Dublin United Tramways Company
The DUTCo, which came into existence in 1881, operated an extensive horse tramway network for around 19 years, before the last line was converted to electric services in 1900. Although the photographic record for the horse-drawn era is certainly rich (dozens of images have survived), shots of staff seem particularly rare, especially those of conductors. What is however clear, both from surviving photos and the documentary record, is that prior to 1896/7, the DUTCo did not issue uniforms, a subject of negative comment at shareholder meetings and in the press of the time. Drivers wore typically robust working attire, jackets, shirt and tie, and bowler hats, the latter almost being viewed as a badge of office amongst the horse tramway fraternity; there is circumstantial evidence suggesting that drivers may have worn an initials badge on their bowler hats, but this cannot be proven either way from surviving photos. Conductors wore smart but informal attire, along with the ubiquitous bowler, though it should be stated that this is based on just a single clear image. Conductors wore a large oval licence - light in colour - and drivers probably wore one too, an example of which is shown below; surviving photos of horse-tram drivers do not however clearly show them wearing licences, suggesting that their use may have been short-lived, or that they use was not enforced.
Around 1896/7 the DUTCo commenced issuing its staff with uniforms, possibly at the same time it introduced its first electric services, though in the case of horse car staff, it only saw fit to issue the new uniforms to conductors. Jackets appear to have been single-breasted with lapels, whilst headgear took the form of a kepi-style cap. The latter probably carried the same cap badge as that seen in photos of electric car staff.
The DUTCo appears to have adopted (or possibly copied) the uniform of Dublin's first electric tramway operator - the Dublin Southern District Tramway - a company which is took over in September 1896. Jackets were single-breasted with four buttons - bearing the company initials ('DUT') within a scalloped rim - and with lapels; unlike the DSDTCo jackets, the collars were plain, i.e. without insignia of any kind. Caps were in a smart kepi-style and were piped; they bore a large cap badge of unknown pattern, which was apparently embroidered cloth, probably the reason that none appear to have survived. Some time in the Edwardian era, the cap badge was changed to a smaller design, broadly oval, and again probably embroidered cloth.
Although uniform jackets remained single-breasted throughout the entire life of the tramway, with only minor changes being made to the cut across the years, following the Great War, the caps were changed to a much more modern military style with a wide, tensioned crown (top). Around the same time, or possibly a little later, smart brass cap badges were introduced: these bore a shield in the middle, within a belt, with 'DUT' at the top, and the grade - 'Motorman' or 'Conductor' - at the bottom, and inlaid with a deep blue enamel; this was all surrounded by a laurel wreath. Following the merger with Great Southern Railways in 1945, uniforms remained single-breasted, but now bore Coras Iompair Eireann buttons, whilst the caps bore the new CIE logo; it is unclear whether the new cap badge was embroidered, brass or chrome.
Conductors also wore a shamrock-shaped cast licence (probably nickel or alloy) issued by Dublin Police; this was usually attached to the strap of their cashbag, and was in English prior Irish independence, but was replaced by a gaelic version sometime thereafter. In later years (circa mid 1930s onwards) this was supplemented, or replaced by, an oval PSV badge, also in gaelic; the precise relationship of these two badges is unclear, but as photos survive of conductors wearing both, it may well be that some individuals chose to keep the old shamrock-shaped licence rather than discard it.
Motormen and conductors were also issued with long, double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five or six buttons and high fold-over collars; the latter bore embroidered insignia, possible system initials. The style of these garments changed only subtly over the years.
Early photographs of inspectors are unfortunately rare, so it is only possible to describe their uniforms with some degree of confidence after the Great War. Prior to this, it is unclear what jackets were worn, as surviving photographs show individuals wearing smart, single-breasted overcoats with six buttons and high fold-over collars; the latter bore embroidered insignia of some kind, possibly the bearer's grade. Caps were in a smart kepi style and bore a large badge of some description, possibly embroidered cloth. After the Great War, the caps were changed to a wide-crowned, mililtary-style; these bore the same style of cap badge as worn by tramcar staff, but in silver rather than brass, and with the grade - 'Inspector' - in the blue enamel belt (see below). From the 1920s onwards, inspectors wore double-breasted jackets with two rows of three buttons, with another set buttoning through the lapels; the lapels bore the grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered lettering. The collars and the jacket sleeves were embellished/edged in material of a lighter colour than the main body. It is likely that inspectors continued to wear double-breasted jackets in CIE days, though seemingly without collar insignia.
