Chesterfield Corporation Tramways

Summary
Chesterfield Corporation purchased the assets of the Chesterfield Tramways Company in November 1897, working the horse trams until their replacement by electric services in December 1904. In common with many other horse tramways in the UK, conductors and drivers wore informal but robust attire, comprising jackets, trousers and overcoats, along with the fashionable headgear of the day, either bowler hats or flat caps. No badges of any kind appear to have been worn, including licences.

For the inauguration of electric services, staff were issued with smart new uniforms comprising double-breasted jackets with two rows of five buttons and lapels; the latter born 'C C T' initials on the right-hand side (with an employee number suffix), and probably the same on the bearer's left-hand side, though this is yet to be confirmed. Caps were in the kepi-style with a glossy peak and carried a script-lettering grade badge - either 'Conductor' or 'Motorman' - above which a small circular cap badge (approximating a rosette shape) was worn. This more than likely comprised a municipal device, perhaps similar to that later used by 'Chesterfield Corporation Transport' (see below for an example).

The uniforms appear to have been relatively quickly superseded - certainly by 1905 - by a completely new style comprising double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics, with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom), upright collars and epaulettes; the latter carried 'C C T' initials, possibly of one-piece construction. The collars on the other hand bore a variety of insignia, reflecting a rather relaxed attitude to badges that persisted throughout the system's life. Photos show that the majority of staff wore employee numbers on both collars (in individual metal numerals), whereas others show staff wearing 'C C T' initials on one side or even both. At the same time as the tunics were changed, new military-style caps with tensioned crowns (tops) were introduced; these continued to bear script-lettering grade badges, sometimes with the small round cap badge, but often without. In later years 'Driver' occasionally made an appearance in place of 'Motorman'.

Tramcar staff were also issued with long, double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons and high fold-over collars; the latter bore a variety of insignia, usually 'C C T' initials, sometimes pre-fixed with an employee number. Uniforms were issued annually (in June), with new greatcoats every two years.

During the horse tram era, Inspector Frank Root was apparently the only member of staff issued with a uniform (in 1900), a single-breasted jacket with upright collars bearing the system initials 'C C T', probably in individual metal letters. Mr Root was also issued with a kepi-style cap that bore individual metal 'C C T' initials. Subsequently, inspectors were issued with very similar uniforms to tramcar staff, seemingly differing only in the collar insignia, which were embroidered - 'C C T' - on the bearer's right-hand side, and 'Inspector' on the left-hand side. Caps bore a piped hat band of a different colour to the main cap, upon which a script-lettering badge - 'Inspector' - was embroidered.

The Chief Inspector wore the same 'lancer-style' tunic as the rest of the staff, though seemingly with the collars left plain; his cap on the other hand bore his grade - 'Chief Inspector' - in embroidered script lettering.

In common with the vast majority of tramway operators, Chesterfield employed female staff in significant numbers during the Great War - both as conductresses and motorwomen - to replace male staff lost to the armed services. The ladies were issued with tailored, single-breasted jackets with five buttons, lapels and epaulettes; the lapels were usually plain, though many photos show that they were frequently adorned with a variety of badges, almost certainly worn unofficially. Headgear consisted of large baggy peaked caps, seemingly issued without cap badges, which inevitably led to yet more badge diversity; although the odd photo shows the same script-lettering cap badge worn by the men, many others reveal a variety of what are, in all probability, regimental 'sweetheart' badges. The women were also issued with double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars. These appear to have been totally devoid of insignia. By July 1917, a total of 13 ladies were employed as motorwomen and 18 as conductresses; somewhat unusually, the last female employees were not discharged until as late as 1921.

With thanks to Barry Marsden for background information and help with identification. For further information on Chesterfield Corporation Tramways, see Barry's 'A Chesterfield Tramscape' (Ryestone Publications; 2011) and 'Tracks and Trackless - Chesterfield's Trams and Trolleybuses (Amberley Publishing; 2012).

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
Chesterfield Corporation Tramways Horse Tram No 2
A very youthful conductor and driver with Horsecar No 2 at the Walton Lane terminus - photo taken in the early 1900s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways Horse Tram No 8 and crew
Driver Ezra Coates (later to become a motorman) and his conductor stand with Horsecar No 8 at West Bars - photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1900s given that No 8 was only put into service in 1899. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways horse tram conductor
A blow-up of the above photo showing the young conductor, dressed smartly but informally. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways Horse Tram No 8 and Ezra Coates
An unknown conductor and Driver Ezra Coates with Horsecar No 8 at St Thomas's loop at the Market Place - photo probably taken during the testing of electric cars on 7th December 1904. Although both men are no longer with us, No 8 most definitely is, and can be seen at the National Tramway Museum in Crich. Photo and background information courtesy of the Barry Marsden collection.


