Portsdown and Horndean Light Railway

Summary
Photographs of Portsdown and Horndean staff taken prior to the First World War are extremely scarce, but those that do exist indicate that staff wore double-breasted jackets, with two rows of four buttons and lapels, the style being very similar to that worn by their corporation counterparts during the first decade of that system's life. Some kind of insignia appears to have been worn on the upper lapels, though this cannot be made out on surviving photographs. Caps were in a flatter, railway style and bore script-lettering cap badges, either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor'.

Although lighter more modern materials were used in later years, the basic style of the jacket remained largely the same. Double-breasted overcoats were also issued, though it is currently unknown whether these bore any insignia. In later years, staff certainly wore large round municipal licences; these were very probably introduced in 1924 when through running over Portsmouth metals began. This was in marked contrast to corporation staff who had not worn licences since the introduction or numbered cap badges in the First World War.

The company presumably employed female staff during the First World War to replace men lost to the armed services, however, photographic confirmation is lacking, so details of their uniforms remain unknown; this is also the case for inspectors.

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

Images

Portsdown and Horndean Light Railway No 16
Motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 16 in St Helens Parade Portsmouth - photo undated, but certainly taken no earlier than 1924 when through running of company cars over corporation-owned tracks commenced. Note the large round municipal licence, very possibly identical to those previously worn by corporation staff before their displacement by numbered cap badges in 1916. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Portsdown and Horndean Light Railway no 17
Motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 17, an ex Gosport and Fareham Tramways car - photo undated, but certainly after the closure of the latter system (31st December 1929). Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with particular thanks to David Voice.


Portsdown and Horndean Light Railway No 11
Conductor and Motorman pose for the camera with a rather careworn Tramcar No 11 - photo undated, but probably taken very late in the tramway's life (1930s). Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with particular thanks to David Voice.


Portsmouth Corporation Tramways cap badges
Standard ‘off the shelf’ script-lettering cap badges of the type used by the Portsdown and Horndean Light Railway, though it is currently unclear whether they issued them in brass or nickel.


Portsdown and Horndean Light Railway No 16
The crew of Tramcar No 16 at the Canoe Lake/Granda Rd terminus - photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1930s. Photo by H Nicol, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.