Falkirk and District Tramways Company

Summary
Photographs taken in the first few years of operation show that conductors and motormen wore double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom), epaulettes and high fold-over collars; the latter bore system initials - 'F&DTC' - in embroidered script lettering. The buttons also bore 'F&DTC' in script-lettering, though the material remains unknown as surviving examples are yet to come to light. Caps were in the military style with a glossy peak; these bore an oval cloth cap badge with embroidered system initials - 'F&DTC' - above the grade, either 'CONDUCTOR' or 'MOTORMAN' in block letters. Tramcar crews also wore a small oval badge on the left breast of their tunics, which had the bearer's grade - either 'MOTORMAN' or 'CONDUCTOR' - above an employee number. It is currently unclear whether these badges were issued in brass or nickel; although examples of the latter have survived (see below), it is unclear whether they originate from Falkirk as there is evidence to suggest that the same style of badge was issued to staff working London's electric railways.

The style of uniforms underwent several changes over the years, the first of which appears to have taken place relatively early on, probably in the late Edwardian era. Although surviving photos are far from conclusive, they suggest that single-breasted jackets were now issued; these had five buttons, two breast pockets (with button closures), epaulettes and high fold-over collars; the latter appear to have been devoid of insignia. Although caps remained the same, the cloth cap badge was replaced by a standard, 'off-the-shelf', script-lettering grade badge - either 'Conductor' or 'Motorman' - whether these were nickel or brass is currently unknown.

The uniforms appear to have been changed yet again around the time of the Great War, back to a double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunic with epaulettes and upright collars; the latter now carried system initials - 'F D T C' - in individual metal letters. At some point around the time of the Great War, a change also appears to have been made to the buttons, which were from then on plain with a scalloped rim (see link). The jackets were changed one last time, probably in the late 1920s, to a single-breasted design, with four buttons and lapels; the latter usually carried 'F D T' on the bearer's right-hand side.

Tramcar crews were also issued with overcoats. It is unclear what form these took in the early years, though later on they were double-breasted with two rows of four buttons and lapels; they appear not have carried insignia of any kind.

Senior staff were issued with double-breasted jackets with two rows of three buttons (plus an extra pair between the collars and the lapels); the upper part of the collars bore embroidered script-lettering, either system initials or the grade - photographic evidence is unfortunately inconclusive. Caps were in the military style and bore an oval cap cloth cap badge, which probably bore the grade. In later years, the jackets remained double-breasted but with two rows of four buttons (plus an extra pair between the collars and the lapels); the collars now carried the grade - either 'Ticket Inspector' or 'Chief Inspector' - in two rows of script lettering. Cap badges were oval cloth with the grade in embroidered script lettering - 'Inspector', 'Ticket Inspector' or 'Chief Inspector'; although 'Inspector' was used on the cap badges, the full grade of 'Ticket Inspector' appears to have been used on the jackets. Senior staff were also issued with double-breasted overcoats - these probably bore system initials or a grade on the collars.

Female staff were employed as conductresses during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services; in common with many eastern Scottish tramway systems, and unlike the vast majority elsewhere in the UK, Falkirk retained their services right through to closure in the mid 1930s. Lady conductors (as they were known) were issued with long single-breasted jackets with five buttons, lapels and a waist belt (see below), along with a long matching skirt. The collars appear to have carried a designation in embroidered script initials, possibly ‘FDTC’. Baggy caps were worn; these had a glossy peak and carried a standard script-lettering grade badge, though these were often replaced with regimental badges, a common practice during the Great War. The ladies were also issued with single-breasted overcoats with a row of five buttons off-set to one side, epaulettes and fold-over collars; the latter bore 'F D T' on both sides in individual metal initials. In later years, a more robust double-breasted jacket was worn with two rows of five buttons, epaulettes and high fold-over collars, once again devoid of badges.

In the last few years of operation, Falkirk's ladies were issued with stylish gabardine style summer dust coats with lapels and collars of a darker colour than the main garment. These appear to have existed in two varieties: the first single-breasted and light in colour (possibly white), and a single-breasted darker version, probably later than the lighter one.

For a detailed account of the tramway, see 'The Tramways of Falkirk' by Alan Brotchie; N B Traction (1975).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Falkirk and District Tramways Tram No 3 and crew
Three tramcar crews, two inspectors and two other company officials pose for the cameraman at Carmuirs depot with Tramcar No 3 on the opening day (21st October 1905).


Falkirk and District Tramways tram crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crew of Tramcar No 3. Although the caps and collars appear to be devoid of insignia, they do in fact carry embroidered badges (see below).


Falkirk and District Tramways conductor
Falkirk and District Tramways Company Conductor No 56 - photo undated, but probably taken to mark the commencement of operations.


Falkirk and District Tramways conductor
A blow-up of the above photograph showing the uniform insignia: embroidered system initials ('F&DTC') on the collars, and an oval cloth cap badge with the system initials and the bearer's grade ('F&DTC CONDUCTOR'). On magnification, the buttons appear to bear ‘F&DTC’ in script-lettering.


