York Corporation Tramways (City of York Tramways)

Summary
Following its take-over of the City of York Tramways Company on 27th February 1909, York Corporation operated the old horse tramway for some six months before its eventual closure on 7th September 1909. It would seem that the men working these services continued to wear the same style of uniforms that they had worn whilst being in the employ of the company (see link), i.e. single-breasted jackets with five buttons and lapels, along with a matching waistcoat and an unmarked kepi style cap. According to Murray ('The Horse Tramways of York; LRTA 1980), the corporation did actually issue new caps to its seven drivers, seven conductors, and two inspectors; these bore 'Y C T' initials and either 'DRIVER', CONDUCTOR' or 'INSPECTOR', probably embroidered. These badges cannot however be made out on surviving photographs, though given the challenges in accurately dating a particular view to the corporation era, coupled with the general quality of the images, this is perhaps not surprising.

Horse tram staff were also issued with long, double-breasted overcoats with five buttons and lapels; the latter appear to have been devoid of badges.

Staff working the newly inaugurated electric services were issued with a completely new style of uniform. Conductors wore single-breasted jackets with five buttons, two breast pockets (with button closures) and upright collars; the latter bore an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side, and systems initials - 'C Y T' - on the right-hand side, almost certainly in nickel. Motormen on the other hand wore double-breasted 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of buttons (narrowing from top to bottom) and upright collars; the latter bore the same insignia as conductors. Caps were in a military style with a glossy peak and bore standard, 'off the shelf' script lettering grade badges - either 'Conductor' or 'Motorman' - almost certainly in nickel. Both tunics also had epaulettes: these had button closures and bore a badge of some description, currently unknown. Although marked 'City of York Tramways' buttons exist (see link), the early studio portrait below shows a motorman who appears to be wearing buttons devoid of the title, suggesting that the marked buttons may have appeared later.

At some point, probably after the Great War, the 'C Y T' initials were replaced by one-piece 'YCTD' badges, presumably standing for 'York Corporation Transport Department'. In the late 1920s or early 1930s, a change was made to a more modern style of jacket, single-breasted with lapels; the latter probably carried an employee number on the right-hand side and system initials on the left-hand side, though these cannot be made out with certainty on surviving photographs. Tramcar staff were also issued with long, double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons, high fold-over collars and epaulettes; it is currently unclear whether they bore any insignia.

Photographs of inspectors are rare, though one from around the years immediately prior to the Great War suggests that they wore fairly standard tramway inspector attire, namely, single-breasted jackets with hidden buttons (or an hook and eye affair), edged with material of a finer quality than the main garment. They probably had upright collars with the grade - 'Inspector' - embroidered on each side, though this cannot be confirmed due to the poor quality of surviving photographs. Caps were in all likelihood military in style, bearing 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering.

In common with many UK tramways, York employed conductresses during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services; however, unlike the majority of systems, York also had lady drivers (motorwomen). Conductresses were issued with long, tailored, single-breasted jackets with five buttons, four pockets, lapels and epaulettes; the upper lapels (collars) bore the same insignia as male staff. Motorwomen were issued with 'lancer'-style tunics with epaulettes and high, fold-over collars, but clearly tailored for the female form, and with six rather than five buttons. The collars bore the same insignia as male staff. Headwear seems to have been a bonnet (possibly felt), which bore a hat band carrying the standard, script-lettering grade badge. Photos also exist of motorwomen wearing dark-coloured straw bonnets without insignia; it is unclear whether these were official issues or not. Female staff (at least motorwomen) were also issued with long, tailored, single-breasted overcoats.

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
City of York Tramways horse tram crew
Driver and conductor at the Mount terminus with an unidentified Horse Car, possibly No 5 - photo undated, but definitely taken after 1905 and more than likely taken during the last few weeks of operation. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.



York Horse tramways
A very smart driver and his equally smart conductor - photo undated, but probably taken during the corporation era. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Motormen and conductors
York Corporation tramways tram driver motorman
A studio portrait of a York motorman - photo undated, but probably taken around the time of opening (1910). The right-hand collar bears 'C Y T' initials, standing for 'City of York Tramways'. Although indistinct, the buttons appear to bear a plain 'coat of arms'-like device, without the system title, even though fully titled buttons are known to exist (see link). With thanks to Nick Thurlow.


City of York Tramways cap badges
Script-lettering cap badges of the type worn by City of York Tramways staff - nickel.


York Corporation tramways tram driver motorman and Tram No 5
Motorman at the controls of a pristine-looking Tramcar No 5 on a service from Nessgate to Fulford, dating the photo to 1910.


CityofYork_Decor_AWBCROP
A really poor photograph, but the only one I've been able to source which shows that conductors wore single-breasted jackets rather than the double-breasted 'lancer'-style tunics issued to motormen - taken on the opening day, 20th January 1910.


Mr Fred Legg York Corporation Tramways motorman
Motorman Fred Legg of York Corporation Tramways - photo probably taken in the late 1920s. Note that the old 'C Y T' initials had by this time been replaced with a one-piece 'YCTD' collar badge. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.



York Corporation Tramways Department badges and buttons - nickel. WIth thanks to Gerald Knox.


City of York Tramways tram No 14
A poor quality photo, but one which does illustrate the later style of single-breasted jackets with lapels . Tramcar No 14 on a service to Southbank - photo undated, but very probably taken in the early to mid 1930s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Senior staff
City of York Tramways staff photo
Another poor quality photograph - taken at Fuflord Deport - but one which shows an inspector (extreme right), wearing fairly standard tramway inspector garb - undated, but probably taken prior to the Great War. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Female staff

City of York Tramways conductress and motorwoman pose with Tramcar No 21 on the Nessgate to Hull Rd service - photo almost certainly taken during the Great War. Although tailored, the ladies' uniforms, match the men's stylistically, i.e. single-breasted for conductresses and double-breasted 'lancer' style for motorwomen. The conductress is wearing a felt bonnet with a script-lettering 'Conductor' badge, whilst the motorwoman sports an unmarked straw bonnet.


City of York Tramways Tram No 1 conductress and motorman
Conductress and motorman with a raither battered-looking Tramcar No1 on a service bound for Haxby Rd - photo undated, but almost certainly taken during the Great War or shortly afterwards. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


York Corporation Tramways Tram No 7, conductress and driver
Conductress and motorman with Tramcar No 7 on a Fulford service - photo undated, but certainly taken in the Great War. Author's Collection.


City of Tork Tramways motorwoman and Tram No 27
Motorwoman at the controls of Tramcar No 27. She is probably wearing a tailored, single-breasted overcoat. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.