Glasgow Corporation Tramways
Glasgow Corporation began taking over of the lines and services of the Glasgow Tramways and Omnibus Company in 1894, though bizarrely not the trams themselves. The corporation continued to run horse-drawn services until the last of these was displaced on 14th April 1902. Staff working these services were issued with smart, single-breasted jackets with five buttons - presumably of the standard Glasgow Corporation Tramways pattern (see link) - and lapels; a single button was also placed on the left-hand breast of the jackets, expressly for a municipal licence, which was suspended on a leather strap. The uniforms were Lincoln green with red piping, and were completely devoid of insignia, though odd photos show some individuals wearing a small shield-shaped badge on the right arm of their tunics, the purpose of which is currently unknown. Caps were in the kepi style with a stiff glossy peak, and bore script-lettering cap badges, either ‘Driver’ or ‘Conductor’, presumably in brass to match the buttons; they also bore a black oakleaf band and a chin strap with small buttons on either side.
Conductors were also issued with three-quarter-length, single-breasted overcoats with five buttons and lapels, whilst drivers were issued with long double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of six buttons and high fold-over collars; both garments were devoid of insignia. Both drivers and conductors wore municipal licences: black lettering on white enamel for drivers, and black lettering on yellow enamel for conductors; these existed in various classes (normal, which was presumably 1st class, and 2nd class are known)
The corporations first electric service was introduced in 1898, and whilst it is currently unclear what uniforms staff wore, they were more than likely identical to that issued to crews working the horse-drawn services, inclusive of kepi-style caps. The latter were replaced around 1905/6 by military-style caps with a tensioned crown (top) and a glossy peak. A photograph has survived (see below) of a crew wearing the new caps, but without a cap badge, suggesting that the caps may have been delivered (and issued) ahead of the new cap badges. The latter were nickel and blue enamel, and comprised: an employee number, the Glasgow coat of arms and the departmental title (‘Corporation Tramways’). These badges remained in use up until the end of the GCT (1973), but bore the title ‘Glasgow Transport’ from 1929 onwards (new issues only), reflecting the incorporation of the buses and the subway into a combined operation. Caps also bore a chin strap affixed with small gilt buttons on either side. At some point, probably in the mid-Edwardian era, and shortly after the introduction of military-style caps, the single-breasted jackets were superseded by a new double-breasted style with two rows of four buttons and lapels; again, no insignia, other than long-service badges were carried. Staff working the electric services appear not to have carried licences
The uniforms were changed once again in the late Edwardian era to three-quarter length single-breasted jackets/coats. These were of high quality, with five buttons, cuff embellishments, a vertical slit pocket (on the bearer's left-hand side) and lapels; the latter bore no badges or insignia.
During the inter-war years, tramwaymen's jackets were re-styled to a more modern, shorter cut, double-breasted with red piping; apart from minor alterations and changes in material, this style was retained until the end of operations. Lightweight dust jackets and summer jackets were also issued. Motormen's and conductors’ cap bands were also changed to lined black wool.
In the first decade of operation, inspectors wore elaborate double-breasted frock-style coats with two rows of four black buttons (material covered), with lapels; the latter bore 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering. The coats were edged in fine material, and bore elaborate braiding on both the cuffs and on each side of the body. Kepi-style caps were worn, and these were adorned with a large white metal oval cap badge bearing the inscription 'INSPECTOR' above the Glasgow coat of arms (see below for an example). Timekeepers, who were initially not as senior as inspectors, wore a similar badge (but with the inscription 'TIMEKEEPER'), though none appear to have survived.
Although inspectors retained the kepi-style cap until after the Great War, in late 1905 or early 1906, the jackets were altered to a less elaborate though very similiar design, but without the 'Inspecotr' on the lapels. The large oval cap badge was also replaced, by a brass/gilt wreath badge containing a staff number (see below for an example). These continued to be used right through into the Greater Glasgow Passenger Transport Executive era. Depot inspectors were issued with an identical pattern cap badge, but in nickel and later in chrome.
The Chief Inspector wore a single-breasted tunic with hidden buttons (possibly a hook and eye affair) and braided epaulettes, which if anything was even more elaborate than those issued to the inspectors (see below). He also wore an elaborate kepi-style cap, but with a simple Glasgow coat of arms cap badge, possibly in gilded brass.