Falkirk and District Tramways conductor badge
Conductor employee number badge of the pattern used by the Falkirk and District Tramways Company. It is currently unknown whether these were issued in nickel or brass.


Falkirk and District Tramways motorman badge
Motorman employee number badge of the pattern used by the Falkirk and District Tramways Company.


Falkirk and District Tramways Tram No 17 and crew 1905
Another early shot, this time of Tramcar No 17 at Larbert Cross in November 1905. The employee numbers - worn on the left-breast of the bearer's tunic - are clearly in evidence.


Falkirk and District Tramways Tram No 12 Larbert Bridge 1910
Two motormen with a rather battered looking Tramcar No 12 on Larbert Bridge - photo undated, but probably taken in the four years immediately prior to the Great War. By this time the 'lancer-style' tunics and cloth cap badges had been superseded, the latter by 'off-the-shelf' grade badges.


Falkirk and District Tramways cap badges
Script-lettering cap badges of the pattern worn by Falkirk and District Tramways Company staff from the late Edwardian era onwards. It is currently unclear whether these badges were issued in brass or nickel.


Falkirk and District Tramways company staff photo 1916
A group of three motormen, eight lady conductors and an inspector (with dog) in 1916. The motormen are wearing a new style of 'lancer' tunic with metal 'F D T C' initials on their collars. A variety of regimental badges are also in evidence (motorman top left, conductress bottom left, and conductress 2nd from the right on the front row); this was a common practice amongst tramway staff across the UK, both during the war and for a short while afterwards. With thanks to Alan Brotchie.


Falkirk and District Tramways staff photo
Three conductresses, three motormen and a ticket inspector - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s. The two outside motormen are wearing 'lancer-style' tunics with 'F D T C' on the upright collars, whereas the man in the centre is wearing the older style single-breasted jacket, devoid of system initials.


Falkirk and District Tramways Tram No 14 and crew
Conductress and motorman in summer wear with Tramcar No 14 - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1930s. The motorman is wearing the style of jacket issued late in the tramway's existence, with ' F D T' on the bearer's right-hand lapel. It is unclear what he is wearing on his left-hand lapel as other photos show this unadorned. His cap badge looks odd as well, though this may just be a curved example of the standard grade badge.


Senior staff
Flakirk and District Tramways Company inspectors
Blow-up of the opening day depot photo above showing two individuals who are in all probability inspectors.


Falkirk and District Tramways inspector Edwardian
Inspector aboard Tramcar 18 - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid-to-late Edwardian era.


Falkirk and District Tramways Ticket Inspector 1920s
Blow-up of the 1920s group photo above showing the ticket inspector. Both the jacket collars and the cap badge carry the grade - 'Ticket Inspector' - in embroidered script lettering.


Falkirk and District Tramways senior staff
Senior staff photo, including three ticket inspectors and three chief inspectors - probably taken around 1925. It is unclear why there are three of the latter, as it was usual to only have one, though in this case, two of them may have been dedicated to the company's extensive bus operations.


Falkirk and District Tramways Inspector 1920s
A blow-up of the above photo showing one of the inspectors - although his collar designation is 'Ticket Inspector', his cap badge is simply 'Inspector'.



Falkirk and District Trmaways Chief Inspector 1920s
Another blow-up of the above staff photo, this time showing one of the chief inspectors - both his collar designation and his cap badge are clearly marked 'Chief Inspector'.



Falkirk and District Trmaways Chief Inspector 1920s
Yet another blow-up of the staff photo above - although both his collar designation and his cap badge are clearly marked 'Chief Inspector', the cap badge is a different style than the two other chief inspectors in the photograph. This may be because he was a bus rather than a tramway official.


Female staff
Falkirk and District Tramways Company conductresses Great War
A blow-up of the 1916 photo above showing four of the conductresses. The collar badges appear to be embroidered system initials - 'F D T C'.


Falkirk and District Tramways Tram No 2 and conductress
Conductress and motorman with Tramcar No 2 near Larbert Mill - photo undated, but possibly taken in the summer of 1915 when 'lady conductors' were taken on for the first time.


Falkirk and District Tramways conductress
Blow-up of the 1920s group photo above showing one of the conductresses; her overcoat collars carry individual system initials - 'F D T' on each side. The off-set nature of the overcoat buttons is easily made out, as is their design: plain, scalloped-rim issues similar to those worn by other Scottish tramway companies owned by Balfour Beatty and Company.


Falkirk and District Tramways Tram No 10 and crew
F&DT conductress and motorman with a rather new looking No 10, dating the photograph to around 1930. Neither of the subjects overcoats appears to carry insignia. The conductress's cap badge is actually a curved, standard issue 'Conductor' badge, with a small round badge of unknown pattern (probably not a complany issue) worn above it.


Falkirk and District Tramways 1930s conductress
Blow-up of the mid 1930s Tramcar No 14 crew photograph above showing the conductress in white summer dust coat.


Falkirk and District Tramways last day crew
Two motormen and their conductresses with Tramcar No 3 on the last day of operation, 21st July 1936. Both ladies appear to be wearing noticeably darker-coloured dust coats than in the previous photograph.