Southampton Corporation Tramways

Summary
Southampton took over the local horse tramway (Southampton Tramways Company) on the 1st July 1898, and continued to operate horse trams until 3rd August 1901. It would appear that the corporation was happy to let its newly acquired horsecar staff continue to be attired as they had been under the auspices of the Tramway Company (see link), and they may indeed never have been issued with uniforms.

The first of the new electric routes was inaugurated on 22nd June 1900. Motormen and conductors were issued with double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons, presumably brass (see link), and lapels; the collars probably bore 'S C T' in embroidered uppercase initials, though this cannot be made out with certainty. Caps were soft-topped kepis, very similar to those used by the Tramway Company; these did not carry any insignia, though odd photos indicate that some staff continued Tramway Company practice by adorning them with metal employee numbers. A new cap badge was however introduced relatively quickly - this was brass (see below) comprised a municipal device above a scroll containing the full system title: 'Southampton Corporation Tramways'.

At some point in the Edwardian era, the cut of the jackets was altered, but still remained double-breasted with slit pockets (one on the left and two on the right) and lapels; the collars probably bore 'S C T' in uppercase embroidered initials. Caps appear to have been changed at the same time to a more modern upright military style; these continued to carry the same badge as worn on the kepis. Staff were also issued with long, double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars; the latter probably carried 'S C T' embroidered initials.

The uniforms were changed again around the time of the Great War; although the overall style remained the same, the upper right-hand lapel (collar) now bore a one-piece metal initials badge - 'SCT' - almost certainly in nickel, whilst the left-hand side possibly bore an employee number, most likely in individual nickel numerals. The cap badge was also changed, to a round design comprising the Southampton shield within a garter containing the full system title; these were worn above a standard script-lettering cap badge, either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor'. At some point, possibly in the 1920s, a switch appears to have been made to single-breasted jackets with upright collars; the badges however, remained unchanged.

During the 1930s - or possibly as late as the 1940s - jackets were changed one last time to a single-breasted design with four buttons, two waist pockets, two breast pockets (with button closures), epaulettes and lapels; caps and cap badges remained the same. Tramcar staff were also issued with lightweight coats for summer use (in later years) as well as waterproof capes.

At least in the Edwardian era, Southampton employed ticket examiners, a grade which appears to have been junior to an inspector. Ticket examiners wore long, double-breasted, frock-style coats with two closely spaced rows of four buttons and lapels, with the lapels and collars edged in a finer material than the main coat. The upper lapels bore a large oval badge bearing the grade ('TICKET' above and 'EXAMINER' below) with a number in the middle. It is unclear if the number denoted a class of ticket examiner (the photo below shows a '1') or if this was the examiner's employee number. Caps were in the kepi style and bore a large oval badge similar to the lapel badges, but presented vertically rather than horizontally.

In the early years, inspectors appear to have worn long double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars; the latter probably bore 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering. Caps were initially in the kepi style with a glossy peak and appear to have carried a large cap badge of unknown pattern, but possibly embroidered cloth. Caps were subsequently changed to an upright military style; these bore 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering. By this time, inspectors' jackets appear to have been identical to those issued to tramcar staff, but with embroidered, script-lettering grade badges - 'Inspector' - on each collar (upper lapel).

As with many tramway systems, Southampton employed female staff during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services, though not as motorwomen. Uniforms were of a dark grey gabardine material with red piping, and consisted of long single-breasted jackets with four buttons, three pockets (two waist and one breast), high fold-over collars,and a waist belt (with button fastening), with a long skirt to match. The collars carried the same one-piece metal 'SCT' badge used on male jackets (on the right-hand side) and an employee number (on the left-hand side). Headgear comprised either a large floppy peaked cap or a wide-brimmed souwester style waterproof bonnet; the cloth caps appear to have carried the standard round cap badge, but without the usual script-lettering grade badge, whilst the souwesters were unadorned. The ladies were also issued with single-breasted overcoats, with waist belt, lapels and epaulettes; these appear not to have carried any insignia.

Southampton also employed the services of a lady inspector (ress). The sole surviving photo (see below) indicates that this lady was issued with an overcoat very similar in style to those issued to the conductresses, but with embroidered collar insignia, presumably 'Inspector'. The form of uniform worn underneath is currently unknown. Headgear took the form of a standard military style peaked cap fitted with the standard Southampton Corporation Tramwys cap badge.

Although female staff were also employed during the Second World War, with the exception of the cap, details of the uniforms worn are currently unclear. The cap was cloth, with an upturned back and sides (see below), and a glossy peak; it carried the standard , round cap badge.

For a history of Southampton's tramways, see '100 Years of Southampton Transport'; Southampton City Transport and Southampton City Museums (1979).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Southampton Corporation Tramways No 12 and crew
Two motormen, two conductors and an inspector posing with Tramcar No 12 outside L Wildig’s greengrocers - photo undated, but certainly in the very early years of operation. Whilst one conductor and the two motorman appear to be wearing kepi-style caps without insignia, the conductor at the front appears to have a small cap badge, possible a single-digit employee number, as used by the erstwhile Tramways Company.


