Preston Corporation Tramways
Preston Corporation was a horse tramway owner from 1882 through to the last day of 1903, however, for this entire period the operation of services was leased to a private company - W Harding and Co Ltd - rather than the corporation working it themselves. Although numerous photos of horse tram crews have survived, these are all from the last seven or so years of operation, so what follows below is solely based upon that evidence; however, given that these photos clearly show that horsecar crews did not wear uniforms, there is currently no reason to think that this was any different in earlier years. Both drivers and conductors wore smart but informal attire, namely: jacket, trousers, shirt and tie, along with the fashionable headgear of the day, predominantly the bowler hat, but also the flat cap. The latter was presumably a development of the mid-to-late 1890s, when these came into vogue. Drivers sometimes also wore heavy-duty leather aprons. No insiginia of any kind appears to have been worn, including municipal licences.
Early photographs of electric trams suggest that uniforms had not been delivered in time for the earliest services, though these may in fact record running trials or other non-revenue earning activities, so may not be representative of the true situation at opening. What is however clear is that many photos from around the time electric services were inaugurated show that motormen and conductors were issued with double-breasted cross-over tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom, and presumably in brass - see link), epaulettes and upright collars; the latter carried a brass employee number on the left-hand side, and probably on the right-hand side as well. Caps were in the upright military style with a glossy peak, and bore script-lettering cap badges (again presumably brass), either ‘Driver’ or ‘Conductor’. The style of uniform does not appear to have changed substantively over the entire 30-year history of the system.
Tramcar staff were also issued with long, double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars; the latter carried employee numbers on both sides, again presumably in brass.
Inspectors were probably issued with single-breasted jackets with hidden buttons (or a hook and eye affair), and upright collars, though confirmatory photographic evidence is elusive. Caps were in the upright military style, like those of tramcar staff, and carried ‘Inspector’ in embroidered script lettering on a hat band.
In common with the vast majority of UK tramway systems, Preston employed ladies during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services. Female staff were issued with single-breasted tailored jackets with four pockets (with button closures), epaulettes and upright collars, along with a long matching skirt; the collars carried an employee number on both sides. Caps were identical to those worn by male staff and carried the same script-lettering brass badges.
Horse tram drivers and conductors
Driver and conductor pose for the camera outside the Excelsior Art Studio on the Lancaster Rd to Fulwood Barracks route - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid-to-late 1890s given the conductor's flat cap. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
Driver and conductor at Cemetery Gates - photo undated, but probably turn of the century. Photo courtesy of Preston Digital Archive (see link).
Horse tram driver and conductor with an unidentified horse car near Fulwood Barracks in late 1903. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
Blow up of the above photo showing the driver. The poster on the tram advertises the coming sale of 80 horses on January 5th, presumably 1904 given that W A Harding & Co's lease was terminated on the last day of 1903. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
A rather charming photo of a Preston horse tram driver, conductor and young boy, possibly the conductor's son - photo taken near Fulwood Barracks in late 1903. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
Driver and conductor with their rather battered-looking charge at the bottom of Fishergate Hill - photo allegedly taken on the last day of operation, 31st December 1903. Photo courtesy of Preston Digital Archive (see link).
Preston licence badge - brass. Whilst there is a possibility that this was issued to horse tram drivers, photographic evidence does not support this. It may have been issued to private hire or horse bus drivers. With thanks to Chris Gardiner.
Motormen and conductors
Tramcar crew posing with a brand new Tramcar No 6 on a service for Fulwood Barracks - photo undated, but almost certainly taken in June 1904 when this route opened. Both the conductors are in informal attire, whereas the motorman is possibly in a uniform of some description. Photo copyright of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston; courtesy of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston (see link).
Blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman. His overcoat collar bears some form of initials, whilst his cap appears to be completely devoid of insignia.
Motorman R Watton at the controls of Tramcar No 15, along with his conductor - photo dated 1904. Both men are in smart new uniforms with military-style caps bearing 'Conductor' and 'Driver'. Photo copyright of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston; courtesy of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston (see link).
General pattern script-lettering cap badges of the type used by Preston Corporation Tramways - brass.
Inspector, motorman and conductor pose with Tramcar No 16 - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid-to-late Edwardian era. Photo copyright of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston; courtesy of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston (see link).
Blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor (possibly Employee No 89) in his double-breasted overcoat.
Motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 27 with a service bound for the football ground - photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1930s. Photo by M J O'Connor, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
Motorman (possibly Employee No 24) poses for the cameraman at the controls of Tramcar No 6 at the Ribbleton terminus - photo undated, but possibly taken on the last day of operation in summer 1934. Photo courtesy of Preston Digital Archive (see link).
A conductor and driver amongst the throng at Fulwood celebrating the last Preston tram on the 15th December 1935 . Photo courtesy of Preston Digital Archive (see link).
Blow up of the photo of No 16 (mid-to-late Edwardian) showing an Inspector.
A group of conductresses pose alongside Tramcar No 39 - photo undated, but almost certainly taken during the Great War or shortly afterwards. Photo courtesy of Preston Digital Archive (see link).