Stockport Corporation Tramways

Summary
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 white 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 'Driver' or 'Conductor'. The Tramway and Railway World article indicates that all badges were in white metal, though policy must have changed at some point as brass badges and buttons do exist.

Within the first five years or so of operation, motormen's tunics were replaced by a heavier 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. Some photos show the odd conductor wearing this tunic, though most continued to wear the single-breasted jackets.

The uniforms continued to evolve, and some time before the First World War, all existing uniforms were replaced with a fairly standard 'tramway' double-breasted, cross-over style tunic with two rows of five buttons, 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, again carrying the same insignia as previously, though the script-lettering cap badges were eventually dispensed with (probably just after the First World War), 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, 'bus-like' feel to them. These consisted of double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons, three pockets and lapels; the latter continued to carry the usual badges.

In common with many tramway systems, women were employed in considerable numbers during World War I to replace the men lost to the armed forces. Female tramcar staff were issued with long, tailored, double breasted jackets with two rows of five buttons and upright collars, and 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. The style of uniform worn by female staff during World War II is currently unknown.

Heavy double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons, three pockets, epaulettes and high fold-over collars were also issued, both to male and female tramcar crews.

In the early years of operation, Inspectors wore the same uniforms as motormen and conductors, the only apparent difference being that a script-lettering 'Inspector' badge was worn on the cap. These uniforms were subsequently changed to a more traditional 'tramway' inspector pattern, consisting of a single-breasted jacket with hidden buttons and upright collars. The collars, as well as the cap, bore the title 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering.

Images

Stockport Corporation Tramways Motorman
A commercial portrait of Stockport motorman No 7. 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 crew
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. By this time motormen had been issued with a heavier double-breasted tunic, presumably in recognition of the exposed driving position.


Stockport Corporation Tramways  crew
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 badge
Cap badges - chrome (post 1930) and brass - with thanks to the National Tramway Museum.



Standard script-lettering cap badges of the pattern used by Stockport Corporation Tramways - brass. White metal badges were initially issued, but this practice was subsequently altered.


Stockport Corporation Tramways staff
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. Note that the gentleman in the centre is wearing the 'SCT' collar badge on his cap rather than a usual script-lettering cap badge. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with particular 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, and 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 inspector
Another blow-up of the above photo, this time showing the inspector. Photo reproduced with the kind permission of the Greater Manchester Transport Society (see link).


Stockport Corporation Tramways conductor
Conductor Tom Lee poses with Tramcar No 15 in Mersey Square in 1938. The one-piece ‘SCT’ lapel badges can be clearly seen. 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.