Douglas Bay Tramway/Douglas Horse Tramway
Photographs of the tramway taken in the 26 years prior to the municipal take-over of 1902 are somewhat sparse, though sufficient in number to state with reasonable certainty that none of the corporation's predecessors (Thomas Lightfoot; the Isle of Man Tramways Ltd; and the Isle of Man Tramways & Electric Power Co Ltd) issued uniforms. Instead, drivers and conductors simply wore smart yet informal attire: frockcoats and bowler hats in the earliest years, and subsequently jackets, bowlers and straw/panama-style hats.
Following the corporation take-over, it would appear that staff - at least for a short while - continued to wear informal attire, however, at some point, probably during the early-to-mid Edwardian era, they were issued with uniforms. Jackets were single-breasted with a single row of five buttons (presumably brass and bearing the corporation arms - see link), two breast pockets (with button closures) and upright collars; the left-hand collar carried an employee number in individual metal numerals, whereas the right-hand side was left plain. Headgear took the form of a military-style cap with a tensioned crown (top), which bore a standard, 'off-the-shelf', script-lettering grade badge, either 'Driver' or 'Conductor'; the latter were presumably brass to match the buttons. It is currently unclear how long these uniforms persisted, but probably up to and including the Great War. Sometime after this, possibly in the mid-1920s, staff were issued with more modern uniforms, apparently of dark blue serge: jackets were now double-breasted with two rows of five buttons, with the top row buttoning through the jacket's lapels; the style of cap and the badges remained unchanged. These uniforms were used right through to the mid 1970s, though they were largely superseded by dust coats well before their final demise; the dust coats were possibly beige initally, though definitely blue later on. The only change to the double-breasted uniform during its use was the addition of a round, 'Borough of Douglas Transport' PSV badge; these were orange and white, of the standard PSV pattern introduced nationally in 1935, and were worn from around 1951 to the mid-1970s. It is also possible that the buttons and badges were changed from brass to chrome at some point, though this remains mere speculation.
By the mid-1970s, the wearing of uniforms appears to have been wholly dispensed with, staff instead wearing whatever shoes and trousers they chose (often jeans and trainers), the sole nod to smartness being a light-blue dust coat, which bore a shield-shaped cloth badge on the breast pocket; the badge appears to have been the standard type that tourists the world over were once fond of attaching to their rucksacks. Hats appear to have been worn only occasionally. In the 1980s, the light-blue dust coats were themselves superseded by shorter and slightly darker-blue dust jackets, which were in turn - in the 1990s - superseded yet again by dust coats, this time of a more intense blue, with the pocket edges and the shoulders embellished with red and white flashings.
In the 2000s, a more restrained uniform policy appears to have been followed, with crews wearing dark trousers and polo shirts (it is unclear whether these issued by the owners), but with hi-visibility jackets, in a variety of lurid colours.
Photographs of inspectors are rare, however, those that have survived indicate that they wore double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons and lapels, the upper part of which, at least after the Second World War, but possibly also prior to that, bore the grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered block lettering. Caps were in the same military style as tramcar crews, and probably also bore a grade badge, though this is currently unclear.
Unlike the vast majority of UK tramways, Douglas appears not to have employed women staff during the Great War, whilst during the Second World War, it closed for the duration.
For a history of Douglas Bay Tramway, see "The Douglas Horse Tramway" by Keith Pearson; Adam Gordon Publishing (1999).
Horse tram drivers and conductors
Tramcars No 2 (right) and No 3 (left) captured outside the Iron Pier - photo undated, but very probably taken in 1876 (the year of opening) or 1877, and certainly no later than 1884 when these two vehicles were structurally altered. All present are wearing smart but informal attire, including both drivers (on the platforms) and a conductor (nonchalently leaning on No 3's dash, and sporting a straw hat). Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver of No 2. He is wearing a three-quarter length jacket and a tall bowler hat, characteristic of the late 1870s and 1880s.
Tramcar No 4 - a Starbuck product - and an assemblage of tramway employees and customers in Isle of Man Tramway Company days, very probably taken directly after the take-over of 1882. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
A blow-up of the above photo showing some of the figures in more detail - all, including the driver, are wearing informal attire.
A crowded seen taken just opposite the Jubilee Clock in 1902, so a good year after the corporation takeover. The conductor, standing on the rear platform, is wearing informal attire, along with a light-coloured panama-style hat. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
A large group of conductors, drivers and a single inspector, assembled around Horsecar No 22 - photo undated, but probably taken shortly before the Great War. Photograph believed to originate from the Keith Pearson Collection.
A blow-up of the above photo showing two conductors and a driver, holding a moggy and wearing a conductor's cashbag strap! The men's right-hand collars appear to be devoid of insignia, whilst the left-hand sides bear an employee number. The caps bear standard, script-lettering grade badges, either 'Driver' or 'Conductor'.
General pattern brass script-lettering cap badges of the type issued to staff working the Douglas Corporation Tramways horsecars.
Another blow-up of the above photo, showing a driver, the only known image of a Douglas tramwayman wearing an armband.
Judging by the livery, a pre-1926 view of Tramcar No 6. The driver is wearing a smart double-breasted jacket, and military-style cap with script-lettering grade badge. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
The driver of Horsecar No 1 poses for the camera of D W K Jones in May 1951. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the driver's smart, double-breasted uniform and municipal PSV badge (No 69).
Borough of Douglas Transport driver's PSV badge (No 33), as worn by horse tram drivers. With thanks to the Stephen Howarth Collection.
Borough of Douglas Transport conductor's PSV badge (No 77), as worn by horse tram conductors. With thanks to the Stephen Howarth Collection.
Driver and conductor captured with Tramcar No 55 by the camera of A W Monk in 1955.
Tramcar No 12 in single-deck condition and without lamps, pictured outside the depot - photo undated, but certainly taken in the early to mid 1970s. Both men are wearing long, blue dust coats with what appear to be sew-on shield-shaped cloth badges, of the type once commonly sold in souvenir shops the length and breadth of the land. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
A colour photo of a DCT driver at the helm of Tramcar No 12, which was restored to near original condition for the centenary celebrations of 1976. The photo clearly shows that the smarter blue serge jackets and the Borough of Douglas licence (on his left lapel) were still available when needed. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
Tramcar No 18 with newly restored upper deck, strongly suggesting that the photo was taken following outshopping in 1989. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
A blow-up of the above photo, showing the short, blue dustjackets that were worn in the late 1980s.
Driver and conductor with Tramcar No 37, looking anything but smart in lurid blue dustcoats (with red and white flashings) - photo undated, but almost certainly taken in the 1990s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
Conductor and driver manoeuvre restored Tramcar No 18 out of the depot on the 4th August 2012, both men wearing orange hi-vis jackets. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
A blow-up of the pre-Great War staff photo above showing an inspector, in double-breasted jacket, seemingly devoid of insignia, and with cap which probably bears his grade.
Inspector Jack Dugdale captured with Horsecar No 41 around 1967. Photograph believed to originate from the Keith Pearson Collection.
A blow-up of the above photograph, revealing the lapel insignia to by embroidered block letters - 'INSPECTOR'. The situation with the cap is less clear.