Gosport and Fareham Tramways

Summary
The Gosport and Fareham Tramways were owned by the Provincial Tramways Company, and were essentially the fruit of the latter's scheme to electrify the old Gosport horse tramway system. The first services began life on the 20th December 1905, and ended just over 25 years later with the last tram on the last day of 1929.

Photographs depicting Gosport and Fareham Tramways staff are relatively rare, and those showing tramcar staff in close up are rarer still. Photos from the early days of operation seem to show staff wearing sturdy jackets and flat caps, effectively the same attire as they had worn in the latter days of the horse tramway system (Gosport Street Tramways). In one sense this is unsurprising, as there was no break in ownership between Gosport Street Tramways and Gosport and Fareham Tramways, the parent company of both being Portsmouth Street Tramways Company (a subsidiary of the Provincial Tramways Company).

Uniforms were certainly introduced at some stage, but when is unclear, and the precise form of the jackets and the type of badges worn is unknown. All that can be said with certainty is that military style peaked caps with tensioned crowns (tops) were worn, and even here it is unclear whether or not they even carried script-lettering grade badges.

Photographs of senior staff such as inspectors appear not to have survived, so it is currently not possible to state what uniforms they wore.

In common with many tramway systems, female staff were employed during the Great War to replace male colleagues lost to the armed services. It is currently unclear what jackets they wore, as the only surviving photographs show them in long, double-breasted, 'lancer-style' greatcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars; the latter were plain, i.e., they bore no insignia. These ladies also wore informal attire, something the G&FT seem to have specialised in. Headgear appears to have taken the form of standard military-style peaked caps; these do not appear to have borne company or grade badges, but instead were often adorned with regimental sweetheart badges.

For a detailed history of the area's tramways, see 'Tramways of Portsmouth' by S E Harrison, Light Railway Transport League (1955).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Gosport and Fareham Tram No 4 townhall
Gosport and Fareham Tramways Tramcar No 4 captured outside Fareham Town hall in 1906. Both the motorman and the conductor (on the rear platform) would appear to be wearing informal attire and flat caps. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Gosport and Fareham Tram No 10
Gosport and Fareham Tramcar No 10 captured at Brockhurst with what would appear to be a motorman and two conductors, suggesting that another tramcar was close by — photo undated, but possibly taken in 1905 or 1906. All three men are wearing informal attire. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Gosport and Fareham Tram No 8
Tramcar No 8 on its last journey, to Anns Hill, on the closing day of the system, 31st December 1929. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Gosport and Fareham Tramways No 8
A blow-up of the above photo showing the Motorman, a Mr Stanton, He is wearing a military-style cap and overcoat, all seemingly without insignia.


Female staff
Gosport and Fareham No 7 and conductresses
A motorman and two conductresses on the platform of Tramcar No 7 — photo undated, but almost certainly taken during the Great War. Although both ladies are wearing badges on their caps, these are almost certainly sweetheart badges, very probably army battalion/unit badges; this was a common way of showing support for friends, colleagues or loved ones away on armed service. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.