The Tyneside Tramways and Tramroads Company
Photographs of TT&TCo staff are far from common, and those that have survived overwhelmingly represent the Edwardian and Great War eras, supplemented by a single photo from the last day of operation. Conductors and motormen initially wore single-breasted jackets with four buttons and lapels; it is difficult to say with absolute certainty, but it would appear that the jackets were unadorned by either badges or marked buttons, everything being plain. Caps were in the kepi-style and carried a prominent oval cap badge (gilt), which bore the full company title around the outside, and an employee number - in the open centre - on two narrow bars (see below). These simple uniforms appear to have persisted through to the mid-Edwardian era (circa 1905), by which time they were superseded by a more traditional single-breasted jacket with five buttons (bearing an elaborate monogram of the company initials - see link), two breast pockets (with button closures), epaulettes and collars; the latter bore an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side - in individual numerals - and system initials - 'T T & T Co' - on the right-hand side. The uniform buttons, and probably the collar insignia, were brass.
The photo below, taken on the last day of operation - 6th April 1930 - strongly suggests that motormen's uniforms (at least) remained unaltered right through to closure, including the kepi-style caps; the latter could legitmately have been considered to be old fashoned as early as the Great War, so their retention until the 1930s, probably makes the TT&TCo unique (amongst UK tramways system) in this regard.
Inspectors wore single-breasted jackets edged in a finer material than the main body, with hidden buttons - or an hook and eye affair - two slit breast pockets and upright collars; the latter almost certainly carried the designation 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering, though this cannot be made out on surviving photographs. Caps appear to have been in the kepi style and carried a prominent badge; whether this was identical to those worn by tramcar staff is however unclear.
In common with many tramway systems, ladies were employed in significant numbers during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services. Uniforms comprised long skirts and jackets, the latter being a tailored single-breasted design with five buttons, a waist belt, lapels and two hip pockets (with button fastenings). No insignia appear to have been worn on the jackets. Headgear took the form a wide-brimmed bonnet bearing the standard ‘TT&TCo’ cap badge; these bonnets were probably made of straw (for summer wear) and felt (for winter). The photo shown below indicates that most ladies were also issued with long double-breasted overcoats bearing two rows of six buttons and epaulettes; again these appear to have been devoid of badges.
Motormen and conductor
TT&TCo Tramcar No 1 stands outside Gosforth Park gates - photo undated, but probably taken around 1905. Left to right: conductor, inspector, conductor, and two motormen. Author's collection.
A blow-up of the above photo, this time showing one of the motormen. Whilst his jacket appears to be devoid of insignia, the large oval cap badge on his kepi-style cap is easily made out.
Another blow-up of the above photo, this time showing one of the conductors. His uniform jacket again appears to bear no badges whatsoever.
TT&TCo cap badge No 83 - gilt/brass. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth collection.
Another fairly new TT&TCo Tramcar, outside Gosforth Park gates, this time No 16 - photo undated, but probably mid-Edwardian. Author's collection.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman. A switch had evidentally be made to single-breasted tunics by this time, at least for motormen. The collars carry an employee number on one side and 'T T & T CO' initials on the other.
A blow-up showing the conductor, who is still wearing a jacket devoid of insignia.
TT&TCo motorman posing with his family in Wallsend in 1912. Image kindly supplied by Beamish Museum Limited (see link), image copyright Beamish Museum Limited.
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the uniform insignia.
A photograph taken in New Bridge Street on the 6th April 1930, the last day of operation, showing TT&TCo motorman A Tierney (left). Although at first glance this image would appear to suggest that motormen and conductors wore different uniforms, the trams are actually TT&TCo, Gateshead & District Tramways, and Newcastle Corporation Tramways, the figures on the right being corporation employees. Somewhat surprisingly, Motorman Tierney appears to be wearing a kepi-style cap, which by this time must have seemed incredibly old fashioned.
A blow-up of the photograph of Tramcar No 1 above, showing one of the inspectors.
A rather ragbag group of TT&TCo conductresses at Wallsend Depot in 1917. Image kindly supplied by Beamish Museum Limited (see link), image copyright Beamish Museum Limited.
A blow-up of the above photo showing three of the conductresses. The two on the left appear to be wearing straw bonnets with the standard cap badge, whereas the one on the right may have a felt bonnet.
Another blow-up of the above photo showing three more of the conductresses. In contrast to the tailored tunic seen in the previous blow-up, the lady on the right appears to be weating something less sartorial, possibly even a man's jacket.