East Ham Corporation Tramways
Unfortunately, photos depicting crews and staff working the East Ham Tramways are surprisingly rare, so it is only possible to provide a rather sketchy overview of the uniform story. Motormen and conductors appear to have initially worn double-breasted jackets with two rows of four brass buttons (bearing a stylised monogram of the system initials - see link) and lapels; it is currently unclear whether or not the latter bore badges of any kind. Caps were in the kepi style with a steeply inclined glossy peak. They bore an elaborate brass cap badge comprising the municipal arms, above which was the full system title - 'East Ham Tramways' - within a scroll (inlaid with blue enamel); the bearer's grade - 'MOTORMAN' or 'CONDUCTOR' - in rope-effect block letters, was carried underneath the main badge, but separate to it, with the entire ensemble mounted on a dark leather back.
At some point, probably in the Edwardian era, the uniform was changed to a double-breasted, 'lancer-style' with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom), upright collars and epaulettes; the left-hand collar bore an employee number, and the right-hand side system initials - probably 'E H T' - in individual brass letters. The epaulettes also carried a badge, possibly the East Ham municipal device, though this remains unproven. The caps were probably changed at the same time to a military-style with a tensioned crown (top); they continued to bear the same cap badge as their predecessors. The uniforms were apparently of blue serge and bore red piping. In the 1920s, the uniforms were changed once again, this time to a more modern cut with lapels, and probably single-breasted; it is currently unclear what badges, if any, they bore.
Tramcar staff also wore great coats, which were double-breasted with high, fold-over collars and epaulettes; it is possible, but by no means certain, that the left-hand collar carried insignia of some descripton, more than likely an employee number.
Motormen and conductors always appeared in service with a Metropolitan Public Service Vehicle badge (see link).
Photographs of inspectors are yet to come to light, so it is currently impossible to say what uniforms they wore. The situation with female staff, who may have been employed during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services, is also unclear, with neither documentary nor photographic evidence available to confirm this either way.
For a history of the system, see: 'The Tramways of East London' by Rodinglea; The Tramway & Light Railway Society and The Light Railway Transport League (1967).
Motormen and conductors
A brand-new Tramcar No 11 undergoing trials in Boleyn Green St in 1901. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to Eddie Dawes.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman in kepi-stle cap with prominent cap badge.
East Ham Tramways 'Motorman' cap badge - gilt and blue enamel on a leather mount. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.
An extremely heavily, and badly, touched-up image of Tramcar No 17 at the depot in 1901. Both men are wearing kepi-style caps and double-breasted jackets with lapels. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to Eddie Dawes.
The crew of Tramcar No 19 - in top-covered condition - pose for the camera outside the Burnell Arms on Plashet Grove - photo undated, but probably taken shortly after the Great War. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to Eddie Dawes.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor. His right-hand collar initials appear to be 'E H T', whilst his left-hand collar carries an employee number (possibly No 5). His epaulettes clearly carry a badge of some description, possibly the East Ham municipal badge shown below.
Probable East Ham Corporation Tramways epaulette badge - brass. Author's collection.
An unidentified East Ham car at Barking with a No 67 service to Aldgate - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s. Photograph believed to have been taken by G N Southerden, courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to Eddie Dawes
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman in double-breasted great coat, and with heavy mitts and goggles (on his cap).
The conductor of Tramcar No 40 turns the trolley pole outside the Northern Outfall Sewer (Royal Albert Docks terminus) in 1927. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to Eddie Dawes.
A blow-up of the above photo, showing the conductor, by this time in single-breasted jacket with lapels.
Another shot taken at the Northern Outfall Sewer, this time of Tramcar No 12 around 1930. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to Eddie Dawes.
The conductor of Tramcar No 24 focuses his attention on some unknown event out of shot to the right - photo undated, but taken around 1930 outside the Town Hall. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to Eddie Dawes.