Gravesend, Rosherville and Northfleet Tramways

Summary
Photos of the first 15 years of the tramway's existence are very scarce indeed, however, those which have survived clearly show that staff were issued with uniforms comprising double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons and lapels, along with soft topped caps. The upper lapels (collars) appear to have borne some kind of insignia, possibly embroidered, the exact form of which remains unknown. The caps appear not to have borne any badges, though this cannot be stated with certainty given the poor quality of the surviving photographs. In later years, uniforms appear to have been dispensed with altogether in favour of informal but robust attire, along with the fashionable headgear of the day.

A single photograph (the first below) suggests that the services of an inspector may have been employed, and if so, it would seem that he was issued with a single-breasted jacket with lapels, and the same type of soft-topped cap used by the tramcar crews. It is unclear if badges of any kind were worn.

For a history of Gravesend's Tramways, see: 'The Tramways of Kent- Volume 1, West Kent' by Invicta; The Light Railway Transport League (1971).

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
Gravesend, Rosherville and Northfleet Tramways horse tram
This photo is purportedly of one of the orginal single-deck horsecars, which were purchased new in 1883 - photo undated, but judging by the appalling state of the tram, probably taken in the mid 1890s. Three of the individuals are wearing uniforms and soft-topped caps. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Gravesend, Rosherville and Northfleet Tramways horse tram
A blow-up of the above photo showing two of the uniformed individuals, probably the conductor (left), whose jacket collars appear to bear embroidered insignia, and an inspector (right). There seems to be no sign of a cap badge, though the photograph is of too poor a quality for this to be conclusive.


Gravesend, Rosherville and Northfleet Tramways horse tram
Obviously an event worthy of celebration, but sadly one now lost in the mists of time. The tram is a second-hand replacement (obtained in 1898) for the decrepit single-deckers that had netted the company much public criticism. The only individual wearing a uniform is the youth on the right, who is, in all probability, a postman. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice


Gravesend, Rosherville and Northfleet Tramways horse tram 2
Another late shot (post 1898) taken outside the depot at Northfleet, near the 'Leather Bottel', this time of Horsecar No 2. Once again, no-one present is wearing either a uniform or a cap. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.