Edinburgh and District Tramways

Summary
The Edinburgh and District Tramways Company had a unique place in Scottish tramway history, operating horse, cable and overhead electric trams, though not all at the same time. It began its life in 1894, when it was granted the lease to operate a number of Edinburgh Corporation owned horse tram lines that had previously been worked by the Edinburgh Street Tramways Company. Staff working these horse services wore single-breasted jackets with four buttons (bearing the full company title and a triple towered castle device - see link) and lapels, the upper parts of which (the collars) bore 'E D T' initials in individual metal letters, probably nickel. Caps were in the kepi style and bore piping of a lighter colour which ran around the circumference (approximately two-thirds the way up); no cap badge was used.

In the 1900s, the style of the jackets changed subtly - they were still single-breasted, but now had high, fold-over collars (bearing the usual 'E D T' intitals), and a square cut at the bottom rather than the rounded one used previously. Large nickel cap badges were also introduced, probably around 1904, to reflect the new era of cable-hauled traction, and appear to have been issued to staff working all services, including those on the horse trams. These badges bore 'E. D. T.' initials above the grade - either 'DRIVER' or 'CONDUCTOR' - with the bearer's class below: 'CLASS 1', 'CLASS 2', or 'CLASS 3' (see photos below).

Staff working the initial cable-hauled services - taken over from the Edinburgh Northern Tramways Company in 1897 - appear to have worn the same style of uniforms as those worn by the horse tram crews. However, at some point following the introduction of the newly constructed cable lines, drivers and conductors were issued with double-breasted, 'lancer' style tunics with two rows of five buttons and upright collars; the latter carried an employee number in individual metal numerals on the bearer's right-hand side only. Caps were initially soft-topped, but were eventually superseded by a military style with a glossy peak; both types carried an elaborate new cap badge (these were also issued to horse tram crews [see above]). At some point, probably just prior to the Great War, the nickel cap badges were replaced by a new design - in brass - which comprised the company title and bearer's grade (within brass ribbons inlaid with blue enamel). In the centre were the arms of Edinburgh above an oval, within which was either a vertical bar, a crescent or a diamond, the symbols denoting the class of the bearer (i.e. 1, 2, or 3). Although there is currently no evidence available to indicate which symbol denoted which class, it has been suggested that they ran in alphabetical order, i.e. Bar, Crescent, Diamond, though this begs the rather obvious question of why they didn't start with an 'A'.

From 1910 onwards, the E&DTCo also operated an overhead electric line from Ardmillan Terrace to Slateford - staff working these services wore the same uniforms as their colleagues on the cable-hauled trams.

Drivers and conductors were also issued with long, double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons, high, fold-over collars and epaulettes; the latter seemingly bore an employee number.

Inspectors were initially issued with long single-breasted overcoats with lapels, the upper parts of which (i.e. the collars) bore the grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered script lettering. Caps were identical to those worn by tramcar staff, i.e. kepis with piping a lighter colour around the circumference (approximately two-thirds of the way up), but with no badge. It is unclear what uniforms were worn from the Edwardian era through to the take-over of the E&DTCo in 1919.

In common with the vast majority of UK tramways, the E&DTCo employed female staff during the Great War to replace men lost to the armed services. The first group started work on Saturday 12th June 1915 as conductresses, and by 5th April 1916, 227 were thus employed in Edinburgh as a whole (inclusive of bus conductresses). Woem were never employed to drive the E&DTCo's trams, the vast majority of which were cable cars. The conductresses were issued with long skirts and tailored, single-breasted jackets with six buttons, four pockets (with button closures), upright collars and epaulettes; the collars bore an employee number on both sides in individual numerals, possibly brass at this time. Caps were in an unusually wide-topped (crown) military style, though one photo does show a more fashionable baggy cap, which may have been summer wear; the caps carried the same brass and blue enamel cap badges that were issued to male staff. The ladies were also issued with long, double-breasted overcoats with two rows of six buttons, upturned cuffs (with two buttons,) epaulettes and high, folder-over collars; the collars and the edges of the coat were piped, but no badges of any kind appear to have been carried.

