Nelson Corporation Tramways

Photographs of Nelson Corporation Tramways staff are far from common, though perhaps expectedly so given the small size of the system (2.74 miles). The first photo below indicates that staff wore single-breasted jackets with lapels during the early years, though somewhat unusually for a tramway system, these appear to have been worn with white shirts and bow ties! Caps were in a flatter railway style with a glossy peak and bore script-lettering cap badges, either 'Conductor' or 'Motorman', presumably in brass to match the buttons (see link).

Uniforms were subsequently changed (probably in the mid-to-late Edwardian era) to a more traditional tramway style. Conductors wore single-breasted tunics with five buttons, two pockets (with button closures) and upright collars; motormen wore double-breasted, cross-over tunics with two rows of five buttons and upright collars. The collars on both styles of tunic carried individual metal letters - 'N C T' - on the right-hand side, and very probably an employee number on the left, both presumably in brass. Caps also appear to have been changed at the same time to a taller military style, but still with the script-lettering cap badges. Double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons were also issued; these had high, fold-over collars which bore an employee number on the left-hand side and individual brass 'N C T' initials on the right-hand side.

The staff photo below - if indeed Nelson - indicates that inspectors wore traditional single-breasted tramway inspector jackets edged in a finer material, with hidden buttons and upright collars; the latter probably bore 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering, though this cannot be made out on the surviving photo below. Caps were the same style as worn by tramcar crews, but probably bore the designation 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering.

In common with many tramway systems, it is highly likely that Nelson employed female staff during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services; however, photographs are yet come to light, so it is impossible to say what uniforms were worn.


Motormen and conductors
Nelson Corporation Tramways crew
Conductor and motorman pose on the platform of a rather battered looking Tramcar No 2 at the tram terminus at Reedyford, Nelson, with a service for Colne - photo undated, but probably taken in the early Edwardian era. Both men are wearing single-breasted jackets with lapels and what appear to be bow ties. With thanks to Jim Halsall.

Nelson Corporation Tramways Tram No 3
An early photo of Tramcar No 3 bound for Barrowford - photo undated, but probably taken in 1900. The motorman is wearing a soft-topped cap and what appears to be an overcoat. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society

Nelson Corporation Tramways motorman and conductor
Conductor and motorman on the platform of Tramcar No 3 with the service for Higherford - photo undated, but probably mid-to late Edwaridan. The individual 'N C T' collar initials are clearly in evidence. With thanks to Jim Halsall.

Nelson Corporation Tramways cap badges
Standard script-lettering cap badges of the pattern used by Nelson Corporation Tramways - brass.

Nelson Corporation Tramways tram No 9
Conductor and motorman with single-deck bogie combination car No 9 - photo undated, but probably taken prior to the Great War. With thanks to Jim Halsall.

Nelson Corporation Tramways staff photo
A depot photo, very probably of Nelson Corporation Tramways staff - photo undated, but almost certainly taken before the Great War. WIth thanks to Jim Halsall.