Stockport Corporation Tramways

Early photos - and an article from Tramway and Railway World (1901) - indicate that staff were initially issued with smart single-breasted tunics (made from indigo army tweed) with a single row of five buttons (see link), two breast pockets (with button closures) and upright collars. The collars, cuffs and trouser seams were all piped in white. The collars carried individual metal initials on the right-hand side - 'S C T' - and an employee number on the left-hand side. Caps were in the kepi style, edged in piping, and had a steeply inclined glossy peak. A municipal shield badge (see below) was worn towards the top of the cap, above a script-lettering badge denoting the employee's grade, either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor'. The Tramway and Railway World article indicates that all badges were in white metal, however, as only brass and chrome examples are known, it seems more than likely that the corporation chose to order brass insignia, which probably sufficed for some 30 years or so before being superseded by chrome in the 1930s or 1940s.

All photographs dating from the first few years of operation show motormen wearing heavy-duty greatcoats, so it is not possible to be absolutely certain what type of jacket was worn underneath. Whilst the Tramway and Railway World article suggests that motormen were issued with single-breasted tunics like conductors, it is entirely possible that the Corporation actually saw fit to order heavier duty jackets for motormen, like those they are seen wearing from 1904 onwards. These were a double-breasted design with two rows of five buttons, three waist-level pockets and high, fold-over collars; the latter bore the same insignia as the single-breasted jackets.

The uniforms continued to evolve, and some time before the Great War, the existing styles were replaced by double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom), upright collars and epaulettes; the collars continued to carry the 'SCT' and employee number badges worn on the earlier uniforms. At the same time, the kepi-style caps were replaced with a military style of cap with a tensioned crown (top), with the script-lettering cap badges probably being dispensed with at the same time, leaving the 'Stockport shield' as the sole cap adornment.

In the 1930s, a further switch was made, this time to uniforms with a much more modern feel to them, comprising a double-breasted jacket with two rows of four buttons, three pockets and lapels; photos indicate that the one-piece 'SCT' initials were sometimes worn as previously, with an employee number on the opposite collar, though photos also survive of individuals wearing them without an employee number or even on both collars.

Tramcar crews were also issued with heavy double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons, three pockets, epaulettes and high fold-over collars; the latter carried an employee number on the left-hand side and 'S C T' system initials (probably) on the right-jand side.

In the early years of operation, inspectors wore the same uniforms as motormen and conductors, the only apparent difference being a script-lettering 'Inspector' badge worn on the cap. These uniforms were subsequently changed to a more traditional 'tramway' inspector pattern, which was single-breasted with hidden buttons (or more likely an hook and eye affair), five slit pockets and upright collars, all edged in a finer material than the main body of the jacket. The collars bore embroidered 'S C T' initials (on the right-hand side at least) and the grade - Inspector' - in embroidered script-lettering on the cap

In common with many tramway systems, women were employed in considerable numbers during the Great War to replace men lost to the armed forces. Female tramcar staff were issued with long, tailored, double-breasted jackets with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom) and upright collars, with three buttons on the sleeve cuffs. A long matching skirt was also worn, together with a wide-brimmed bonnet. The latter bore a hat band somewhat reminscent of those used by the Royal Navy, some with the word 'STOCKPORT' in embroidered upper case letters, and others plain with the standard 'Stockport shield' badge affixed. Conductresses were also issued with long, double-breasted greatcoats which could be worn buttoned up (with high, fold-over collars) or unbuttoned to get a lapel-like effect. It is unclear whether these garments bore any insignia.

Stockport also employed female staff during the Second World War, and continued to employ them right through to closure; detail photographs have not survived, but those that we do have suggest that single-breasted jackets with lapels were worn, along with a long matching skirt.

For a history of the Stockport system, see: 'Stockport Corporation Tramways' by Maurice Marshall; Manchester Transport Museum Society (1975).


Motormen and conductors
Stockport Corporation Tramways Motorman
A commercial portrait of Stockport motorman No 7, though the subject was presumably a model rather than a bone fide employee. The above photo comes from a short article, presumably paid for by the uniform manufacturers (Messrs Pearson, Huggins and Co, 51 Scrutton St, Finsbury, E.C), in Tramway and Railway World, 1901. Note that the collar initials and employee number are reversed compared to operational photos. With thanks to David Voice.

