Cleethorpes Urban District Council Tramways
(Cleethorpes Corporation Transport)

History
Cleethorpes Urban District Council became a tramway owner and operator on the 15th July 1936, when it took over the remaining standard-gauge, overhead electric tramway assets of the Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company, all of which were within the municipal boundary.

The GGSTCo had originally operated a tramway system spanning both Grimsby and Cleethorpes, but this was reduced to its lines within Cleethorpes on the 6th April 1925, when Grimsby Corporation exercised its right to compulsorily purchase the tramway within its municipal boundary.

Cleethorpes UDC took possession of just 1.91 route miles of tramway, running from a terminus at Park St, which was situated at the municipal boundary with Grimsby, eastwards along Grimsby Rd, past the depot at Pelham Rd, up Isaac's Hill, along High St and Alexandra Rd to the eastern terminus at Kingsway.

The council had obtained powers to operate a municipal tramway and trolleybus system in 1928, and originally intended to take over the running of the tramway on the 1st August 1930 — when it had the right to compulsorily purchase the tramway — but could not agree a price with the GGSTCo. Under such circumstances, the two parties would normally have gone through a binding arbitration process, but given that this is precisely what Grimsby Corporation had done in 1924, only to end up paying an exorbitantly high price, Cleethorpes understandably chose not to go down that particular road. As a result, the GGSTCo continued to operate the tramway, making little or no investment, a situation that neither party can have been particularly happy with. By late 1935 however, the company was ready to sell at what was deemed an acceptable price, the UDC duly obtaining a provisional order to run the tramway (and ultimately replace it with trolleybuses), finally taking possession in 1936.

Cleethorpes tramway, as well as its motorbus operations, which it had begun in 1930, became Cleethorpes Corporation Transport on the 23rd September 1936, when the town was incorporated as a borough.

The council ran the tramway for almost exactly one year, the last tram running on the 17th July 1937, trolleybuses taking over the following day.

Uniforms
Motormen and conductors were issued with single-breasted jackets with five buttons, two waist and two breast pockets (with button closures), epaulettes (with button fastenings) and lapels; the epaulettes and lapels appear not to have carried badges. Caps were in a military style with a tensioned crown (top); whilst some caps were simply worn without a cap badge, it would appear that other members of staff continued to wear the 'circle and bar' cap badge that they had worn during the latter years of the Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company (see link).

Tramcar staff were also issued with double-breasted greatcoats with five pairs of buttons, epaulettes and high, fold-over collars; both epaulettes and collars were left plain, i.e., they were devoid of badges.

Photographs of inspectors are yet to come to light, so it is currently impossible to say what uniforms they wore.

Further reading
For a history of Cleethorpes UDC Tramways, see: 'The Tramways of Grimsby, Immingham and Cleethorpes' by J H Price; Light Rail Transit Association (1991).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Cleethorpes UDC Tramways tram crew 1937
A Cleethorpes crew poses with an unidentified tramcar in June 1937, just one month before closure. Photo courtesy of the Jill Smith Collection.


Cleethorpes UDC Tramways tram crew 1937
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crew. The conductor is wearing a PSV badge on his left lapel, indicating that he also worked on the buses. The motorman is wearing a 'circle and bar'-shaped cap badge, which would appear to have been inherited from the Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company, as photos exist showing GGSTCo staff wearing a similar-shaped badge shortly before the Cleethorpes take-over (see link).


East Midlands Area PSV Traffic badge
East Midlands Area PSV traffic badge — conductor No 7048 — of the type that would have been worn by Cleethorpes conductors. These badges were first issued in April 1935, so the conductor above would certainly have had one with a similarly low number. With thanks to the Stephen Howarth Collection.


Cleetorpes Corporation Tramways Tram No 38  1937
Cleethorpes Corporation Transport No 38 (ex-Oldham Corporation Tramways) in Grimsby Rd, at the boundary with Grimsby, on 24th April 1937. Photo courtesy of the Jill Smith Collection.


Cleethorpes Corporation Tramways motorman 24th April 1937
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman, who once again appears to be wearing the 'circle and bar' cap badge used in the latter years of the GGSTCo.


Cleethorpes UDC Tramway licences
Cleethorpes Urban District Council CONDUCTOR and MOTORMAN licences — brass. There is currently no photographic evidence to confirm that these were ever worn, either by tramcar staff of Cleethorpes UDC, or of its predecessor, the Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company. Authors Collection.


Cleethorpes UDC tram licences
These licences are also purportedly from Cleethorpes; however, once again, there is currently no photographic evidence to confirm that these were ever worn, either by tramcar staff of Cleethorpes UDC, or of its predecessor, the Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company. Author's Collection.


Cleethorpes Corporation Transport badge
Cap/lapel badge believed to have been worn by employees of Cleethorpes Corporation Transport (September 1936 to 1957) — nickel. This is provided for reference, as there is currently no photographic evidence to suggest that this badge was worn by tramway staff (July 1936 to July 1937). With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.