Dover Corporation Tramways

Summary
Dover was notable for being the first true electric street tramway in the south of England, opening on the 6th September 1897. Staff were issued with smart double-breasted jackets with two closely spaced rows of four buttons - presumably brass (see link) - and lapels; the latter carried an oval cloth badge with embroidered lettering and an employee number. Caps were in the kepi style with a glossy peak and appear to have carried a block-lettering badge, possibly the bearer's grade and more than likely, embroidered. At some point, probably in the Edwardian era, a switch was made to more modern military style of cap with a tensioned crown (top); these carried a hat band with two rows of lettering: 'TRAMWAY DRIVER' or 'TRAMWAY CONDUCTOR'.

Over the years, the basic style of the uniforms changed little, save for slight alterations to the cut as fashions changed. Jackets remained double-breasted with closely spaced buttons, but with a fifth row added between the lower and upper lapels; although these were probably buttons - seemingly larger than the set of eight on the main body of the jacket - there remains a possibility that they could have been badges, as photographs are of insufficient quality to discern this. The cloth badge on the upper lapels was at some point dispensed with, being superseded by individual brass employee numbers. Tramcar staff were also issued with double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons, the lapels of which appear to have carried the same insignia as used on the jackets.

A photograph has survived of a Chief Inspector (see below), and it seems highly likely that inspectors wore similar uniforms. Jackets and caps appear to have been identical to tramcar staff, presumably only differing in respect of the upper lapel badges and the hat band badge.

Like many tramway systems during the Great War, Dover suffered from a loss of male staff to the armed forces, eventually responding to this by taking on lady staff, as conductresses. The only surviving photo of a Great War conductress in a uniform jacket and skirt, rather than a long overcoat, is unfortunately of poor quality (see below), though it does show the jackets to have been single-breasted with a waist belt (with button fastening) and lapels. It is currently unclear what insignia these jackets bore. The long coats worn over the top of the jackets were double-breasted with two rows of six buttons and high fold-over collars; the latter carried the designation 'TRAMWAY CONDUCTOR' - in embroidered block letters - above an employee number. Headgear took the form of a wide-brimmed, dark-coloured straw bonnet - possibly for summer wear - which appears not to have carried any insignia, but instead were sometimes adorned with bows or rosettes, presumably of the ladies' own making. One photo suggests that more robust cloth caps/bonnets were also issed, presumably for winter use.

Images

Motormen and conductors
Dover Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 10 and driver
Motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 10 near the Royal Hotel - photo undated, but probably taken around the turn of the century after No 10 had been motorised (it was originally supplied as a trailer). The kepi-style cap appears to bear a badge of unknown pattern. With thanks to Ray Woodmore.


Dover Corporation Tramways Tram No 6
Fitter, conductor and motorman pictured with Tramcar No 6 outside Maxton depot around the turn of the century. Both men are wearing kepi-style caps with what appears to be a line of block lettering, probably an embroidered grade badge. Source unknown.


Dover Corporation Tramways motormen at Buckland Depot
Employees 15, 5 (?) and 16, all motormen (called drivers in Dover) pose for the cameraman outside Buckland Depot - photo undated, but probably taken shortly after the Great War. Author's collection.


Dover Corporation Trmaways Tram Driver
Blow-up of the above photo, showing Employee No 16's embroidered 'TRAMWAY DRIVER' cap badge, as well as the buttons (probably) on the lapels.


Dover Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 8 and crew
Motorman and conductor with Tramcar No 8 at or near the Maxton terminus in 1926, the year this car was acquired from Darlington Corporation Light Railways. Photo possibly by H Nicol, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Dover Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 3 and crew
A very youthful looking conductor and his motorman, with Tramcar No 8 outside the Swan Hotel with a service for Buckland - photo undated, but definitely taken after 1927 when this car was acquired from West Hartlepool Corporation Tramways. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Dover Corporation Tramways Tram No 4 River Terminus with crew
Motorman and conductor pose for the cameraman at the terminus of the River route with Tramcar No 4 in 1935. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Dover Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 3 at the Pier 1935
Motorman with Tramcar No 3 (an ex-Hartlepool vehicle) at the Pier terminus in 1935. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Senior staff
Dover Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 18 and crew
Chief Inspector Pay, a conductor and a motorman all pose for the camera at Buckland with what appears to be a newly outshopped Tramcar No 18 - photo undated, but certainly taken between February 1918 when E H Bond became General Manager (see tramcar rocker panel) and 1923 when this car was withdrawn. Whilst the Chief Inspector still has an embroidered badge on his upper lapels, both the conductor and motorman have the extra row of buttons and employee numbers on their lapels. Author's collection.

Female staff
Dover Corporation Tramways conductresses,
Studio shot of eleven Dover conductresses - photo undated, but almost certainly taken during the Great War. The lady on the back row at the extreme left is Mrs Clare Kelby, whilst the lady standing next to her is a Mrs Brewster. Photo courtesy of David Burridge.


Dover Corporation Tramways conductresses
Blow up of the above photo showing one of the conductresses. Her overcoat collars carry the designation 'TRAMWAY CONDUCTOR', along with an employee number, all embroidered. Photo courtesy of David Burridge.


Dover Corporation Trawmays Tram No 23 and Great War conductress
Conductress and motorman aboard Tramcar No 23 - photo undated, but almost certainly taken during the Great War. Source unknown.


Dover Corporation Tramways Great War tram conductress
A blow-up of the above photo reveals the conductress to be wearing a tailored, single-breasted jacket with lapels.