Motormen and conductors
Chesterfield Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 4 and crew
Conductor Derward Lowe and Motorman Cyril Hopkinson pose for the photographer with Tramcar No 4 at Brampton - photo undated, but probably not long after the commencement of electric services. Both men are wearing kepi-style caps, script-lettering grade badges and small round cap badges, probably incorporating the municipal arms. Photo and background information courtesy of the Barry Marsden collection.


Conductor Derward Lowe and Motorman Cyril Hopkinson Chesterfield Corporation Tramways
A blow-up of the above photo which indicates that the cap badge was not a smooth circle but a more complex shape akin to a rosette. Conductor Lowe's collar insignia appear to be 'C C T' initials followed by an Employee No (possibly 6 or 8).


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 7 and crew
Conductor and motorman at the controls of what is very probably a brand new Tramcar No 7 at the Brampton terminus - photo undated, but probably taken in late 1904 or early 1905. Photo courtesy of the Barry Marsden collection.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways cap badges
Standard 'off-the-shelf' script-lettering cap badges of the type worn by Chesterfield staff - nickel. It is currently unclear what material Chesterfield actually used.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways Tram No 6 and crew 1910
The crew of Tramcar No 6 at the terminus at Whittingham - photo undated, but probably taken not too long after electrification. Both men are wearing kepi-style caps. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


acc 11582003Motorman
Motorman Harry Longden wearing a script-lettering 'Driver' cap badge, along with a round cap badge of unknown pattern - photo taken in 1917. He also appears to be wearing a badge on his breast, which is probably regimental, a common practice during the Great War.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways motormen
Two Chesterfield motormen, one wearing a 'Motorman', and the other a 'Driver' cap badge - photo taken in the Great War (from the staff photo below).


Great War Chesterfield Corporation Tramways conductress and motorman Thomas Falconer
Motorman Thomas Falconer (foreground) with an unknown conductress and trainee motorman (at the controls in civvies) - photo undated, but certainly taken in the Great War. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways motorman
Studio portrait of a Chesterfield motorman - undated. Source unknown.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 6 and crew
Motorman Jack Rouse and conductor Gary Gascoyne with Tramcar No 6 at Brampton - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s. Both men are wearing long, double-breasted overcoats. Photo courtesy of the Barry Marsden collection.


Chesterfield Corporation Transport cap badge
Chesterfield Corporation Transport cap badge - chrome. This was certainly never worn by tramways staff, but may have been based upon one worn by them in the early years of the tramway.

Senior staff
Chesterfield Corporation Tramways inspector
Inspector James 'Jimmy' Blount (from the staff photo below) - taken in the Great War. He is wearing a script-lettering cap badge, along with embroidered collar designations, 'Inspector' (on his left) and system initials - 'C C T' - on his right. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways Inspector James Blount
A close-up shot of Inspector 'Jimmy' Blount taken from the photo of Tramcar 18 below. His collar insignia are easily made out.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways inspector
From the same photo as the image above, this time of Chief Inspector Root. Whilst his collars appear to be devoid of insignia, his cap would seem to bear his grade (half hidden by the chin strap), in embroidered script lettering. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Female staff
Chesterfield Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 18, Inspector James Blount, Conductress Kathleen Allen and Tram Driver Elinor Dowson
Conductress Kathleen Allen, Inspector 'Jimmy' Blount' and Motorwoman Elinor Dowson pose for the camera with Tramcar No 18 in October 1917, neatly dated by the advertisement for the Hippodrome Theatre affixed to the bottom of the dash. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 19, Inspector William Cotterill, Conductress Elsie Dowson and Tram Driver Thomas Falconer
Inspector William Cotterill, Motorman Thomas Falconer and Conductress Elsie Dowson (Elinor's sister), with Tramcar No 9 at Brampton - photo undated, but probably taken in 1917 or 1918. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways No 18 and conductresses,
A conductress and two motorwomen pose with Tramcar No 18 for the camera of local photographer William Leuchars - photo undated, but certainly taken during the Great War. Author's collection.


Chesterfield Corporation Trmaways Great War female staff
Blow-up of the above photo showing the two ladies on the platform - the one on the left is believed to be a Miss Mallory (thanks to Barry Marsden for this information). The uniforms are completely devoid of insignia, including cap badges. The shield-shaped badge on the side of Miss Mallory's cap is probably a sweetheart badge.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways Great War conductress Amy Trueman
Conductress Amy Trueman - photo undated, but certainly taken during the Great War or shortly thereafter. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways female staff Great War
A line-up of female staff taken in 1917. Just two of the ladies are wearing a cap badge, in both cases standard, 'off-the-shelf', script-lettering grade badges: 'Conductor' and 'Motorman'. Miss Mallory (see photo of Tramcar No 18 above) is standing next to the motorman (Harry Longden) on the middle row, right-hand side, whilst Amy Trueman is seated on the front row, second from the left. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Chesterfield Corporation Tramways female staff, Great War
Another Great War staff photo, this time showing the female staff in their overcoats. Only one lady is wearing a cap badge. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.