louis Thomas of Cardiff and Pontypridd. The photo undated, but was probably taken shortly after the Great War. Author's collection.


Cardiff Corporation Tram driver 1920s
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the uniform and cap badge. By this time, the large municipal cap badge had clearly been superseded by the simpler coat of arms badge that was previously confined to the epaulettes.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways Tram No 24 and crew
Inspector, conductor and motorman with Tramcar No 24 on a Penylan Rd to Market Rd service - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s (No 24 was rebuilt into this form in 1921). Author's collection.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways tram crew 1920s
A blow-up of the above photo showing the tramcar crew, both of whom are wearing the smaller cap badge.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways
Tramways staff posing with Tramcar No 64 on a service to Cathedral Rd - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s. All the individuals in the photo are wearing the smaller cap badge. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways conductor 1940s
A CCT conductor issues a ticket on a 'Pay as you Enter' tram - photo undated, but certainly late in the system's life (probably 1940s). He is clearly wearing a standard Cardiff Corporation Transport brass and red enamel cap badge. Source unknown.


Cardiff Corporation Transport cap badge brass
Cardiff Corporation Transport cap badge - brass and red enamel. Probably issued from the mid-to-late 1930s through to the 1950s. Author's collection.



Cardiff Corporation transport cap badge
Cardiff Corporation Transport cap badge - brass and red enamel. it is unclear whether this was in use before the demise of the trams, though it may well have been. Author's collection.


Cardiff Corporation Transport collar badge
Cardiff Corporation Transport collar initials badge - chrome. Athor's collection.


Senior staff
Cardiff Corporation Tramways inspector circa 1904
A blow-up of the circa 1904 photo of Tramcar No 11 above, showing the inspector in his military-style kepi topped with a pom pom. His left-hand collar bears his grade ('Inspector'), whilst the right bears system initials ('C C T'), all in embroidered lettering. His cap badge is probably embroidered cloth, and more than likely comprised the Cardiff municipal shield within a wreath.


CardiffCT-TramwaysBandINSP
A blow-up of the photo taken at the same time as the Tramways Band photo above, showing an inspector. His cap appears to bear the standard, municipal tramways cap badge, though this may well have been deliberately swapped so that he had the same cap badge as the other members of the band (see above).


Cardiff Corporation Tramways Inspector with RAMC and Devonshire regiment Great War soldiers
Cardiff Corporation Tramways inspector and two Great War soldiers, more than likely his sons. The man on the left is a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps, and the one on the right, possibly the Devonshire Regiment. Author's collection.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways Inspector
Blow-up of the above photo showing details of the inspector's uniform and cap badge. The cap and epaulette badges are similar to, though noticably more elaborate than the brass coat of arms badge that was worn on the epaulettes of tramcar crews.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways Inspector
A blow-up of the photo above of Tramcar No 24, taken in the 1920s, showing the inspector.


Female staff
Cardiff Corporation Tramways, conductress, driver
Two CCT Great War conductresses and four other tramcar crew pose for what looks to be a semi-official shot (perhaps a newspaper?) on the platform of Tramcar 36 - photo undated, though it seems a reasonable possibility that it was taken to commemorate the first service worked by conductresses. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways Great War conductresses
Another shot of Tramcar No 36 and what would appear to be the same two ladies, so presumably taken on the same day as the photograph above. Both are wearing completely informal attire, the only indicator of their official capacity being the round licences on their coat lapels, which appear to be the same as those used in the mid-Edwardian era. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways Great War employee No 55
CCT Great War employee (No 55), who is wearing a 'lancer-style' tunic similar to those worn by her male colleagues, though in all probability it would have been tailored specifically for female staff. With thanks to the Geoff Caulton collection.


Cardiff Corporation Tramways motorwoman
One of Cardiff's two Great War motorwomen at the controls of a somewhat lop-sided and rather battered Tramcar No 69. She is wearing a small cap badge, which is more than likely a regimental sweetheart badge (possibly a 16th 'City of Cardiff' Battalion badge - see below). With grateful thanks to the Science and Society Picture Library (see link).


16th 'City of Cardiff' Battalion badge
16th 'City of Cardiff' Battalion badge. During the Great War, the wearing of regimental cap badges was common practice amongst tramway staff the length and breadth of the UK, to show support loved ones serving in the armed forces. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.