Cardiff Tramways Company

Photographs of Cardiff's horse tramways are surprisingly rare, and so far I have only seen the two examples shown below. The first shot was very probably taken on the opening day (12th July 1872), and shows a multitude of civic dignitaries, but only one regular employee, namely, the driver of the first horse car. This strongly suggests that drivers wore informal, heavy duty attire, along with the fashionable headgear of the day, in this case the ubiquitous bowler hat; it was in general rare for UK horse tram operators to issue uniforms to drivers. As no conductors are in evidence, it is currently impossible to say whether or not they wore uniforms in the early years of operation.

In later decades however, uniforms were most certainly issued to conductors (see below). These consisted of double-breasted overcoats with two rows of four buttons (presumably brass script initials, 'CTCL' - see link) and lapels; the latter appear to have carried some kind of insignia, possibly embroidered. Squat kepi-style caps were issued; these had a stiff glossy peaks and bore some kind of badge, possibly script lettering, the precise form of which is unfortunately unclear.


Horse tram drivers and conductors
Cardiff Tramways Company
A very early horse-tramway era photograph depicting several cars of the Cardiff Tramways Company in High St, on what was almost certainly the opening day of services (12th July 1872). The only horsecar employee in evidence is the driver of the first tram, who is wearing informal attire, a very common practice amongst UK horse tram operators. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Cardiff Tramways Company
Group photo of Cardiff Tramways Company employees with Horsecar No 3 - location and date unknown, though probably 1880s or early 1890s from the style of the bowler hats (with thanks to Jayne Shrimpton for this information). It seems probable that horsecar staff continued to wear these uniforms following the corporation takeover, and possibly up until the last horsecar ran. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.