Norwich Electric Tramways Company

Photographs taken in the early years of operation show that conductors and motormen wore double-breasted jackets with two rows of five buttons (presumably nickel; see link), two waist pockets and lapels; the latter were devoid of insignia. Caps were in a tall kepi style with a steeply inclined glossy peak, which gave them a distinctly military feel; the caps were adorned with a prominent oval cap badge which consisted of an employee number on a leather in-lay, surrounded by the full company name, and topped off by a lion, all in nickel.

Conductors and motorman also wore light-coloured alloy licences; these bore a number, with the words 'Norwich' above, and either 'Conductor' or 'Driver' below, and were worn on the left side, usually at breast level. Staff were also issued with double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons, two waist pockets, a breast pocket, and high, fold-over collars; they bore no badges. Several photos show motormen with material chevrons (two and three are known) on their left upper sleeve, reminiscent of corporal/sergeant stripes; the precise meaning of these is unclear, though in all likehood they denoted 'good conduct'.

At some point just prior to, or during the Great War, the caps were changed to a more contemporary military style with a tensioned crown (top) and glossy peak, though the badge remained the same.

The only photo I have seen of an inspector is from 1900, and reveals that in these early years (at least), they were issued with single-breasted jackets with seven buttons, slit pockets and upright collars; the latter were plain. Caps were in the kepi-style with an enbroidered hat band, which was seemingly worn without a cap or grade badge. Evidence from subsequent years is unfortunately lacking.

In common with many tramway systems, women were employed as conductresses during the war to replace men lost to the armed services. Female staff wore long, tailored, double-breasted coats with a waist belt (with buttons), two waist-level pockets and lapels; the buttons appear to have been plain, as were the lapels (i.e. no badges were carried). Ladies wore two different styles of hat, probably reflecting summer and winter wear: a dark-coloured, wide brimmed straw bonnet with a hat band, and a large baggy, peak cap; the usual cap badge was worn with both styles of hat.


Motormen and conductors
Norwich Tramways Company Tram No 32 1900
An inspector, and the crew of a brand-new No 32, pose for the cameraman, possibly at Trowse, in 1900. The car has a 'King Street' window route board, and an indicator (mounted on the canopy) set for 'Trowse'. Author's collection.

Norwich Tramways Company Tram No 32 and crew 1900
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and motorman. The large oval cap badges are clearly seen.

Norwich Electric Tramways cap badge 155
Cap badge - nickel with leather inlay. This badge formerly belonged to Thomas Turner, who started with the NETCo shortly after the Great War, serving as a conductor and a motorman, then assisting in the control centre at Orford Place for 12 years; he subsequently drove and conducted buses. Thanks to his grandson, Mike Turner, for this information. Note that the lion is often missing from surviving badges.

Norwich Electric Tramways crew Tram No 46
Conductor and motorman pictured aboard Tramcar No 46 - photo undated, but definitely taken no earlier than 1906 when this former trailer car was converted to powered operation. Note the 'corporal' like stripes on the left-hand arm of the motorman, which probably denoted 'good conduct'. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.

Norwich Electric Tramways Tram No 29
Motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 29 on an Earlham Rd - Thorpe Rd service - photo undated, but certainly taken prior to the Great War. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Norwich Electric Tramways conductor
An excellent study of an NETCo conductor posing with his tramcar outside the 'Prince of Denmark' pub on Magdelen Rd - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.

Norwich Electric Tramways Conductor
Blow-up of the above photo, clearly revealing the conductor to be Employee No 230, holder of Norwich Licence No 95.

Norwich Electric Tramways licence No 178
Norwich 'Driver' licence No 178 - light alloy

Norwich Electric Tramways No 28
An NETCo conductor in conversation with a member of the public on the platform of Tramcar No 28 at the Thorpe Rd terminus on 16th April 1935. Photo by Dr H Nicol, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.

Norwich_Electric Tramways No 8
An unusual side profile of a motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 8 at the Dereham Rd terminus - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s or 1930s . Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Senior staff
Norwich Corporation Tramways Company inspector 1900
A blow-up of the 1900 shot of No 32 above showing the inspector.