The official reports of the Hackney Carriage Inspector for Edinburgh have fortunately survived, the one from 30th July 1919 being particularly revealing as it shows the change in male/female employment following the end of the war (1917/8 versus 1918/19). Male driver numbers rose from 369 to 469, whilst women drivers remained static at 12, all of whom were employed as motorwomen on the Musselburgh & District Tramways Joppa line. The situation with conductors was much starker, the number of men rising from 125 to 246, with women falling from 441 to 375. I am indebted to Alan Brotchie for this information.


For a detailed history of the Edinburgh and District Tramways Company, see: 'Edinburgh's Transport - Volume 1, The Early Years' by D L G Hunter; The Mercat Press (1992).

My thanks go to Alan Brotchie for supplying virtually all of the excellent photographs below, and much of the background information.

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
Edinburgh and District Tramways horse tram No 80
Edinburgh and District Tramways Company conductor and driver aboard Edinburgh Street Tramways Horse Car No 80 at the Colinton Rd terminus - photo undated, but probably taken in 1899.


Edinburgh and District Tramways horse tram conductor
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor. The only uniform insignia, apart from the buttons, are the individual nickel 'E D T' initials worn on the upper part of the bearer's right-hand lapel (probably on the left as well, though not visible here).


Edinburgh and District Tramways horse tram No 88 and crew
Conductor and driver with Horse Car No 88 at the Murrayfield terminus circa 1900.


Edinburgh and District Tramways co Tram No 72 and crew
Conductor and driver with Horse Car No 72 on a Tollcross to Colinton Rd service - photo undated, but probably taken between 1902 and 1904. Both men are wearing jackets without lapels, and with a square cut at the bottom rather than the rounder one of the previous style.


Last day of the Edinburgh and District Tramways horse trams
A shot of the last day of horse tram operation - 24th August 1907. Both men are wearing the newer style cap badges introduced with the cable trams (see below).


Cable tram drivers and conductors
Edinburgh and District Tramways cable tram and crew
E&DTCo conductor and inspector pose for the cameraman in Inverleith Row with an ex-Edinburgh Northern Tramways Co cable tram - photo undated, but probably not long after the take-over of the ENTCo in 1897. Both men are wearing uniforms identical to those worn by E&DT horse tram crews, lacking the cap badge worn by staff of the former ENTCo (see link).


Edinburgh and District Tramways cable tram conductor 1897
An E&DTCo cable tram conductor, taken at the same location as above, possibly on the same day, wearing a typical E&DTCo horse tram crew uniform.


Edinburgh and District Tramways cable tram No 2 and crew Marchmont
Conductor and driver with Cable Tram No 2 at the top of Marchmont Rd, very likely taken in May 1900, shortly after opening. Both men are wearing the standard E&DTCo uniform, though seemingly without the piping on the kepi caps.


Edinburgh and District Tramways cable tram 194 conductor and driver
A nice, sharp study of Conductor 62 and Driver 61 with Cable Tram No 194 on a service for Gorgie via St Andrew St. This view is particularly significant as it has been postally used, so must have been taken before 3rd July 1904. Both subjects are wearing a completely new 'lancer' style of uniform with soft-topped caps and elaborate cap badges, presumably introduced during (or shortly after) the major conversions to cable haulage.


Edinburgh and District Tramways cable tram and crew
A cable tram conductor (left) and driver (right) flank a policeman at Comely Bank circa 1910.


Edinburgh and District Tramways cable tram driver 1910
A blow-up of the above photo, which clearly shows the distinctive cap badge (and military style cap) used throughout most if not all the Edwardian era, as well as the employee number on the collar (109). Note the chevron on the sleeve, which probably signifies either long service or good conduct.


Edinburgh and District Tramways early period driver Class 1 cap badge
Class 1 Driver's cap badge - nickel. These appear to have been issued to all tram staff following the introduction of the new E&DT cable tram services, and lasted through to the time of the Great War. Author's collection.