During the Great War, and in common with many other tramway operators, the GCT employed significant numbers of female staff, predominantly conductresses. The first two conductresses were GCT office staff and were issued with a blue skirt, single-breasted green tunic, and a peaked cap, both of which had gold piping. The regular conductress recruits were only issued with a jacket and cap (often a male cap as the manufacturer could not keep up the supply of gold trim caps). By August 1915 a uniform skirt was issued featuring the Black Watch tartan, and the cap was replaced by a green, straw, wide-brim bonnet, again later changed to a soft peaked cap. The standard cap badge was used on all hats.
During World War II, conductresses were once again recruited, and were issued with the small chrome and green enamel cap badge which the "clippies" would continue to wear right up until the end of the GCT.
I am indebted to Brain McGarrigle and the late Kenny Delman for much of the above information.
Horse tram drivers and conductors
An evocative shot of horse tramway staff at Dalhousie depot, taken in 1899.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the kepi-style caps and script-lettering grade badges, 'Driver' and 'Conductor. Each man also has an enamel licence hanging from a specially sewn button on his left breast: the driver's being black lettering on white enamel, and the conductor's black lettering on yellow enamel (see below).
Off-the-shelf script-lettering cap badges, as worn by GCT tramcar staff up until around 1906 - brass.
Glasgow Corporation horse tram 'Driver' licences, 1st and 2nd Class - white enamel with black lettering. With thanks to the late Kenny Delman.
Glasgow Corporation horse tram 'Conductor' licence - yellow enamel with black lettering. With thanks to the late Kenny Delman.
Another official shot of horse tramway staff, again at Dalhousie Depot, and in 1899. All the individuals wearing greatcoats are drivers, which suggests that only this grade was issued with them, presumably due to their exposure to the harsh Glaswegian weather.
A blow-up of the depot photo above, showing a conductor; he is wearing a shield-shaped badge on his right jacket sleeve, which is also evident on the sleeve of an inspector in one of photographs depicted below.
Another blow-up of the above photo showing one of the drivers in his smart greatcoat.
A line up of conductors and drivers at an unknown depot - photo undated, but certainly taken between 1898 and 1902. The drivers are wearing greatcoats, whilst the conductors all have three-quarter-length, single-breasted overcoats.
A blow-up of the above photo, clearly showing the difference in the cut and length of the respective coats. The individual on the left looks like he wasn't a man to brook much messing around!
Motormen and conductors
The crew of Tramcar 619 - the date on the original card is the 9th August 1906, which, given that it is a commercial card, is that latest date it could have been taken. Both men are wearing jackets identical to those worn by staff working the horsecar services, but with the kepi-style cap now replaced by a more modern military style, though seemingly badge-less when the photo was taken. Photo courtesy of Brian McGarrigle.
The crew of Tramcar No 100, bound for Mount Florida, pose for the cameraman - photo undated, but probably mid-to-late Edwardian. The jackets are now double-breasted, and the new prominent cap badges are clearly seen. Both men are wearing long-service badges on their left breasts - rather than the right-hand side, which later became the standard - the conductor 5 years, the motorman 10 years, the latter meaning that the photo was taken at the very earliest in 1905.
A fine studio portrait of a GCT tramwayman (Employee No 2484), more than likely a motorman - photo undated, but probably mid-Edwardian. Author's collection.
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the uniform insignia, including the new cap badge and five-years long service badge (on his right breast). The medals are presumably of Boer War origin.
Glasgow Corporation Tramways motorman's/conductor’s cap badge (issued from 1905/6 to 1929) - nickel and blue enamel.
A group of conductors and motormen assembled at an unknown depot - photo undated, but almost certainly taken between 1906 and 1910. All the men are wearing the new design of three-quarter length, double-breasted jackets introduced around 1906. Author's collection.
A blow-up of the above photo showing four of the men, two of whom are wearing '10-years long service' badges, meaning that the photo could have been taken no earlier than 1905. Both the man on the left and the man on the right are wearing a round badge of unknown pattern on their right-hand jacket arms
An unusual studio photograph of 18 GCT staff (a mixture of motormen, conductors and inspectors). It is probably the Pocket Testament League, which was formed to encourage people to read the bible every day, and to carry a pocket testament with them (almost certainly the book that each man is holding). Five of the men are wearing 15-years long service badges, suggesting that the photo was taken in 1910 or 1911, but certainly not later than 1915. I am indebted to Alan Brotchie and Brian Longworth for the background information.
