Cardiff District and Penarth Harbour Tramways Company

Cardiff's second horse tramway, which opened on the 29th November 1881, was built and owned by the Cardiff District and Penarth Harbour Tramways Company. The CD&PHTCo chose not to operate the tramway itself, but to lease it to a local omnibus proprietor and entrepreneur, Solomon Andrews. The latter was however engaged in a bitter struggle with Cardiff's other horse tramway — owned by the Cardiff Tramways Company — so his entry into tramway operation probably upped the ante even further.

The company's system was essentially a single line, built to standard gauge, and running for 2.41 miles from Adamsdown in the east of Cardiff to Grangetown in the west.

In 1887, Andrews approached the CTCo's parent company — the Provincial Tramways Company — offering either to buy the PTCo's tramway and bus interests, or sell his to them. Agreement was soon reached, the PTCo purchasing Solomon Andrews' transport interests in Cardiff, Portsmouth and Plymouth, where he had also set up in opposition to PTCo-owned tramways. As a direct consequence of this, the PTCo became the lessee of the CD&PHT, operation of which it passed onto its subsidiary, the CTCo. The CTCo took over the running of the tramway on the 1st April 1888, and though the CD&PHT line crossed the tracks of the CTCo at two points, as far as is known, the two systems were operated completely independently.

Financial details of the concern are unclear, but as it lasted for two decades, it must have been at least moderately profitable.

In 1898, the corporation acquired powers to build and run its own electric tramway, as well as to compulsorily purchase the tramway assets of the the CD&PHTCo and the CTCo. Although the corporation took possession of the CTCo's tracks on the 1st January 1902, as well as its tramway assets (cars and horses etc.), it was unable to agree a price with the CD&PHTCo for its line and assets. The CTCo therefore continued to work the CD&PHTCo's line (as the lessee) until the 10th of February 1903, when the corporation finally took possession. The line was immediately closed for conversion to electric traction.

To the best of my knowledge, only a single photograph of the tramway has survived that shows a CD&PHTCo conductor (see below), so what follows is based on very thin evidence indeed. During the period when the line was leased to Solomon Andrews (1881 to 1887), drivers, who were provided by the lessee, wore informal attire, most likely smart jackets, shirts and ties, along with the fashionable headgear of the day, almost certainly the bowler hat. Conductors on the other hand were provided by the company, and the photo below strongly suggests that they were issued with uniforms. Whilst conductors were definitely issued with overcoats, it is currently unclear whether uniform jackets were worn underneath. The overcoats were double-breasted with four pairs of buttons (pattern unknown) and lapels; the latter appear to have carried some kind of insignia, possibly embroidered. Headgear took the form of squat kepi-style caps; they had a stiff glossy peak and bore some kind of badge, possibly script lettering, the precise form of which is unfortunately unclear.

Following the acquisition of the lease by the PTCo in 1888, the tramway was operated by the CTCo. The latter never provided its drivers with uniforms, so in all likelihood, drivers working the CD&PHT continued to wear informal attire right up to its closure in 1903. It is unclear whether the CD&PHTCo continued to provide conductors, or whether the CTCo eventually took on these duties too.

Photographs of inspectors have not survived, but given the small size of the operation, it seems reasonably likely that the CD&PHTCo did not employ them.

Further reading
For a very brief history of the CD&PHT, see 'The Age of the Horse Tram' by David Voice; Adam Gordon Publishing (2009).


Horse tram drivers and conductors
Cardiff District and Penarth Harbour Tramways Tram No 50 and staff
A photo of what may well be the entire conducting staff of the CD&PHT, along with a fairly new looking Horsecar No 50 — although the location and date are unknown, the high number of the horsecar means that it was definitely taken in the days when the Cardiff Tramways Company were providing the service, i.e., after the 1st April 1887. The style of clothing suggests that it was taken in the late 1880s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Cardiff District and Penarth Harbour Tramways Tram No 5 crossing St Mary St
A blow-up of the above photo showing the uniformed staff, who are wearing double-breasted overcoats with lapels, along with kepi-style caps. The driver (on the platform) is not wearing a uniform, which is consistent with written records, which state that the lessee provided these men, whilst conductors were provided by the CD&PHTCo.

A photo of what is almost certainly a CD&PHT horsecar (No 5) crossing St Mary St from Custom House St - photo undated, but possibly taken in the 1890s. The driver is clearly wearing a bowler hat, suggesting that he is wearing informal clothing. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.