City of Oxford and District Tramways

Summary
Oxford's horse tramway was operated for some twenty-five years by the City of Oxford and District Tramways Company, before eventually being purchased by the local authority (in 1906), which subsequently leased it to a newly formed company, the City of Oxford Electric Tramways Limited.

Although surviving photographs are not of the highest quality quality, they clearly show that up until the mid-Edwardian era, conductors and drivers simply wore informal but robust attire - trousers, jackets, waistcoats, shirts and ties. Headgear appears to have followed the fashion of the day, predominantly the bowler hat, though this gradually gave way to the flat cap as the years wore on. No badges of any kind were worn on either the jackets or the hats.

By the time of the council take-over (1906), conductors were being issued with uniforms, or were at least expected to wear clothing that conformed to a uniform specification; official caps were in the military style and bore a prominent cap badge of unknown pattern. During this period, drivers and conductors were also expected to wear enamel licences (possibly of the type depicted below), though these appear to have fallen out of use if surviving photographs are anything to go by.

It is currently unclear what uniforms, if any, inspectors wore.

Thanks to John Perkin for the background information.

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
City of Oxford and District Tramways horse tram No 9
Conductor and driver with Horsecar No 9 at the Kingston Rd terminus - photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1890s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


City of Oxford and District Tramways horse tram No 9
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crew, both of whom are wearing informal attire. Neither man is wearing a municipal licence.


City of Oxford and District Tramways horse tram
Driver and conductor, once again in informal attire - probably taken in the mid-to-late 1890s at the Cowley Road terminus. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


City of Oxford and District Tramways horse tram No 18
The crew of Horsecar No 18 pose for the cameraman at the Cowley Road terminus in September 1906. By this time, conductors were clearly being issued with uniforms and cap badges. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


City of Oxford and District Tramways horse tram No 18
A blow-up of the above photo, which though of poor quality, clearly shows that both men are also wearing municipal licences, more than likely the same pattern as that shown below.


City of Oxford horse tram driver's licence
Possible horse tram driver's municipal licence - Oxford - yellow and black enamel. The Police Committee of Oxford City Council accepted a quote - on 3rd April 1890 - from the Patent Enamel Co. Ltd., for 300 badges for drivers and conductors at 1/- (one shilling) each (included cab drivers), and the tram crew badges were requested to be white lettering on yellow enamel. It is therefore unclear whether the supplier did not meet the precise specification, or whether this badge is a later issue or indeed that it was for use by bus crews. WIth thanks to Nick Taylor for this information.


City of Oxford and District Tramways horse tram
Double-deck Horsecar No 11 at the Cowley Road terminus, in the penultimate year of operation, 1913. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Oxford - 13CROP
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver (right), in informal attire, and the conductor (centre), in uniform, cap and cap badge. Curiously, neither man appears to be wearing a municipal licence.