Dundee, Broughty Ferry and District Tramways

History
The Dundee, Broughty Ferry and District Tramways Co Ltd opened its newly built tramway in 1905, operating electric services for just over 25 years, before selling out to Dundee Corporation in 1931, whereupon the system was immediately closed.

Uniforms
Photos taken in the first few months of operation show that staff wore single-breasted jackets with non-metallic buttons and lapels; these garments did not carry any insignia, and had the look of an interim measure, more than likely locally supplied. Caps were military in style with a tensioned crown (top); they bore a tall, oval metal cap badge of uncertain pattern (an example has yet to come to light), though it may well have utilised the same company monogram seen on tram waist panels and uniform buttons (see link). These badges are noticeably absent on photos taken on the opening day, but appear shortly afterwards, suggesting that they had not been delivered in time for the inauguration of services.

By the late-Edwardian era, and possibly earlier, a change had been made to the style of crewmen's uniforms. Motormen were now issued with double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom), whilst conductors were issued with single-breasted jackets with two breast pockets; both types of jacket bore epaulettes and upright collars, all seemingly devoid of insignia.

Photographs taken around the time of the Great War suggest that epaulettes had been dispensed with by this time, as well as the large oval badges, which were superseded by standard, script-lettering grade badges, either Motorman or Conductor. Photographic evidence suggests that this was not a wholesale replacement, so in all likelihood, it was a cost-saving measure for new orders. Such badges could be bought 'off the shelf' from manufacturers, whereas the 'marked' badges would have had to have been pre-ordered, and were of course specific to the DBF&DT company, and therefore more costly.

The style of uniform was altered one last time in the late 1920s, with both motormen and conductors now wearing single-breasted jackets with four buttons, two breast pockets (with button closures), epaulettes and lapels. Neither the epaulettes nor the lapels appear to have carried badges of any kind.

Conductors usually had an oval plate attached to their cash-bag straps, which could have been a licence, but was more probably some sort of cash-bag identity plate.

Tramcar crews were initially issued with single-breasted greatcoats with high fold-over collars, and what would appear to be vertical slit breast pockets with two buttons, an arrangement unique to this system. These coats were eventually replaced by double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons and lapels. No badges of any kind were worn on either of these styles of top coat.

Photographs of inspectors are unfortunately extremely rare, with just a single example surviving, and this is from the very last days of operation. At this time, inspectors were wearing double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons, and lapels, the upper part of which (i.e., the collars) bore the grade — Inspector — in embroidered script lettering. Caps were military in style with a tensioned crown (top) and bore a script-lettering grade badge, probably embroidered.

Women were employed in small numbers during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services; in stark contrast to the vast majority of other UK tramway systems, they continued to be employed (as conductresses) right through the 1920s. Female staff were issued with long skirts and long, single-breasted jackets with five buttons, a waist belt (with button fastening), hip pockets and lapels; once again, and in common with the men's jackets, they did not carry any insignia. Dark-coloured straw bonnets were worn; these bore a hat band, which from surviving photographs appeared not to bear a cap badge. At some point, baggy caps with glossy peaks were issued; these bore a standard, script-lettering Conductor cap badge.

Conductresses were also issued with single-breasted greatcoats with high, fold-over collars, once again without badges of any kind. In the mid-to-late 1920s, single-breasted, light-coloured gabardine-like coats were issued, possibly for summer-use only.

Further reading
With grateful thanks to Alan Brotchie for help with the above information and photos. For a history of Dundee's tramways, see: 'Tramways of the Tay Valley' by A W Brotchie'; Dundee Museum and Art Gallery (1965).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Dundee, Broughty Ferry and District Tramways Tram No 3 opening day
Tramcar No 3 loaded with dignitaries on the opening day, 27th December 1905.


Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman; he is wearing a single-breasted greatcoat with a curious arrangement of two buttons on what would appear to be vertical slit breast pockets. Neither his coat nor his cap bear insignia.


Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway tram No 5 and crew
Three crewmen pose with Tramcar No 5 at the original terminus in Union St, Monifieth — photo undated, but very probably taken in the first few months of operation.


Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor. His jacket appears to bear plain composite or horn buttons which, given that two types of marked buttons have survived (see link), suggests that uniforms 'proper' had perhaps not arrived at the time the photograph was taken. His cap bears a tall oval cap badge (of unknown pattern) and his cash-bag strap would appear to bear an oval plate or licence.


Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway tram driver
Another blow-up of the above photo, this time showing the two figures on the platform. Both are wearing the same jackets and caps as the conductor. The man at the controls may well be undergoing driving instruction, from the man behind.


Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway Tram No 7 Milton
Tramcar No 7 and crew on the single track access to the depot at Milton — photo undated, but given the good condition of the vehicle, probably taken in the late-Edwardian era.


Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and motorman. Both men are wearing the tall oval cap badges seen earlier, but now with proper uniform jackets with metal buttons and epaulettes; the conductor is wearing a single-breasted jacket and the motorman a double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunic. The conductor's cash-bag strap once again clearly bears an oval plate.


Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway crew
A motorman and his conductor stand on the platform of an unidentified tramcar — photo undated, but probably taken shortly after the Great War. By this time, the epaulettes had been dispensed with, which would seem logical if they did not carry a badge, and the tall, oval cap badges had been replaced by a script-lettering grade badges. The motorman's cap bears what is probably a regimental badge, the wearing of which was common practice amongst tramway men and women across the UK during, and for a short period after, the Great War.


Motorman and Conductor badges
General pattern script-lettering cap badges — Motorman and Conductor — brass, of the type used by the DBF&DT from around the time of the Great War through to the closure of the system in 1931. Author's Collection.


Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway tram drivers and a conductor 1920s
Two motormen and a conductor pose with a tramcar at the extension terminus at Tay St, Monifieth — photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1920s. Although it is possible that the two individuals at the front are actually Dundee City Tramways employees, given that the service was operated by both the DBF&DT and the municipal undertaking, neither of their uniforms matches those worn by DCT staff during the 1920s, so all three are therefore almost certainly DBF&DT tramcar staff. The motorman's cap bears a script-lettering grade badge, in contrast to the two men at the front, whose caps bear what are, in all probability, regimental badges. The conductor's cash-bag strap does not have the oval plate seen in all other photos.


Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway tram driver and conductresses
Four members of staff pose with an unidentified tramcar at Monifieth — photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s. The two motormen are wearing the last style of uniform issued by the company late in its life: single-breasted jackets with two breast pockets, epaulettes and lapels; as usual they do not bear any insignia other than the buttons. Both of the men's caps bear script-lettering Motorman grade badges. The two conductresses are wearing straw bonnets without badges, along with light-coloured, gabardine-style rain coats, indicating that it was summer. The lady on the left has the usual oval plate on her cash-bag strap.



Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway tram No 15 and driver
A motorman at the controls of ex-Dundee City Tramways Tramcar No 15. He is almost certainly one of the depot staff filling in on driving duties due to a staff shortage. Photo believed to have been taken by Dr H A Whitcombe.


Senior staff
Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway inspector
A D&BFTCo inspector, believed to be a Mr Rennie, with a conductor and motorman — photo undated, but thought to have been taken in the mid-to-late 1920s. Mr Rennie is wearing a double-breasted jacket with lapels, the upper part of which (i.e., the collars) bear his grade in embroidered script lettering, as does his cap.


Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway inspector
Mr Rennie again, this time with Tramcar No 1 outside the depot in the last week of operation (May 1931).


Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway inspector
Another shot of Inspector Rennie, taken on the same day as the previous photograph.


Female staff
Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway crew
A motorman and conductress pose with their tramcar at Monifieth — photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1920s. The motorman is wearing a single-breasted jacket of the type normally issued to conductors, all devoid of insignia; his cap however, clearly carries a script-lettering grade badge, Motorman. The conductress is in a smart uniform comprising a single-breasted jacket with lapels and a long matching skirt, all devoid of insignia. Her hat takes the form of a dark-coloured straw bonnet with a hatband, seemingly without a cap badge, though this cannot be stated with certainty. The oval plate on her cash-bag strap is just visible above her right hand.


Dundee, Broughty Ferry & District Tramway crew
Four members of staff (probably two crews) pose on the platform of Tramcar No 13 — photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s. Although not 100% certain, all would appear to be wearing script-lettering grade badges on their caps. It is almost certainly winter time (or what passes for spring/autumn in the British Isles), given that all are attired in heavy greatcoats with high, fold-over collars, the mens' double breasted and the lady's single breasted. Photo from the M H Waller Collection, courtesy of Alan Brotchie.