Coventry and District Tramways

Steam-hauled services began some time in 1884, under the auspices of the Coventry and District Tramways Company. It appears to have been a rather impecunious affair, and one which suffered from under-capitalisation, frequent service interruptions (due to failures and derailments), and crucially, significant local opposition. It struggled on 'til 1893, before finally succumbing, and it was to be another two years before a tram would grace the streets of Coventry again, with the introduction of electric services (see link).

Although photographs of the Coventry and District Tramways (1884 to 1893) undertaking are very rare, and shots showing tramway staff in anything like close up are rarer still, those that have survived clearly show that drivers wore very similar attire to their railway counterparts, namely: heavy cotton trousers and jackets, probably light in colour (when clean!), along with a soft-topped cap; no cap badge was worn. Conductors wore smart but informal attire: shirt, tie and jacket, along with whatever hat was the local fashion, in this case the soft-topped cap; no insignia of any kind (including licences) was carried.

Photographs of inspectors have not survived, and indeed, it is far from clear whether the C&DTCo ever employed them.

Further reading
For more information on Coventry's steam tramway, see: 'A History of the British Steam Tram, Volume 3, Pages 11-16 by David Gladwin; Adam Gordon Publishing (2006).


Steam tram drivers and conductors
Coventry and District Tramways Falcon Steam Tram and crew
An unidentified Falcon steam tram and crew pose for the cameraman outside Foleshill Depot — photo undated, but judging by the relatively good condition of the trailer, probably taken in the late 1880s or early 1890s.

Coventry and District Tramways steam tram driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver, in cotton overalls/jacket and with soft-topped cap. His appearance betrays the filthy nature of the job.

Coventry and District Tramways steam tram conductor
Another blow-up of the above photo, this time showing the conductor. He is wearing smart but informal attire, along with a soft-topped cap. The round object on his cashbag strap is probably the buckle.

Coventry and District Tramways STeam
Driver and conductor pose with a Falcon steam tram and trailer outside Foleshill Depot — photo undated, but probably taken very late in the system's life (it closed in 1893), given that the engine appears to be markedly more decrepit than the one in the previous photo. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.