Edinburgh and District Tramways early period driver Class 2 cap badge
Class 2 Driver's cap badge - nickel. Author's collection.


Edinburgh and District Tramways cable tram conductor 1910
A blow-up of the Comely Bank photo above, showing the conductor.


Edinburgh and District Trawmays cap badge
Class 2 Conductor's cap badge - nickel. With thanks to Darren Lodge.


Edinburgh and District Tramways cap badge
Class 3 Conductor's cap badge - nickel. With thanks to Darren Lodge.



Edinburgh and District Tramways cable tram driver
Cable tram driver (possibly Employee No 294) poses for the cameraman with a service for Gorgie via St Andrew St - photo undated, but certainly taken in the Great War or shortly afterwards as the uncropped photo also has a conductress (see below). Note the new style of cap badge, which bears a diamond. The symbols (a diamond, a vertical bar or a crescent) denoted the class of conductor/driver, though which symbol represented which class is currently unclear.


Edinburgh and District Trawmays cap badge
Conductor cap badge (probably introduced shortly before the Great War) - brass and blue enamel with a diamond symbol. With thanks to Darren Lodge.


Edinburgh and District Tramways cap badge
Conductor cap badge (probably introduced shortly before the Great War) - brass and blue enamel with a vertical bar symbol. l. With thanks to Richard Bevington.


Edinburgh and District Tramways cap badge
Driver cap badge (probably introduced shortly before the Great War) - brass and blue enamel with a diamond symbol. With thanks to Alan Brotchie.


Motormen and conductors
Edinburgh and District Tramways Tram No 28 and crew
Car No 28 on the E&DTCo's solitary overhead electric line, Ardmillan Terrace to Slateford - photo undated, but probably taken during or shortly after the Great War (a soldier and a sailor are clearly visible).


Edinburgh and District Tramways motorman
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman. He is wearing an example of the brass and blue enamel cap badge that was introduced sometime before the Great War.


Edinburgh and District Tramways Tram No 64 and crew c1918
Motorman, fitter and conductor with overhead Electric Car No 64.


Senior staff
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Inspector, taken from the photo above of an ex-Edinburgh Northern Tramways Co cable tram in Inverleith Row - photo undated, but probably 1897. The subject's upper collars bear embroidered 'Inspector' badges, whilst his cap is devoid of insignia.


Edinburgh and District Tramways Company Inspector 1900
The same uniform was clearly being worn four years later in May 1900 - taken from the same photo as that above showing the crew of Cable Tram No 2 at Marchmont.


Female staff
Edinburgh and District Tramways Great War tram conductress
E&DTCo cable tram conductress - photo undated, but certainly taken during the Great War or shortly thereafter. The cap is in an unusually wide-crowned military style, and carries the later period E&DTCo brass and blue enamel cap badge. The belt buckle is certainly unusual, and given that it doesn't appear in any other conductress photos, was probably non standard, possibly military.


Edin  EDTCo 1230CROP
Another shot of a conductress on duty, this time clearly showing that the employee numbers (in this case 825) were worn on both the upright collars - dating from the Great War or shortly afterwards. Taken from the same photo of Driver 294 above. Her cap badge bears a diamond.


Edinburgh and District Tramways Great War tram conductress
A lovely studio portrait of an E&DTCo conductress, so sharp that even the buttons can be made out on magnification - undated, but certainly taken during the Great War or shortly thereafter. The cap badge on her rather large cap bears a diamond.


Edinburgh and District Tramways Great War tram conductress
Studio portrait of an E&DTCo conductress - photo undated, but certainly taken during the Great War or shortly thereafter. The badge probably bears a crescent in the centre, though this cannot be made out with certainty. The portrait was taken at Alpine's Studios, 26 Greenside Place, Edinburgh. Author's collection.


Edinburgh and District Tramways Great War conductress
Another charming studio portrait of an E&DTCo conductress - photo undated, but certainly taken during Great War or shortly thereafter. The badge has a vertical bar in the centre. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.