Stockport Corporation Tramways Motorman
A photo from the same article as that above, depicting Motorman No 7 in a specially designed oilskin cape. Looks like they expected some inclement weather in Stockport! With thanks to David Voice.

Stockport Corporation Tramways tram at Gatley
A motorman (left) and his conductor (right) pose in front of Tramcar No 25 outside the Horse and Farrier pub at the Gatley terminus in 1904. Author's Collection.

Stockport Corporation Tramways crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing both the motorman and the conductor, the former having by this time been issued with a heavier double-breasted tunic, presumably in recognition of the exposed driving position.

Stockport Corporation Tramways Tram No 36 1905
Motorman and conductor pose for the camera with what appears to be a brand new tramcar, No 36, possibly in Reddish Road - photo undated, but almost certainly taken in 1905. Photo reproduced with the kind permission of the Greater Manchester Transport Society (see link).

Stockport Corporation Tramways  crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman and conductor, both of whom are wearing kepi-style caps, the former with a 'Motorman' grade badge and the latter with a 'Conductor' grade badge. The conductor is wearing the standard single-breasted jacket with 'S C T' on his right-hand collar and his employee number (possibly '47') on his left-hand collar; the motorman is wearing a double-breasted greatcoat ,which bears an employee number on the left-hand collar.

Stockport Corporation Tramways shield cap badge brass
Stockport Corporation Tramways cap badge - brass. This would have been worn from 1901 through to around the 1930s/40s when it would presumably have been replaced by a chrome equivalent. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.

Motorman and Conductor badges
General pattern script-lettering grade badges of the type used by Stockport Corporation Tramways - brass. These were used on the caps from the opening in 1901 but fell out of use shortly before the Great War. Author's Collection.

Stockport Corporation Tramways decorated tram 1908
Tramway staff pose alongside a tramcar decorated to mark the visit of their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales, who were visiting Stockport to open the new Town Hall - 1908. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Stockport Corporation Tramways staff
A blow-up of the above photo showing some of the motormen (in double-breasted jackets) and conductors (in single-breasted jackets). Note that the gentleman in the centre is wearing the 'SCT' collar badge on his cap rather than a usual script-lettering cap badge.

Stockport Corporation Tramways No 29 Tram
Stockport Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 29, probably in newly outshopped condition having been vestibuled and top-covered, thus dating the photo to 1922. Both the motorman and conductor are wearing 'lancer-style' tunics. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Stockport Corporation Tramways crew
Two tramcar staff and an inspector pose with a decorated tramcar - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s or 1930s. Note the military-style caps, the absence of script-lettering cap badges, as well as the addition of epaulettes to the tunics. Photo reproduced with the kind permission of the Greater Manchester Transport Society (see link).

Stockport Corporation Tramways conductor
A blow-up of the previous photo, showing the man on the left, in all probability, a conductor. Photo reproduced with the kind permission of the Greater Manchester Transport Society (see link).

Stockport Corporation Tramways conductor Tom Less
Conductor Tom Lee poses with Tramcar No 15 in Mersey Square in 1938. The one-piece ‘SCT’ lapel badges can be clearly seen, and are worn on both collars rather than one. Conductor Lee worked on the trams from approximately 1933 to 1939, serving in the armed forces until 1944 when he was wounded. He subsequently returned to Stockport Corporation to work on the buses, eventually moving on to Henry Simons. With thanks to his daughter, Irene Miller.

Senior staff
Stockport Corporation Tramways Inspector
Stockport Corporation Tramways Inspector Arthur Wood (of Heaton Norris) on the platform steps of an unidentified tram - photo believed to have been taken in the Great War. His right-hand collar insignia appear to be embroidered 'S C T' initials. Arthur Wood was a 'motorman' at the time of his marriage in 1904 (aged 33 years), and became an inspector the following year. He died aged 72 years in 1943. With thanks to his great grand-daughter Linzi McNab (nee Wood). Location of original unknown.

Stockport Corporation Tramways inspector
Another blow-up of the decorated tramcar photo above, this time showing the inspector. Photo reproduced with the kind permission of the Greater Manchester Transport Society (see link).

Female staff
Stockport Corporation Tramways Great War tram conductress
A lovely studio portrait of a Great War Stockport conductress. Source unknown