St Helens Corporation Tramways

Summary
Photographs of St Helens Corporation Tramways electric tramcars, either during the years the system was operated by the New St Helens and District Tramways Company (1897 to 1919) or by the corporation itself (1919 to 1936), are surprisingly scarce, and those depicting staff are rarer still. Given the paucity of photographic evidence, it is currently therefore impossible to describe either the evolution of the uniforms or the associated badges.

The two early photographs below, taking during the tenure of the New St Helens and District Tramways Company, indicate that staff working the new electric services wore double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons, a breast pocket, and lapels; the jackets do not appear to have borne insignia of any kind. Caps were in a kepi-style with a glossy peak, and probably bore a large oval cap badge, possibly of embroidered cloth. During these years, motormen - and probably conductors too - were required to wear round municipal licences when operating the services.

Conductors and motormen were also issued with long double-breasted overcoats, with two rows of four buttons; once again, no badges of any description appear to have been carried.

Although many systems employed female tramcar staff during the Great War, I can find no evidence that St Helens did so, though given the rarity of published material - photographic or otherwise - this cannot be taking for evidence that they were not employed.

During the early years of operation, Inspectors working for the New St Helens and District Tramways Company wore similar uniforms to tramcar staff, along with kepi-style caps. The latter bore a large oval cap badge, possibly of embroidered cloth.

Images

Motormen and conductors
New St Helens and District Trmawys Company Tram No 2
Conductor (rear) and Motorman (at the controls) pose for the cameraman with what is probably a brand-new Tramcar No 2, dating the photograph to very late in 1899 or early in 1900. The proprietorial-looking individual holding the stanchion is more than likely an inspector.


New St Helens and District Tramways Company tram driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman. He is wearing a double-breasted jacket and a kepi-style cap; although the image is rather poor, it seems to suggest that the cap bore a large oval cap badge.


New St Helens and District Tramways Company tram crew
The crew of a brand-new Tramcar No 5 pose for the cameraman on a St Helens to Nutgrove service in 1900, the motoman in a flat cap, suggesting that the kepis were in short supply. Once again it is impossible to discern whether or not the conductor's kepi bears a cap badge, though if it did, the fact that no reflection is evident would tend to suggest that it was cloth.


St Helens electric tram
Driver, conductor and inspector (probably) pose with Tramcar No 34 in New St Helens and District Tramways Company days - photo undated, but probably taken in the early Edwardian era. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Senior staff
New St Helens and District Tramways Company inspector
Blow-up of the photograph of Tramcar No 2 above, showing the inspector. His jacket appears to be plain - i.e. devoid of insignia - whereas his cap clearly carries a large oval cap badge, which appears to be of embroidered cloth.