West Metropolitan Tramways Company

Summary
The West Metropolitan Tramways Company operated horse cars for approximately twelve years, from March 1882 through to 1894, when its assets were bought from receivership by the newly formed London United Tramways Company Ltd.

In common with many horse tramway operators, the WMTCo does not appear to have issued its tramcar staff with uniforms, though a note of caution should be exercised here as photographs depicting staff are very rare, especially ones where a firm date can be set (the LUT continued to operate horsecar services for many years after the demise of the WMTCo).

The one clear photograph that has survived (see below) suggests that horsecar staff wore a variety of informal but smart attire, namely, heavy-duty jackets, shirts and ties, along with the ubiquitous bowler hat. This photograph clearly shows one individual wearing a cap badge on his bowler hat, which if true, would make the WMTCo unique in this regard amongst British tramway operators. Indeed, an example of such a cap badge has survived, which comprises an embroidered cloth oval mounted on an elastic ribbon, presumably to attach it to whatever hat the user was wearing. This example is for a 'Chief Inspector', so it seems more than reasonable to assume that other senior grades also wore these badges, for example, inspectors. Whether this approach extended down to drivers and conductors is currently unclear, and certainly no cloth badges for these grades have survived.

A metal script-lettering cap badge - 'WMTCo' - has also survived, which has standard lug fittings, suggesting that it was either affixed to a cap or to a jacket; photographic evidence for how it was used is however currently lacking.

Images


Crew of West Metropolitan Tramways horse car No 10
The crew of West Metropolitan Horsecar No 10 pose for the camera on the Shepherds Bush to Youngs Corner service - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid-to-late 1880s. Both men are very smartly attired. The man on the step may be an inspector as he appears to be wearing a wreath shaped cap badge very similar to the 'Chief Inspector' example shown below. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with particular thanks to David Voice.



Cap/lapel badge - brass. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.



Chief Inspector cap badge - cloth on an elastic hat band. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.