Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill Nether Tramways

Summary
Images showing staff of the Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill Nether Tramways are relatively uncommon, so what follows is based upon a small number of photos, all of them late in the system's life.

Motormen wore double-breasted 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom), and upright collars; the latter do not appear to have carried any insignia whatsoever. At least by the early 1920s, and possibly from the inauguration of services, conductors wore double-breasted jackets with two rows of five buttons and lapels; it is unclear whether the lapels carried any insignia, but probably not. A change was later made - for conductors only' - to a single-breasted jacket with five buttons, two breast pockets (with button closures), upright collars and epaulettes (again with button closures); neither the collars nor the epaulettes carried badges of any kind. Caps were in the military style and carried a standard, 'off the shelf', script-lettering grade badge, either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor'; it is currently unclear whether the badges and buttons were brass or nickel. Tramcar crews were also issued with double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons and high fold-over collars; no badges of any kind were worn.

Inspectors wore single-breasted jackets edged in a finer material than the main body, with hidden buttons - or an hook and eye affair - two slit breast pockets and upright collars; the latter carried the designation 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering. Caps were, up until the 1920s, in the kepi-style with a pom pom on top, later being changed to a more modern military style; both styles carried the designation 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering, probably on a hat band.

In common with the vast majority of UK Tramway systems, women were employed as conductresses during the Great War to replace men lost to the armed services. Photographs of these ladies are however yet to surface, so until they do, details of the uniforms they wore remain unknown.

For a detailed history of the Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill Nether Tramways, see 'The Tramways of Dewsbury and Wakefield' by W Pickles; Light Rail Transit Association (1980).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill Nether Tramways Church Street tram depot photograph
Staff photo taken at the depot in Church St, Ossett - photo undated, but more than likely taken in the early 1920s. Author's collection.


Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill Nether Tramways conductors and motormen
Blow-up of the above photo showing several conductors (in double-breasted jackets with lapels) and a motorman (in double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunic). The cap badges are standard, 'off-the-shelf', script-lettering grade badges.


Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill Nether Tramways cap badges
General pattern script-lettering cap badges - Motorman and Conductor - of the type used by Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill Nether Tramways. It is currently unknown whether they used brass or nickel.


Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill Nether Tramways staff photo
An assemblage of three inspectors, two motormen, two conductors, fitters and clerical staff at Church Rd depot - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s. Author's collection.


Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill Nether Tramways Church Street tram depot photograph
Another Church St depot shot, this one probably taken in the 1930s. Author's collection.


Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill Nether Tramways conductors and motormen
Blow-up of the above photo showing several conductors (now in single-breasted jackets) and motormen (still wearing double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics).


Senior staff
Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill Nether Tramways Inspector
Blow-up of the early 1920s staff photo above, showing one of the inspectors. He is wearing a kepi-style cap with pom pom on top, which would by this time have been considered to be distinctly old fashioned.


Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill Nether Tramways inspector
Blow-up of the late 1920s staff photo above, showing one of the inspectors. The collars and the military-style cap all bear the grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered script lettering.