Southampton Corporation Tramways No 14 and crew
Conductor and motorman with Tramcar No 14 outside Portswood Depot with a service bound for the Docks - photo undated, but probably taken in 1900. The figure on the left - in the frock-style coat with the large oval cap badge - is almost certainly a ticket examiner. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Southampton Corporation Tramways No 36 and crew
Conductor and two (?) motormen with Tramcar No 36 in their heavy-duty overcoats - photo undated, but probably taken in the early Edwardian era. Note that the two figures in the foreground are wearing cap badges, almost certainly of the design shown below. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Southmapton Corporation Tramways Edwardian cap badge
Edwardian-era cap badge - brass. Author's Collection.


Southampton Corporation Tramways No 43 and crew
The crew of Tramcar No 43 with a service for Floating Bridge - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid-to-late Edwardian era. Note that both men are wearing upright military-style caps. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Southampton Corporation Tramways No 10 and crew
The crew of Tramcar No 10 with a service for the Royal Pier - photo undated, but probably taken during the late Edwardian era. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Southampton Corporation Tramways motorman
Southampton Corporation Tramways motorman - the rear of the postcard is dated July 1918, so certainly taken no later than this. The new, round cap badge is clearly seen, as is the one-piece ‘SCT’ collar badge. The three stripes on the subject's left breast probably denote 'good conduct'. Note the shield-shaped badge worn on the lapel. Author's collection.


Southampton Corporation Tramways cap badge
Cap badge - nickel.


Southampton Corporation Tramways cap badges
Script-lettering cap badges - nickel.


Southampton Corporation Tramways collar badge
Collar badge - nickel


Southampton Corporation Tramways No 13 and crew
Conductor, inspector and motorman aboard the platform of Tramcar No 13 at the 'Rest Camp' terminus in the Avenue - photo thought to have been taken in 1921 or thereabouts. The inspector is Frances Burlefinger, who started his career with the Tramway Company in 1890 (see below).


Frederick Mayzes Southampton Tram Conductor 99
Conductor Frederick Mayzes - Employee No 99 - taken some time during the 1920s. He is wearing a single-breasted jacket with upright collars.


Southampton Corporation Tramways tram No 50 and motorman Lilly
Motorman Lilly and his conductor pose for the cameraman with Tramcar No 50 at Millbrook on 1st June 1947. Author's collection.


Southampton Corporation Tramways No 45
Group photo along with what is possibly Tramcar No 45, which was sold to the Light Railway and Transport League in 1949 (probably the date of the photo). Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Senior staff
Southampton Corporation Tramways Ticket Examiner Frances Burlefinger 1900
The young Frances Burlefinger in 1900, newly promoted to the grade of Ticket Examiner. Author's collection.


Southampton Corporation Tramways Ticket Examiner Frances Burlefinger 1900
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the cap and collar badges.


Southampton Corporation Tramways Inspector
A blow-up of the first photo above (of Tramcar No 12), showing the inspector. Note the cap badge, which was possibly embroidered cloth.


Southampton Corporation Tramways Inspector Francis Burlefinger 1900
Francis Burlefinger once again, but probably taken some 20+ years on from the earlier photograph (i.e. the 1920s or even 1930s), by which time he had clearly risen to the grade of inspector. The badge on the military-style cap is difficult to make out, but is probably an embroidered script-lettering grade badge: 'Inspector'. Author's collection.


Southampton Corporation Tramways Inspector Burlefinger
A blow-up of the photo of Tramcar No 13 above, showing Inspector Burlefinger in 1921, this time in an overcoat with 'Inspector' on each collar.


Female staff
Southampton Corporation Tramways Great War conductresses
A photograph purportedly showing Southampton's first intake of Great War conductresses - photo undated, but probably taken in July 1915. Stephen Howarth Collection.


Southampton Corporation Tramways Great War conductresses
A blow-up of the above photograph showing details of the uniforms and the souwester style waterproof bonnets.


Southampton Corporation Tramways Lady Inspector
Another blow-up the above photo, showing a lady inspectress.


Southampton Corporation Tramways conductress
Southampton conductress, possibly called 'Gladys' - photo undated, but almost certainly taken during the Great War. Note the absence of the script-lettering cap badge normally worn by male tramcar staff, and the presence of a small shield-shaped badge on the breast pocket. Author's Collection.


Southampton Corporation Tramways conductress
Blow-up of the above photo showing details of the badges.


Southampton Corporation Tramways No 39 and crew
Conductress and motorman with Tramcar No 39 on a service for the Royal Pier - photo undated, but almost certainly taken during or shortly after the Great War. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Southampton Conductresses  1919 - Last Day
A poor quality image, but one which depict a group of conductresses taken on the last day of 'female' conducting in 1919. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth collection.


Southampton Corporation Tramways Second World War conductress cap
Southampton Corporation Tramways Second World War conductress's cap. Author's collection.