Warrington Corporation Tramways

Summary
Photographs depicting tramcar crews in the early years of operation are scarce, and those that do exist only show staff wearing long, double-breasted overcoats, so it is currently impossible to say what uniforms were worn underneath. Caps were in the kepi style and bore script-lettering grade badges - either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor' - above which another badge was worn, which by analogy with later photographs, was probably an employee number. All badges were presumably brass to match the buttons (see link).

At some point, probably in the mid-to-late Edwardian era, a switch was made to upright, military style caps; these continued to carry an individual employee number, worn below, but sometimes above, the standard script-lettering grade badges. By the mid 1920s, most staff appear to have dispensed with the script-lettering grade badges, simply wearing the employee number on their caps. By this time, and possibly from the earliest days, motormen wore double-breasted cross-over tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom) and upright collars. The left-hand collar carried a small municipal coat of arms badge, whilst the right-hand side carried the system initials - 'W C T' - in individual brass letters. Conductors wore single-breasted tunics - at least in later years - with a row of five buttons and two breast pockets with button closures; the jackets also had upright collars, and these carried the same insignia as those worn by motormen. The brass badges and buttons were eventually replaced with chrome issues, probably in the early 1930s.

Motormen and conductors also wore long, double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons; no badges of any kind appear to have been worn on these garments.

Inspectors wore single-breasted jackets edged in a finer material than the main body of the jacket, with hidden buttons (or a hook an eye affair) and upright collars; the latter appear to have carried embroidered 'W C T' initials on the left-hand side and 'Inspector' on the right-hand side. The jackets also bore epaulettes (at least in later years). Caps were probably in the kepi style originally, but were eventually changed to an upright military pattern; the latter carried the same Warrington Corporation coat of arms badge that tramcar staff wore on their collars. Warrington also had a Chief Inspector (see below), who wore a similar uniform to the inspectors, though possibly with different collar insignia.

In common with many UK tramway systems, female staff were employed during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services. Unfortunately, the sole surviving photograph shows a group of ladies in informal attire - apart from their bonnets - suggesting that uniforms had not yet been obtained at the time the photograph was taken. It seems highly likely that uniforms were eventually issued, but until photographic evidence comes to light, their precise form remains unknown.

Images

Motormen and conductors
Warrington Corporation Tramways Tram No 4
Inspector (possibly), conductor and motorman with an almost new Tramcar No 4, dating the photo to the early Edwardian era. Note that all present are wearing kepi-style caps. Photo courtesy of Duncan Holden.


Warrington Corporation Tramways Tram No 8
A motorman poses for the camera of M J O'Connor at Sankey Bridges on 5th July 1933. The left-hand collar bears a small municipal arms badge, whilst the right-hand side has individual 'W C T' initials. The cap badge is actually an employee number. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Warrington Corporation Tramways collar badge
Warrington Corporation Tramways collar badge - gilt. Author's collection.


Warrington Corporation Tramways collar badge
Warrington Corporation Tramways collar badge - chrome. Probably worn from the early 1930s until closure in 1935. Author's collection.


Warrington Corporation Tramways collar badge
Warrington Corporation Tramways collar initials - chrome. Probably worn from the early 1930s until closure in 1935. Author's collection.


Warrington Corporation Tramways staff 1927
A photo of long-serving Warrington staff taken in 1927, with Chief Inspector Quinn seated centre. Note that three of the staff are wearing script-lettering 'Motorman' cap badges. Photo courtesy of Stephen Howarth.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways
Standard ‘off the shelf’ script-lettering cap badges of the type used up until the mid 1920s - brass.


Warrington Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 7 and crew
Conductor and motorman pose for the camera with Tramcar No 7, bound for Longford - photo undated, but possibly taken in the 1920s. Photo courtesy of Stephen Howarth.


Warrington Corporation Tramways staff
A rather delapidated Tramcar No 1 standards with an array of staff at the Latchford terminus - photo undated, but probably taken in 1935, either at or shortly before closure. Photo courtesy of Duncan Holden.


Warrington Corporation Tramways tram crews
Blow-up of the above photo, showing five tramcar crew.

Senior staff
Warrington Corporation Tramways inspectors
A blow-up of the long-service photo above showing Chief Inspector Quinn and another inspector to his left. Both are wearing the standard Warrington municipal coat of arms badges on their caps.

Female staff
Warrington Corporation Tramways tram conductresses
A group of Warrington Corporation Tramways conductresses - photo undated, but almost certainly taken during the Great War. With the exception of the hats, all present appear to be wearing a rather motley assortment of attire, suggesting that uniforms had yet to be issued. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society.