For a history of Dublin's tramways, see: Through Streets Broad and Narrow' by Michael Corcoran; Midland Publishing (2000). For an overview of the Irish tram scene, including Dublin, see 'Irish Trams' by James Kilroy; Colourpoint Books (1996).
Horse tram drivers and conductors
Something of a rarity for a Dublin horse tram photo, one capturing the conductor. The scene is of Horsecar No 59 on the Donnybrook route - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1880s or early 1890s judging by the tall bowlers and top hats, and the advertisement for Leinster Hall, which opened in 1886. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor, who is in informal attire, but clearing wearing a large oval licence, which is attached to his cashbag strap.
Dublin Police driver's licence, No 4603 - nickel or alloy. This is possibly the pattern worn by Dublin horse tram drivers, though photographic confirmation is unfortunately elusive. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
The driver of Horsecar No 50, in informal attire with bowler hat, urges his charges along Lower Baggot Street with a Donnybrook service - photo undated, but thought to have been taken in the early 1890s. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
The driver of an unknown horsecar negotiates a busy O'Connell Bridge - photo undated, but certainly taken after 1898, when the play (Little Miss Nobody) was written, but before August 1899 when the Rathmines route was electrified. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
A photo which appears to have been subjected to some fairly heavy-handed modification, but one which shows a conductor in a uniform, shirt and tie, and kepi-style cap - photo undated, but certainly taken between the introduction of uniforms (1896/7) and the electrification of the Glasnevin route (December 1899). Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
DUTCo conductor, in uniform and oblivious to the presence of the camera, goes about his job on the rear platform of Horsecar No 36. Although undated, the shot must have been taken after 1898, as the same play is on at the Theatre Royal (see decency panel advertisement), as seen in an earlier photograph. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
A very rare shot, for any horse tramway, let alone the DUTCo, of a crew transferring their horses from one end of the vehicle to the other. The conductor (on the right) is wearing a uniform with kepi-style cap and cap badge, whereas the driver (to the left and rear of the far horse) is wearing informal attire with the ubiquitous driver's bowler hat. The photo is undated, but must have been taken between the introduction of uniforms (1896/7) and electrification of the Sandymount route (1901). Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice
Motormen and conductors
A fine study of a motorman at the controls of a pristine-looking Tramcar No 11, an ex-DSDTCo vehicle, still bearing the title 'Dublin Electric Tramways', but with the DUTCo device and manager's name, so probably taken in 1897. The vehicle is passing Monkstown church. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor, in greatcoat and kepi-style cap.
A DUTCo motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 3, a former Dublin Southern District Tramways vehicle, on the Dalkey line - photo undated, but given the good condition of the tram, albeit now with advertisements and a route board (on the rocker panel) including Nelsons Pillar, probably taken in 1898. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman. The uniform, cap and cap badge are very similar to those issued by the DSDTCo, suggesting that the DUTCo may simply have adopted the same style, though presumably expunging any mention of the DSDTCo; the one clear difference between the DUTCo jackets and those of the DSDTCo is the absence of collar insignia.
Another fairly early photograph, probably taken before the turn of the century, this time of Tramcar No 44. It is unclear which of the individuals are motormen and which conductors, though all would appear to be platform rather than senior staff. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
Although not of particularly good quality, this photo is included as the names of the conductor (Pat Magurie) and motorman (Mr Boggan) have survived - date unknown, but probably mid Edwardian. The scene, taken at Rathfarnham, includes a rather battered No 148, with Conductor Magurie in a straw boater, so it was presumably summer. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
The crew of Tramcar No 199 pose with their charge at the terminus at Whitehall - photo undated, but thought to have been taken between 1910 and the Great War. By this time the earlier cap badge had been changed to a smaller pattern. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
Conductor John Lonergan (right) along with an unidentified motorman (left) - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1930s (John was born around 1880 in County Tipperary and died in the late 1940s). The caps had by this time (the 1930s) been changed to a more modern military style with a tensioned crown (top), and the old cloth cap badge to a smart brass and blue enamel pattern (see below). Attached to the top of Mr Lonergan's cashbag strap is a shamrock-shaped Dublin Police licence (see below for an example). Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
DUTCo 'Motorman' cap badge - gilt. This was worn from the 1920s through to 1945. Author's Collection.
