Camborne and Redruth Tramways

The Camborne and Redruth system, which opened on the 7th November 1902, was owned by the Urban Electric Supply Company Limited (UESCoLtd), and was directly worked by them. The system closed to passengers on the 29th September 1927, but remained open for mineral traffic for another seven years, closing for good in August 1934.

Staff working the newly inaugurated electric services were issued with dark blue, double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom). The buttons bore the system initials — UES — in intertwined script initials — and were brass (see link). The tunics were piped in green and had upright collars, the bearer's left-hand collar carrying a staff number (prefixed with ‘No’), whilst the right-hand collar carried individual initials (‘U’ ‘E’ ’S’ ‘Co’ ‘L T D’); curiously, although staff of the UESCoLtd's only other system (Glossop Tramways) had similar insignia, they had neither the 'No' prefix nor the 'LTD' suffix. Caps were military in style with a glossy peak and a soft top, and bore 'off-the-shelf', script-lettering grade badges — either Motorman or Conductor — which were almost certainly brass to match the buttons. The 'lancer-style' tunics only lasted for a short while, being replaced in 1904 by single-breasted jackets (with a five buttons) and upright collars; the uniform insignia remained however, unchanged.

The style of the jacket was at some point subtly altered, the upright collars being superseded by fold-over collars; these continued to carry insignia, probably the same as that carried earlier, though this cannot be made out with certainty on surviving photographs. The style of cap was also changed, still military in style, but with a tensioned crown (top) rather than a soft top.

Motormen and conductors were also issued with double-breasted greatcoats; it is currently unclear what, if any insignia, these carried.

In the early years (at least) the tramway employed the services of a Parcels Porter. The uniform worn was identical to that worn by tramcar crews, but with a Porter script-lettering cap badge. As far as I am aware, this is the only UK tramway that used this particular badge, all other systems with similar grades using Parcels cap badges.

Uniquely amongst UK tramway systems, Camborne and Redruth Tramways also operated mineral trams, hauling tin ore from East Pool Mine to Tolvaddon stamps. Motormen wore the same uniforms as their colleagues working the passenger trams, but instead of a conductor, a brakeman was carried; the latter was not issued with a uniform, instead wearing heavy duty workmen's clothing. The mineral tramway outlasted the passenger services by almost seven years, a period during which motormen abandoned uniforms in favour of informal attire or clothing more akin to railway footplate crews.

Somewhat unusually, inspectors were initially issued with the same style of uniform as tramcar staff, inclusive of collar designations, the sole difference being the use of a script-lettering Inspector badge on the cap; these appear to have been brass rather than embroidered, the latter being the norm on the vast majority of UK tramway systems for senior grades such as this. At some point, probably around the time of the Great War, the jackets were changed to a more modern double-breasted design with two rows of four buttons and lapels; the upper part of the latter (i.e., the collars) carried the grade — Inspector — in embroidered script lettering. Caps were probably changed at the same time; although still military in style, they now had tensioned crowns (tops), with the grade — Inspector — carried on a hat band in embroidered script lettering.

The company also employed the services of female staff, who were taken on during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services; however, unlike the vast majority of UK tramways, the C&RT continued to employ them after the war, at least until 1920, and quite possibly beyond. Very few photographs of these ladies have survived, with only a single image from 1920 available to confirm the uniform details; this shows that conductresses were issued with long, tailored, single-breasted jackets with five buttons, a waist belt (with button fastening) and lapels; the collars carried embroidered script lettering, very probably the grade. Headgear took the form of a baggy cloth cap with a peak; this carried a script-lettering grade badge — Conductor — though whether this was metal or embroidered is currently unclear. The women were issued with trousers and gaiters rather than skirts, potentially a unique approach at a time when skirts were virtually ubiquitous for female tramway staff elsewhere in the country; this may have reflected the difficult conditions that they were undoubtedly exposed to given the mineral mining community that the tramway served. An inspectress was also employed; she wore a long double-breasted coat with lapels, the upper part of which (i.e., the collars) bore her grade — Inspector — in embroidered script lettering. Headgear took the form of a felt bonnet with a hat band; whether or not the latter carried the bearer's grade is currently unclear.

