Devonport and District Tramways

Summary
The Devonport and District Tramways Company was a subsidiary of the much larger British Electric Traction Company Ltd (BETCo), a concern which over the course of its history either owned, part-owned or leased almost 50 tramway concerns across the British Isles. The photos below show Devonport and District staff wearing the familiar and largely regulation BETCo uniform. Although jackets appeared to vary somewhat between BETCo systems, as well as across the decades, the cap badges, collar designations and buttons invariably followed a standard pattern.

Photos depicting staff in the earliest years of the system indicate that they were initially issued with smart double-breasted jackets bearing two rows of five buttons (of the standard BETCo 'Magnet & Wheel' pattern - see link), three waist-level pockets (with flap closures) and lapels. The latter carried individual system initials - ‘D&DT’ - on the bearer's right-hand side, and an employee number on the left, all almost certainly brass to match the buttons. Caps were military in style with a tensioned crown (top), and carried a standard BETCo ‘Magnet & Wheel’ cap badge (see below) above an employee number, again in brass.

At some point fairly early in the system's life, the original style of jacket was gradually superseded, in the case of conductors by single-breasted jackets, and in the case of motormen, by double-breasted 'lancer-style' tunics; both styles bore upright collars which carried the same insignia as worn on the earlier jackets.

Tramcar crews were also issued with double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons, high, fold-over collars and epaulettes; the latter carried an employee number.

Inspectors wore uniforms which followed standard BETCo practice, namely, a single-breasted jacket with hidden buttons (or an hook and eye affair), edged in a finer material than the main body of the jacket, with two slit breast pockets and upright collars; the latter carried the bearer's grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered script lettering. Caps were military in style and bore a hat band with the standard BETCo 'Magnet & Wheel' badge, along with the grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered script lettering.

The D&DTCo passed into the hands of Portsmouth Corporation in October 1915, almost certainly prior to the employment of women during the Great War.

For a history of Plymouth's tramway systems, see: 'The Trams of Plymouth - a 73 Years Story' by Martin Langley and Edwina Small; Ex Libris Press (1990).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Devonport and District Tramways staff photo taken at the Milehouse Road depot
Probably the entire staff of the D&DTCo's Milehouse Rd depot, including fitters and various ladies, presumably the wives of senior officials - photo undated, but very possibly taken around the time of opening (1901) as all the uniforms look to be new. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Devonport and District Tramways staff
A blow-up of the above photo showing four individuals, three in double-breasted jackets with lapels and one in a single-breasted jacket with upright collars. The collars in both cases carry 'D&DT' initials on the bearer's right-hand side and an employee number on the left-hand side. The caps also bear an employee number, worn beneath the BETCo's standard 'Magnet & Wheel' cap badge.


Devonport and District Tramways motormen
Another blow-up of the above photo, this time showing two individuals in double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics, Employee No 55 on the left, and No 34 on the right. The meaning of the different styles of uniform is unclear; of the 54 tramcar staff depicted, only one individual is wearing a single-breasted jacket, whilst 3 are wearing 'lancer-style' tunics, with the remainder (50) in the double-breasted jackets with lapels.


Devonport and District Tramways cap badge
Standard British Electric Traction Company ‘Magnet & Wheel’ cap badge, as worn by employees of the Devonport and District Tramways Company - brass


Devonport and District Tramways Tram No 5 at Saltash Passage
Tramcar No 5 at Saltash Passage - photo undated, but probably taken around 1903 when this route was finally connected to the rest of the system. The motorman is thought to be Frank Cook, whilst the man on the right is Mr R Stoneman, the landlord of the Royal Albert Bridge Inn. Photo and background information courtesy of Derek Tait.


Devonport and District Tramways Tram No 21 at St Budeaux
Conductor (Employee No 76) and motorman (Employee No 55) pose with Tramcar No 21 at St Budeaux - photo undated, but probably early-to-mid Edwardian. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Devonport and District Tramways tram driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman - Employee 55; it is unclear if he is the same individual depicted in the blow-up of the depot photo above (also Employee No 55).


Devonport and District Tramways Tram No 4 and crew at Pennycomequick
Tramway staff pose with Tramcar No 4 at Pennycomequick - photo undated, but given the battered condition of the tram, probably taken some time between 1910 and the corporation takeover in 1915. Left to right are: two conductors (in single-breasted jackets), a motorman (Employee No 31, wearing a 'lancer-style' tunic), another motorman (Employee No 43, standing in greatcoat), and either a trolley or points boy in a kepi-style cap. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Devonport and District Tramways tram conductors at Pennycomequick
A blow-up of the above photo showing the two conductors (possibly Employee No 21 on the left and Employee No 40 on the right). The collar initials are clearly individual 'D&DT' initials.


Devonport and District Tramways tram No 8 and crew
Conductor and motorman pose with Tramcar No 8 in Tor Lane, Peverell - photo possibly taken in 1915, around the time of the municipal takeover. Both men are wearing long greatcoats with epaulettes. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Devonport and District Tramways Tram No 15
The crew of Tramcar No 15 pose in St Levan's Rd, Devonport with a service for Morice Square - photo undated, but probably taken shortly before the Great War. Photo and background information courtesy of Derek Tait.


Senior staff
Devonport and District Tramways inspectors
A blow-up of the depot shot above showing two of the six inspectors.