Great Grimsby Street Tramways

Summary
The Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company operated trams in Grimsby and Cleethorpes for just over 55 years, initially horse-drawn, but from late 1901, wholly electric.

In common with many early tramways, staff operating the horse-drawn services wore robust but informal attire. Drivers usually wore a smart jacket and trousers, along with a coachman's coat (or similar) and bowler hat, though by the mid 1890s, the latter was increasingly being superseded by the flat cap; conductors tended to be very young in the first decade of operation, again wearing robust jacket and trousers, but with a closely fitting flat cap. No badges of any kind were carried, inclusive of licences.

Following electrification, tramcar staff were issued with double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons, presumably nickel and bearing a monogram of system initials (see link), three waist-level pockets (with flap closures) and lapels; the latter appear to have borne an embroidered badge of some description, possibly the grade or system initials. Caps were soft-topped with a glossy peak and were relatively squat; photographs suggest that they may have borne embroidered script lettering, though this cannot unfortunately be made out on surviving photographs. At some point, probably in the late-Edwardian era, a change was made to a markedly more robust design of jacket, though very similar to the original in form; the lapels bore individual system initals - 'G T C' - on each side, presumably in nickel to match the buttons. The caps were probably changed at the same time to a smarter military-style with tensioned crown (top); like the collars, they bore the system initals - 'G T C' - in individual nickel initials. It is unclear why the GGSTCo chose to proclaim their full title on the tramcar rocker panels and the full initials on the buttons, but then saw fit to use a shortened form on the caps and collars. A few photographs exist which suggest that a new cap badge - probably circular in form with a horizontal bar (or possibly diamond-shaped) - was introduced in the 1930s; an example of this badge has yet to come to light, so the precise details remain unknown.

Tramcar crews were also issued with double-breasted greatcoats and overcoats (with lapels); these appear to have been plain in the early years, but later on bore 'G T C' initials on the collars.

A single photograph has survived from the horse tram era which shows an individual in a kepi cap who may well be an inspector, though this is far from certain. During the early electric era, it is possible that inspectors wore virtually identical uniforms to the tramcar crews, only differing in the embroidered grade (presumably). Unfortunately, photographs of inspectors from the mid-Edwardian era onwards have not survived, so it is currently impossible to describe the uniforms they wore.

In common with the vast majority of UK tramway systems, the GGSTCo employed women during the Great War - as conductresses - to replace male staff lost to the armed services; unfortunately and to date, no photographs have come to light.

For a history of the Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company, see: 'The Tramways of Grimsby, Immingham and Cleethorpes' by J H Price; Light Rail Transit Association.

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company Horse Tram no 4
An early shot of one of the GGSTCo's original one-horse vehicles - photo undated, but judging by the condition, probably taken in the early-to-mid 1880s. Both driver and conductor (the latter at the rear) are wearing informal attire. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways Carr Lane depot staff photo 1885
A staff photo taken at Carr Lane (later renamed Park St) depot in 1885. The men at the rear are presumably drivers - most in bowler hats - whilst the boys at the front, with cashbags, and in flat caps, are presumably conductors. Photo courtesy of the Jill Smith collection.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company Horse Tram no 11 1890
What would appear to be a virtually new Horsecar No 11 outside Carr Lane depot, dating the photo to 1890. Photo courtesy of the Jill Smith collection.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways horse tram staff
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver (on the platform) and two conductors (the boy on the platform and the individual on the extreme left), all of whom are wearing informal attire without insignia of any kind.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company Horse Tram No 10
The crew of Horsecar No 10 pose for the cameraman at the Albert Road terminus in Cleethorpes in 1890. Both men are wearing informal attire. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways Horse tram No 12 at Cleethorpes in 1900
The crew of Horsecar No 12 pose for the cameraman, again at the Albert Road terminus, but in 1900; this Number 12 was the second horsecar with that number. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Great Grimsby STreet Tramways Co horse tram driver 1900
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver, in flat cap and what is probably a self-purchased greatcoat. Whilst the round object on his left breast could be a municipal licence, no other photo shows one, so in all likelihood it is not.


Motormen and conductors

Great Grimsby Street Tramways Tram No 25
A posed photograph of GGSTCo No 25, which judging from its excellent condition, was probably taken in the year it entered into service, 1903. Photo courtesy of the Jill Smith collection.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways conductor 1903
A blow up of the photograph above showing the conductor. It is very difficult so judge whether the jacket or cap carries badges, but if so, then they were probably embroidered given the lack of a reflection.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways tram no 23 1911
Tramcar No 23, decorated for the coronation of George V, is pictured outside Pelham Road depot in June 1911. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways tram conductors 1911
A blow-up of the above photo showing the two conductors. The collar insignia appear to be embroidered, whilst all that can be seen on the rather squat soft-topped caps is the shiny chin strap.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways conductor Great War
A rather youthful-looking GGSTCo conductor, suggesting that the photo was taking during the Great War, when many older company employees signed up for the armed services. His collar insignia appear to be 'G T C', rather than the full system initials, which would have been 'G G S T C'. It is difficult to say whether he is wearing a cap badge, but if so, then it would appear to have been embroidered. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth collection.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways conductor
GGSTCo conductor - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s. Although he could be a bus conductor, this seems unlikely given that the GGSTCo worked the buses under the name of its parent company, 'The Provincial Tramways Company'. Photo courtesy of the Jill Smith collection.


Great Grimsby Street Trawmays conductor 1920s
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the cap and collar badges, both individual metal initials, ' G T C'.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways tram No 40
A rather poor quality photograph, but one which shows a crew in light-coloured dust jackets at the helm of open-top 'Tram Coach' No 40 - photo undated, but definitely taken between its introduction in 1921 and its departure to the Portsmouth and Horndean Tramways in early 1925. The conductor is wearing individual 'G T C' initials on his cap. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Great Grimsby Street Tramaays Tram No 22 at Kingsway
The crew of Tramcar No 22 (ex Gosport and Fareham Tramways) chat whilst waiting at the Kingsway terminus in Cleethorpes on the 25th June 1933. Photo by M J O'Connor, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways tram crew 1933
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman and conductor. The conductor's left-hand lapel bears individual system initials - 'G T C' - whereas his cap appears to bear a roughly diamond-shaped badge.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways tramcar crew 1930s
The crew of an unidentified tramcar - clearly good mates - pose for the camera late in GGSTCo days; the conductor is B Robinson. Both men are wearing a cap badge that appears to be circular with a horizontal bar. Photo courtesy of the Jill Smith collection.



Senior staff
Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company inspector
A blow-up of the 1903 shot of Tram No 25 above, showing the motorman (right) and a figure who may well be an inspector. If so, then the uniform would seem to have been virtually identical to that worn by tramcar crews, probably only differing in respect of the embroidered grade badges.


Great Grimsby Street Tramways Tramcar No 11
Tramcar No 11 with a figure (left) who is in all probability an inspector (the conductor is on the top deck) - photo undated, but probably early Edwardian. In common with the tramcar crew, he appears to be wearing a coat and cap without obvious insignia - at least photographically - suggesting that if they did bear badges, that they were embroidered. Photo courtesy of the Jill Smith collection.


Female staff
Grimsby Provincial Tramways conductresses
A group of Provincial Tramways Company bus conductresses at Park Rd depot - photo undated, but almost certainly taken in the 1920s. The 'Provincial' was the GGTCo's parent company, and in Grimsby, chose to run buses under their own name. Whether these uniforms in any way reflect those worn by the ladies wo worked on the trams, is currently unclear. Photo courtesy of the Jill Smith collection.