Sheffield Corporation Tramways

Summary
Following the take-over of the Sheffield Tramways Company, the corporation issued all horsecar staff with single-breasted uniform jackets with six buttons and upright collars; the latter bore insignia of some kind, probably an employee number. Caps were in the kepi-style with a stiff glossy peak, and bore a cap badge of individual system initials - 'S C T' - more than likely in brass.

Staff working the new electric services wore the same jackets, the collars of which carried an employee number (on both sides) in individual brass numerals, but prefixed with a grade letter - either 'C' or 'M' - presumably for 'Motorman' and 'Conductor', respectively. Caps were still in the kepi-style, but now bore a large municipal cap badge comprising the municipal arms within a wreath, all above a ribbon containing 'CORPN TRAMWAYS'. These exist in both brass and nickel (see below), with the latter possibly being the preserve of inspectors, though this is pure speculation. At some point in the early Edwardian era, a gradual change was made to double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons and lapels, the latter carrying the same insignia as that previously adorning the collars. Caps appear to have been changed in the mid-Edwardian era to a more modern upright military style, with the large cap badge being superseded by a simpler unmarked municipal arms device (see below). Although subtle alterations were made to the style of the jacket over the course of the ensuing decades, it essentially remained the same right through to closure; a switch was however almost certainly made to chrome badges and buttons during the 1930s.

Tramcar staff were also issued with heavy double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons and high fold-over collars; these carried the same insiginia as the jackets worn underneath. Once again, apart from the switch to chrome insignia, the overcoats appear to have remained the same - stylistically - right through to 1960, though with the addition of epaulettes in later years.

Several examples of 'Sheffield Corporation Tramways' brass and blue enamel shield-shaped badges have survived, which appear to be employee number badges, however, there is no photographic evidence whatsoever to indicate why or indeed how these were worn.

In the early days of electric services, inspectors were issued with double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons (possibly five including those hidden by the collars), which somewhat surprisingly, were unmarked (see photo below). The jackets had two waist pockets (with flap closures) a slit breast pocket and lapels; the upper part of the latter (the collars) bore the grade - 'Inspector' - along with an employee number, both embroidered. The jacket sleeves bore a chevron of a finer material than the main jacket, which may merely have been a decorative embellishment though equally, it could have denoted long service. Caps were in the kepi style and carried the same 'CORPN TRAMWAYS' cap badge as those worn by tramcar staff, but possibly nickel rather than brass. At some point, probably in the early Edwardian era, a switch was made to a more traditional style of 'tramway' inspector's uniform, comprising a single-breasted jacket with hidden buttons (or an hook and eye affair) and upright collars; the latter probably bore 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering, though this is far from proven. These jackets were eventually superseded by a more modern uniform which clearly had lapels, though photographic evidence remains elusive. It seems likely that caps were changed from kepis to an upright military style with tensioned crown (top) in the Edwardian era (at the same time as they were introduced for tramcar staff), along with the cap badge, which was switched to the simpler design. Inspectors appear to have been issued with the same overcoats as tramcar staff, though presumably with different collar insignia.

In common with the majority of UK tramways systems, Sheffield employed significant numbers of female staff during the Great War (almost 50%) to replace men lost to the armed services. The ladies were issued with long, blue, single-breasted tailored jackets with four buttons, two waist and two breast pockets (with button closures), lapels and a waist belt (with button fasterning). The upper lapels (collars) carried an employee number in small metal numerals (almost certainly brass), which unlike their male counterparts, did not bear a grade prefix. Hats took the form of dark-coloured straw bonnets (strictly for summer use) with a cockaded hat band, upon which the standard municipal arms badge was carried (see below). Outside summer, the ladies were issued with dark-coloured waterproof bonnets with a narrow brim; these probably bore the same cap badge as the straw bonnets. The ladies were also issued with long, single-breasted overcoats with five buttons and high, fold-over collars; the latter bore the employee's number in small individual numerals (again probably brass).

Female staff were also employed during the Second World War (almost 50% of the total staff), and indeed continued to be employed after the war and right up until closure. Although decent quality photographs are scarce, it does appear that these ladies were issued with tailored single-breasted jackets with trousers, along with a baggy cap with glossy peak. It is likely that these bore the same insignia as their male colleagues.