A blow-up of the above photo showing one of the tramcar staff (Employee No 424); he is wearing the new single-breasted, three-quarter-length jacket/coat which appears to have been introduced around 1910. The uniforms are clearly of a very high quality, with decorative embellishment on the cuffs.
A group of GCT tramwaymen assembled for the photographer at an unknown depot - photo undated, but probably taken shortly before the Great War. Curiously, all are relatively young, with just a single 'five years long service' badge between them. Left to right, back row: unknown, unknown, No 1554, No 2378, No 1348, No 2934, No 961; front row, unknown, No 2999. Author's collection.
A blow-up of the above photo showing Employees Nos 2934, 961 and 2999.
GCT motorman, resplendent in large overcoat; photo taken circa 1914. With thanks to Brian McGarrigle.
Another studio portrait of a GCT conductor (Employee No 3167) - photo undated, but probably taken around the time of the Great War. Author's collection.
A staff photo taken on the forecourt of Govan depot - photo undated, but from the style of the non-uniform hats, the war medals and lack of moustaches, probably taken in the mid-1920s. All the uniformed staff are motormen and conductors (there are no inspectors) and of relatively short service, judging by the long-service badges, possibly reflecting the heavy toll of the Great War.
Glasgow Corporation Transport cap badge (new issues from 1929 onwards) - nickel and blue enamel.
Replacement cap badge issued to male traffic staff from 1960 onwards, but only to staff who had either lost their existing badge or whose badge was damaged beyond repair. With thanks to Brian McGarrigle for this information.
Strap buckle from a conductor's cash bag - brass.
A formal studio portrait of GCT inspectors and the Chief Inspector (seated at the desk), taken in 1905.
A blow-up of the above photograph showing detail of the elaborate uniforms, as well as the prominent oval cap badge (see below for an example).
GCT Inspector's cap badge - used until around 1905/6 - nickel. With thanks to Brian McGarrigle.
Two inspectors, a conductor and a driver pose with a tram car in 1900. Note the shield-shaped badge on the arm of the left-most inspector. With thanks to the Scottish Tramway and Transport Society.
A GCT inspector, taken from the Pocket Testament League photo shown above - circa 1910. The new jackets and cap badges (see below) were probably introduced around 1906.
GCT Inspector’s cap badge (issued from 1905/6 onwards) - gilded brass.
GCT Depot Inspector’s cap badge - nickel.
GCT Depot Inspector’s cap badge - chrome
Glasgow Corporation Tramways Inspector No 47 - photo undated, but possibly taken in the last week of the trams in 1962. Photo courtesy of Stephen Howarth.
Blow-up of the inspectors' group photo above, showing the Chief Inspector. He is wearing a Glasgow 'coat of arms' badge on his cap (see below for an example).
Glasgow 'coat of arms' badge, as worn by the Chief Inspector on his cap in 'Tramways Dept' days, and from 1946 onwards, as an epaulette badge by Chief Motor Inspectors - gilded brass.
A lovely studio portrait of GCT driver No 1258, clearly showing the single-breasted tunic and floppy cap with badge. The text reveals that she was named 'Lill' and that she was "still at the driving" and that "this week finishes my 30 days probation". Author's Collection.
Another studio portrait of a GCT female employee (No 1201), again very probably a driver. The rear of the card states: "4th July 1918. With love from Cathie". Author's Collection.
Studio portrait of a GCT female employee (No 1954), again probably a driver - photo undated, but certainly taken during the Great War. Rather than the baggy cap seen in the preceding two studio portraits, this lady is wearing a stylish straw bonnet (issued from 1915 onwards). Author's collection.
Motorman (Employee No 571) and conductress pictured with Tramcar No 845 on a Hyndland's service (probably at Riddrie) - photo undated, but probably taken during or shortly after the Great War. Author's collection.
Motorowoman at the controls of Tramcar No 914, which is standing in Great Western Rd next to Botanic Gardens. The photo probably depicts the first motorwoman - apparently called 'motoresses' in Glasgow - so was either taken in late 1915 during training, or early 1916 when she would have formally passed out; thanks to Brian Longworth for this information. Author's collection.
A group of GCT female employees pose during the Great War. Note the inspector with double-breasted three-quarter-length coat, later-period cap badge and 20-year long service badge (on his right breast). With thanks to Brian McGarrigle.