Further reading
For a history of Camborne and Redruth Tramways, see: 'Cornwall's Electric Tramcars' by L Fisher Barham; Glasney Press (1972).


Motormen and conductors
Camborne and Redturh Tram No 1 and crew Camborne 1903
Tramcar No 1 stands at the Camborne terminus in the charge of Motorman W Hampton and Conductor A Wallace in 1903. Both men are wearing 'lancer-style' tunics. The figure standing in front of the car with his arms folded is more than likely an inspector, a grade which on other systems would have seen a more elaborate uniform, but here only merited a grade badge to distinguish the bearer from lower grades. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

camborne and Redruth Tramways Tram No 5 Camborne 1903
A favourite spot for local photographers, looking up Trelowarren St from the Camborne terminus. This view shows the crew of single-decker No 5 in 1903 — the conductor is a Mr J West. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Camborne and Redruth Tramways Tram No 4
A rather under-exposed shot, at least as far as the tramwaymen are concerned, but one which does show the new single-breasted jackets, which appear to have been introduced in 1904, the year in which the photograph was probably taken. The tramcar is standing at the Camborne terminus in Trelowarren St. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.

Camborne and Redruth Tramways staff photo taken in 1905 at the tramway depot at East Hill. With thanks to the Cornish Studies Library (see link).

Camborne and Redruth Tramways tram drivers 'J WIlliams' and 'J Cock' 1905
A blow-up of the above photo showing two of the motormen, J Cock and J Williams. The collars bear an employee number (on the bearer's left) and system initials, 'U E S Co L T D' (on the bearer's right).

Camborn and Redruth Tramways cap badges
Standard ‘off the shelf’ script-lettering cap badges of the type used by Camborne and Redruth Tramways — brass. Author's Collection.

Camborne and Redruth Tramway parcels porter 'P Holman'.
Another blow-up of the above photo, this time showing Mr P Holman, who was a Parcels Porter; his cap carries a Porter badge.

Camborne and Redruth Tramways staff photo 1920
Staff photo taken at the tramway company offices in 1920. Rather than the upright collars of the earlier jackets, those depicted here have fold-over collars.

Mineral loco motormen and brakemen

Motorman J Williams with Brakeman Bill Hampton aboard Mineral Tram No 2, about to depart from East Pool Mine with a load of tin ore — photo circa 1903/4. Motorman Willams's tunic is for some reason only buttoned up on his right-hand side. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Camborne and Redruth Tramways East Pool Mine
Motorman and brakeman with a mineral tram at East Pool Mine ore bin chutes — photo undated, but probably mid Edwardian. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Camborne and Redruth Tramways mineral trams
Mineral trams No 1 and No 2 pass each other at the Trevenson Loop — photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1930s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Senior staff
Camborne and Redruth Tramways inspector 1905
A blow-up of the 1905 depot photo above showing one of the inspectors. Apart from the cap badge, the rest of the uniform is identical to those worn by tramcar crews.

Camborne and Redruth Tramways Inspector cap badge brass
Script-lettering grade badge — Inspector — of the type used by Camborne and Redruth Tramways - brass. Author's Collection.

Camborne and Redruth tramway inspector L E Wallace
A blow-up of the 1920 staff photo above showing Inspector L E Wallace. By this time, inspectors' jackets had clearly been changed to a double-breasted design with the grade embroidered on the collars, and on a hat band on the cap.

Female staff
Camborne and Redruth Tramways tram conductresses
A blow-up of the 1920s staff photo above showing four of the conductresses. Clockwise from the top left: C Uren, ? Jory, E Rowe, G Bastion.

Camborne and Redruth Tramways Inspectress
Another blow-up of the 1920s staff photo, this time showing Inspectress Donavon.