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
Sheffield Corporation Tramways horse tram No 55 and crew
The crew of Horsecar No 55 pose for the cameraman outside the Red Lion Hotel at the Heeley terminus - photo undated, but possibly taken not long after this car's introduction in 1897. Both men are wearing single-breasted tunics and kepi-style caps, which possibly bear 'S C T' initials badges. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Motormen and conductors
Sheffield Corporation Tramways No 217 and crew
An array of tramcar staff pose with a fairly new looking Tramcar 217 working the Tinsley route - photo undated, but probably taken around 1900 (the destination boxes were only in use from then until 1905). The conductor has a single-breasted tunic, as does the individual next to the policeman, who may possibly be an inspector; the motorman however is wearing a double-breasted jacket. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways No 27 and crew
Conductor (in single-breasted tunic) and motorman (in double-breasted jacket, possibly an overcoat) with Tramcar No 27 on the Eccleshall route - photo undated, but probably taken around 1900. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways No 155 and crew
Motorman and conductor with Tramcar No 155 - photo probably taken in 1901. Both men are wearing kepi-style caps with the large municipal tramways cap badge. The conductor's collar badges can be clearly seen, an employee number pre-fixed with a 'C'. Not the chevron on the cobductor's sleeve; this probably denotes long service or good conduct. Author's Collection.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways cap badge
Sheffield Corporation Tramways cap badge - brass (c1899 to c1906)


Sheffield Corporation Tramways crew
Two conductors and a motorman with an unidentified 60 series tramcar - photo undated, but possibly taken on the occasion of Edward VII's coronation in August 1902. Note that the earlier single-breasted tunics had by this time given way to double-breasted jackets. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways No 208 and crew
Conductor and motorman with Tramcar 208 on a Tinsley service, probably at the terminus at Millhouses - photo undated, but as the car is in 'rebuilt' condition (this took place 1906-07) and a little tatty, probably taken in the late Edwardian era or shortly before the Great War. Both men have military style caps with a much smaller cap badge than worn previously. Author's Collection.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways cap badge - brass
Sheffield Corporation Tramways cap badge - brass (c1906 to 1930s)


Sheffield Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 48 and crew
Conductor and motorman with a rebuilt and vestibuled Tramcar No 48; photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1920s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways David Ward Brackenbrough
Mr David Ward Brackenbrough (Motorman or Conductor) - photo thought to be from the mid 1940s. With thanks to his grandson, Steve.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 356 and crew
Three evidently contented tramway employees aboard Works Car No 356 in Fitzalan Square on a slushy day in the 1940s or 1950s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways 501 and motorman
Motorman 384M with Tramcar No 501 (built 1946) on a Northern Counties Touring Society tour - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1950s or early 60s. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways cap badge chrome
Sheffield Corporation Tramways cap badge - chrome (1930s to 1960)


Sheffield Corporation Tramways Tram No 501 crew at Millhouses
The crew of Tramcar No 501 pose for the camera of M J O'Connor at the terminus at Millhouses on the 4th October 1960. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.



Employee number badge or licence - brass. Several examples of these badges have survived, though none can be seen in photographs, so it is unclear what their purpose was or where they were worn.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways and Motors merit badge
Sheffield Corporation Tramways and Motors merit badge - brass


Senior staff
Sheffield Corporation Tramways Motor Inspector No 6 William Higgs
An evocative studio portrait of Motor Inspector William Higgs of Eccleshall (born in Iron Acton, Gloucestershire in 1871) - photo undated, but probably taken around the turn of the century. His lapels bear his grade - 'Inspector' - as well as his employee number ('6'); surprisingly, the uniform buttons do not bear the municipal arms, but are plain with a parallel pattern of lines. His cap badge (by his left hand) appears to be the standard 'Tramways' pattern, but may have been nickel rather than brass, though this is mere speculation.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways cap badge
Sheffield Corporation Tramways cap badge (c1899 to c1906) - nickel (tarnished), possibly worn by inspectors.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways tramcar 154 and inspector
Tramcar No 154 on Route H (Hillsborough) some time between 1901 and 1905. The figure on the right is probably an inspector. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways inpsector and Tramcar No 82
A poor quality photograph, but one which shows an inspector in later design of jacket, and with military-style cap. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways Inspector
Tramcar No 55 and an inspector (probably) - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1950s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Female staff
Sheffield Corporation Tramways conductresses Great War
Studio portrait of two Sheffield conductresses and a Great War soldier. The lady on the left is a Miss Dalby, (No 789), the lady on the right is Nell Longhorne (No 655). Author's Collection.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways Great War conductress
Blow-up of the above photo showing Nell Longhorne (No 655). The standard Sheffield cap badge is borne on a pleated cockade.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways conductress Nell Longhorn
Another studio portrait of Nell Longhorne (left), along with her cousin who was also called Nell. Both ladies are wearing greatcoats with waterproof bonnets, devoid of badges. Source unknown.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways conductress and Tram 352
A slightly out of focus shot, but one which does show a Great War conductress aboard a tramcar, No 352 bound for Woodseats. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Sheffield Corporation Tramways conductress 1950s
An unusual shot of a 1950's conductress leaning out from the front platform of Tramcar No 206 (bound for Handsworth), looking back down a line of waiting tramcars. She is clearly wearing trousers rather than a skirt. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.