World War II conductress, ubiquitously known as ‘clippies’. The cap badge was specifically for female employees (see below for an example). With thanks to the Scottish Tramway and Transport Society.
GCT conductress cap badge (WWII). Author's Collection.
GCT publicity photo - 1941. The lady in question was apparently a member of the secretarial staff rather than a bone fide 'clippie'! Thanks to Brian McGarrigle for this information. Photo courtesy of Alan Brotchie.
A blow-up of the above photo, which clearly shows that the lady in question is wearing a male 30-Year GCT Long Service badge, which was apparently all they had to hand - thanks to Brian McGarrigle for this information!
GCT Long Service Badges
The GCT was certainly in a class of its own when it came to recognising the longevity of staff service. Long service badges were first issued in 1900 (following a competition to select a suitable design) to recognise 5 years' continuous service from the founding of the municipal system (in 1894). Further badges were eventually produced to mark each subsequent 5-year anniversary (up to 40 years service). It seems more than likely that it was intended to add a '5-year' bar for each further five years of service, but this was only done for the 10 years' service badge, following which completely new designs were introduced (once again involving competitions). Long service badges were of course also issued to uniformed staff who had joined since the founding of the department, upon completion of each unit of 5 years' service.
Long service badges were commonly worn on the right-hand side of the tunics (usually at breast level), and thus had two fixing lugs on the back; they were quite large and were therefore a prominent uniform adornment. Staff were expected to hand their old badges in when receiving a new one, with the former being melted down; the heavy wear on many of these badges is due to the soft metal (silver in most cases) and the fact that employees were expected to keep their badges and buttons polished, and indeed took great pride in doing so. The 35-year and 40-year badges exist in three forms: the standard large tunic size (for male staff); a smaller watch chain fob (as a permanent keepsake); and a smaller pin-back version for female staff.
The 40 years service badges were first issued in 1934 (40 years on from the commencement of municipal ownership) and therefore only exist in ‘Glasgow Corporation Transport’ form. The very first issues of the 40-year badge (i.e., in 1934) bore the legend ‘1894-1934’, whilst those in subsequent years (i.e., from 1935 onwards) bore the legend ’40 years service’. Only 18 staff (all presumably male) were eligible for the 1934-issued badges due to so many being killed during the Great War, so in all likelihood, only 36 were ever made (18 badges in solid silver, along with 18 fobs in silver gilt). Several variations in enamel, wording and material are known for the 40-year 'Transport' fobs and badges.
The lucky recipients of long-service badges turned up for a presentation, were given a celebratory drink (non-alcoholic), and were then expected to return to work for the rest of the day!
Tramways Department Badges
5 years service - nickel. With thanks to the late Kenny Delman.
10 years service badges - nickel and chrome. Note that the chrome example is actually a nickel badge that has been rechromed, either by an employee or a collector.
15 years service badge - brass. With thanks to Brian McGarrigle.
20 years service badge - solid silver. With thanks to Kenny Delman.
25 years service badge - solid silver. With thanks to Brian McGarrigle.
30 years service badge 1928 - solid silver. With thanks to Brian McGarrigle.
35 years service badge male (1929), female (1932) and keepsake fob (1929), all solid silver. The 1932 silver date stamp on the middle badge probably indicates that the manufacturer had a stock which was date stamped when supplied, as this is fully three years after the demise of the Tramway Department. Author's Collection.
Transport Department Badges
5 years service badge - nickel. Author's collection.
10 years service badge - nickel. Author's collection.
15 years service badge - brass. Author's collection.
20 years service badge - solid silver.
25 years service badge - solid silver. With thanks to Brian McGarrigle.
35 years service employee's keepsake fob - solid silver. With thanks to Brian McGarrigle.
35 years service employee's keepsake fob - silver gilt. With thanks to Brian McGarrigle.
40 years service fob (inaugural issue) - solid silver gilt. With thanks to Brian McGarrigle.
40 years service badge - solid silver. With thanks to the late Kenny Delman.
40 years service fob - solid silver. With thanks to Brian McGarrigle.
40 years service fob with 'years' abbreviated - solid silver gilt rather than silver. With thanks to Brian McGarrigle.
40 years service fob 1947 - gilt lettering with blue enamel inlay - solid silver gilt. Author's Collection.
Many thanks to the late Kenny Delman (Glasgow Transport Badges) and Brian McGarrigle for the vast majority of the research, wording and photos.