Sunderland Tramways Company
Several photos exist of the earliest months of the horse tramway’s existence (in 1879), and these clearly show that staff wore a variety of informal attire ranging from the very smart (frock coats or overcoats, with bowler hats) which gradually gave way to more mundane and workmanlike clothing (heavy jackets and flat caps). This was common practice amongst early horse tramway operators, and indeed, many of them never saw fit to change, and thus never issued uniforms or insignia of any kind. The Sunderland Tramways Company did however revise its policy some time in the 1890s, as photos taken around this time (and later) show staff wearing single-breasted jackets with lapels, along with kepi-style caps. The latter carried a prominent curved (convex) metal badge, which possibly bore the company name and/or the employee’s designation. Unfortunately, no examples are known to have survived, so the precise details are unclear.
The STCo briefly experimented with steam traction, both drivers and conductors wearing very similar informal attire to their horse-tram counterparts.
Photographs of inspectors are unknown, and it is entirely possible that the STCo never made use of them.
Horse tram drivers and conductors
A very prominently marked STCoLtd tramcar (possibly No 2) at the terminus at the eastern end of Harbour View - probably taken in May 1879, i.e., barely a month after the opening. The driver is wearing smart but informal attire. With thanks to Malcolm Fraser.
Another shot taken at the same location, and possibly on the same day, this time of Horsecar No 1. The driver appears to be wearing something akin to a stetson! With thanks to Malcolm Fraser.
The STCo's first double-deck tram (converted from a single-deck example) on its first journey in 1880. Driver and conductor (second from the right) are both wearing informal attire. With thanks to Malcolm Fraser.
Another view taken at the eastern end of Harbour View, but this time looking east towards the sea - photo possibly taken in the 1880s. With thanks to Malcolm Fraser.
A very similar view to the previous shot, but with the crew looking a good deal less smart (in flat caps) than in the previous photo - undated, but probably taken in the 1890s. With thanks to Malcolm Fraser.
A scene at the terminus at the end of Harbour View showing Tramcar No 27 - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1890s. Note that both driver and conductor (extreme right) are now wearing uniforms. With thanks to Malcolm Fraser.
Blow up of the above photo. Note the kepi-style cap and
the large cap badge.
A shot taken in Fawcett St of a horsecar crossing High St West - undated, but probably taken around 1900. With thanks to Malcolm Fraser.
Steam tram drivers and conductors
Sunderland Tramways Company Steam Tram No 2, an unusual vehicle assembled by R & W Hawthorn from parts supplied by the Swiss Locomotive and Engine Works, Winterthur - photo possibly taken around December 1880. With thanks to Malcolm Fraser.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor, who is wearing informal attire.