DUTCo 'Conductor' cap badge - gilt. This was worn from the 1920s through to 1945. Author's Collection.
Dublin Police-issued conductor's licence No 1146 - nickel. The text reads: 'GARDA SÍOCHÁNA' and 'FEARSTIURTHA', which means "Guardian of the peace" (effectively the police) and "Conductor". These were worn by all tramway conductors, and were probably introduced shortly after Irish independence, so in the early 1920s. Photo and translation courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
A nice staff shot taken on a summer's day at Terenure depot in 1932. Conductors and motormen are wearing the usual single-breasted jackets without collar insignia, whereas the senior staff, probably inspectors (seated in the centre) are wearing double-breasted jackets with collar insignia and embellishments to both the collars and the sleeves. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
Another depot shot, this time at Dalkey depot, with conductors, motormen and two inspectors - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
The crew of Tramcar No 298 captured outside the GPO in O'Connell St on what is believed to have been the 1st June 1936. The wide crown of the military-style cap is clearly seen, as are the long, double-breasted greatcoats. Photo by Dr H Nicol, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
Conductor Nestor and Motorman McDonald standing in front of Tramcar No 137, which was scrapped at Dartry depot in 1939 - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid-to-late 1930s. The shape of the cap badge is easily made out, as is the piping around the crown. Conductor Nestor is wearing a new oval PSV badge on his cashbag strap, rather than the shamrock-shaped pattern. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
Dublin conductor's PSV badge No 2626. These badges were introduced some time in the mid-1930s. 'F S P' stands for 'Feithicil Seirbhíse Puiblí', which translates as Public Service Vehicle in English. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection; translation courtesy of jim Kilroy.
Conductor, motorman, and an unknown individual pose for the camera - photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1940s. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
A Dublin tram conductor in Coras Iompair Eireann days, so taken some time between January 1946 and closure of the system in 1949. The individual on the right is probably an inspector. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the conductor's uniform, including the oval conductor's licence (on his cashbag strap) and the new CIE cap badge. The inspector's thumb is touching the older, shamrock-shaped Dublin Police licence. How this related to the oval PSV badge is unclear, though in all likelihood the oval pattern was a replacement for the earlier shamrock-shaped pattern.
CIE cap badge - chrome. It is however unclear what material was used during tramway days. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.
Although out of focus, this shot of a conductor next to Tramcar No 108 clearly shows the shamrock shape of the police licence - photo undated, but certainly taken in CIE days. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
A group of conductors and inspectors captured for posterity at an unknown depot, some wearing DUTCo cap badges and others the newer CIE ones, so definitely taken after the creation of the latter in 1945. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
A rare shot of a DUTCo inspector, in short single-breasted overcoat with collar insignia, and a kepi style cap - photo taken at Clontarf depot some time prior to the Great War. Photo courtesy of Jim Kilroy, tram archivist at the National Transport Museum.
A blow-up of the 1932 Terenure depot shot above, showing two inspectors (1st and 2nd left, seated). Both men are wearing double-breasted jackets with embroidered collar insignia - almost certainly their grade - and embellishments to both the collars and the jacket sleeves. The individual on the right of the front row is Dave Donoghue.
A blow-up of the Dalkey depot staff photo above, showing one of the inspectors in his double-breasted uniform.
DUTCo 'Inspector' cap badge - silver gilt. This was worn from the 1920s through to 1945. Author's Collection.
Two individuals in jackets which differ markedly those worn by motormen and conductors, and who are therefore, probably more senior staff, i.e. inspectors or chief inspectors - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1930s. Both jackets bear collar insignia, something notably absent from platform staff uniforms. Photo by W A Camwell, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
A blow-up of the staff photo shown above taken in CIE days. The figure depicted is wearing a double-breasted jacket without insignia, and may be an inspector, though this is by no means certain.