Cheltenham and District Light Railway

Summary
Motormen and conductors were issued with single-breasted tunics with five buttons (almost certainly in brass - see link), two breast pockets (with button closures) and upright collars; the latter carried individual brass initials, 'C & D' on the right-hand side and 'L R' on the left-hand side. Caps were initially in the kepi style with a stiff glossy peak and carried an 'off the shelf' script-lettering badge, either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor' (presumably in brass to match the buttons). At some point in the late Edwardian era, the caps were changed to a more modern military style with a tensioned corwn (top), though still retaining the same style of script-lettering grade badges. With the exception of the caps, the uniform essentially remained unchanged right through to the closure of the system on the last day of 1930.

Staff also wore double-breasted greatcoats/overcoats with two rows of five buttons; these appear to have been in two basic styles, an overcoat with lapels (for conductors), and a 'lancer'-style' greatcoat (with the buttons narrowing from top to bottom) with high fold-over collars and epaulettes (for motormen and inspectors). Photographs suggest that apart from the buttons, these coats were devoid of insignia.

Inspectors wore uniforms which were effectively identical to those worn by tramcar staff, the sole difference in the early days being in the script-lettering grade badge - 'Inspector' - worn on the kepi-style caps; the badge appears to have been in brass. The kepi caps were subsequently superseded by military-style caps, very probably at the same time as these were introduced for lower grades; these bore 'Inspector' in script-lettering, but embroidered rather than in brass. The only other change was in the collar insignia, with 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering replacing the earlier 'C & D' and 'L R' brass initials. The system's Chief Inspector (see below) also wore the same uniform, but with embroidered 'Chief Inspector' insignia.

In common with many tramway systems across the United Kingdom, during the Great War the C&DLR employed female staff - as conductresses and subsequently also as inspectresses (at least one) - to replace male staff lost to the armed services. The last lady employee was released on 3rd October 1919. Surviving photos are unfortunately of poor quality, though they do reveal enough to say that female staff were issued with single-breasted, tailored jackets with four or five buttons and lapels; a long matching skirt was also worn. Headgear appears to have taken the form of a wide brimmed straw bonnet, though this may have been specifically for summer use. It is assumed that these hats bore the standard script-lettering grade badges worn by male tramcar crews, though this cannot be stated with certainty.

For a history of the Cheltenham and District Light Railway, see 'Cheltenham's Trams and Early Buses' by Colin Martin; Tempus Publishing Limited (2001).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Cheltenham and District Light Railway Tram No 2 and crew
USA-built Tramcar No 2 with crew at the Lansdowne Castle terminus some time between 1902 and 1905. Although it is difficult to make out on this particular photograph, the kepi caps carry script-lettering cap badges, 'Conductor' and 'Motorman', respectively. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Cheltenham and District Light Railway Tram No 2 and crew
Tramcar No 2 again, this time at the Charlton Kings terminus, and in later livery - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid Edwardian era. Photo courtesy of the Colin Martin Collection.


Cheltenham and District Light Railway cap badges
Standard ‘off the shelf’ script-lettering cap badges of the type used by Cheltenham and District Light Railway - brass.


Cheltenham and District Light Railway tram staff photo 1905
Staff photo at St Marks Depot - probably taken in 1905. All the uniformed staff are wearing kepi-style caps. Photo courtesy of the Colin Martin Collection.


Cheltenham and District Light Railway tram drivers and conductors
Blow-up of the above photo showing details of the uniforms, caps and badges. The right-hand collars carry 'C & D' initials and the left, 'L R', whilst the caps carry standard script-lettering grade badges.


Cheltenham and District Light Railway Tram No 18 and crew
Conductor and motorman pose with Tramcar No 18 at the terminus at Leckhampton - photo undated, but probably taken in the late Edwardian era. Although the uniforms are unchanged from the earlier photos above, both men are now wearing military-style caps with tensioned crowns (tops). Photo courtesy of the Colin Martin Collection.


Cheltenham and District Light Railway Tram No 14 and crew
Conductor "Ossie" Wildsmith and Motorman Bill Austin with Tramcar No 14 at the Leckhampton terminus - photo purportedly taken in 1912. Photo courtesy of the Colin Martin Collection.


Cheltenham and District Light Railway Tram No 7 and crew
Tramcar No 7 and crew at Southam - photo undated, but probably taken shortly before the Great War. Photo courtesy of the Colin Martin Collection.


Cheltenham and District Light Railway Tram No 7 and crew
The crew of Tramcar No 7 pose for the cameraman at the Cleeve Hill terminus - photo undated, but probably taken just prior to or after the Great War. The conductor is wearing an overcoat, and the motorman a 'lancer-style' greatcoat. Photo courtesy of the Colin Martin Collection.


Cheltenham and District Light Railway staff photo 1923
Staff photo taken outside the tramcar sheds at St Marks in 1923. Photo courtesy of the Colin Martin Collection.


Cheltenham and District Light Railway tram conductors and inspectors
Blow-up of the above photo showing a group of motormen and conductors. Photo courtesy of the Colin Martin Collection.


Inspectors
Cheltenham and District Light Railway tram inspectors
Blow-up of the 1905 staff photo above, showing three inspectors. The uniforms only appear to differ from those of the tramcar staff in one respect, namely, a script-lettering 'Inspector' cap badge, which appears to have been metal (brass) rather than embroidered, as was frequently the case on other systems. Photo courtesy of the Colin Martin Collection.


Brass Inspector script cap badge tramway
Script-lettering 'Inspector' cap badge of the pattern worn in the early days of the system - brass.


Cheltenham and District Light Railway tram inspector
An inspector, in greatcoat, stands on the platform of Tramcar No 4 at Oaklands in Prestbury Rd, on the route to Cleeve Hill - photo undated, but probably late Edwardian. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum; background information from Colin Martin.


Cheltenham and District Light Railway tram inspector
Blow-up of the 1923 staff photo above, showing Inspector Bill Flook (left) and Chief Inspector Harry Hales (right). Photo courtesy of the Colin Martin Collection.


Female staff
Cheltenham and District Light Railway depot staff
A staff photograph taken outside St Marks Depot showing a large number of female employees - photo undated, but almost certainly taken during or shortly after the Great War. Photo courtesy of the Colin Martin Collection.


Cheltenham and District Light Railway tramcar No 14
A poor quality but rare photo of a C&DLR conductress aboard a tramcar (No 14) - photo undated, but almost certainly taken during the Great War. Photo courtesy of the Colin Martin Collection - source unknown.