Coventry Electric Tramways

Summary
Motormen and conductors wore double-breasted jackets with two rows of three buttons, three waist-level pockets (with flap closures), an open breast pocket, and lapels; neither the lapels nor the collars appear to have borne any insignia. Caps were in the kepi style with a glossy peak, and carried - at least from around the turn of the century, and possibly from the inauguration of electric services - a large oval cap badge. All that can be said with certainty is that the badge comprised a tall oval topped by a small device of some description. This general form is however strikingly similar to that used by the CETCo's sister company, the Norwich Electric Tramways Company, which consisted of a horizontal oval comprising the full company title around an employee number, all surmounted by a lion (see link). It therefore seems reasonable to suggest that the CETCo cap badge may possibly also have borne the full company title and an employee number. Unfortunately, no examples are known to have survived.

Later in the company's existence, and before it was taken over by Coventry Corporation in 1912, the kepi-style caps were superseded by soft-topped caps; these continued to bear the distinctive oval cap badge, and were worn with white rain covers (presumably in summer only).

Staff were also issued with long, double-breasted overcoats with two rows of four buttons and lapels; the latter appear, like the jackets, to have been devoid of insignia.

It is unclear what uniforms were worn by inspectors, as photographic evidence is currently lacking.

For an historical account of the tramways of Coventry, see 'Coventry Transport 1884-1940' by A S Denton and F P Groves (Birmingham Transport Historical Group; 1985).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Coventry Electric Tramways Tramcar No 1 and Trailer No 9
Tramcar No 1 and Trailer No 9 pictured at Foleshill Rd - photo undated, but certainly taken no later than 1898/9 when the latter vehicle was electrified. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Coventry Electric Tramways motorman 1898
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman, who is wearing a double-breasted jacket and kepi-style cap, the latter seemingly without a badge, though the photo is too indistinct to state this with any degree of certainty.


Coventry Electric Tramways tram No 20
Motorman and conductor with Tramcar No 20 leaving Broadgate - photo undated, but probably taken around 1900 (this vehicle was transferred to Norwich in 1904). The motorman is wearing a kepi-style cap which bears a prominent oval cap badge. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Coventry Electric Tramways Tram No 18 and crew
The crew of Tramcar No 18, possibly pictured at Binley Rd - photo undated, but probably taken around the turn of the century. Both men are wearing double-breasted jackets with kepi-style caps, which bear a prominent oval cap badge. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Coventry Electric Tramways Tram No 9 and crew
Motorman and conductor with Tramcar No 9 in Binley Road, Stoke - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid-Edwardian era given that the body pictured was only put into service in 1904 (it was formerly from a tram trailer). Both men are wearing overcoats. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Coventry Electric Tramways Tram No 22 and crew
The crew of Tramcar No 22 pose for the cameraman - photo undated, but given the pristine condition of the vehicle, probably taken in the year it was delivered, 1904. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Coventry Electric Trmaways Tram No 22 and crew 1904
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crew.


Coventry Electric Tramways tram No 34 driver and conductor
Conductor and Motorman pose on the platform of Tramcar No 34 - photo undated, but certainly taken after 1907, when this vehicle was delivered. Photo reproduced with the kind permission of Mr T Wilson of Travel Lens Photographic.


Coventry Electric Tramways
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor's uniform and cap badge; the latter clearly takes the form of a tall oval with a protruburance at the top.


Coventry Electric Tramways tram driver and Tram No 35
CETCoLtd motorman at the controls of what is believed to be Tramcar No 35 - photo undated, but judging by the rather lop-sided dash and general feel of neglect, probably taken shortly before or shortly after the corporation take-over of 1912. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Coventry Electric Tramways tram driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the uniform, which in contrast to the tram, appears to be pristine. The jacket is totally devoid of insignia, whilst the earlier kepi-style caps had, by this time, clearly been superseded by soft-topped caps. Although no cap badge is in evidence, this could either be because it is covered by the white rain cover, or because the photo post-dates the corporation take-over.


Coventry Electric Tramways Tram No 4
Motorman and conductor with one of the four original tramcars (No 4) - photo undated, but probably taken in the late Edwardian era. Both men are wearing soft-topped caps with white rain covers, though with the earlier badge still clearly in evidence. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.