Wigan Tramways Company
(later Wigan and District Tramways Company)

Summary
Photographs of the early horse-drawn era of the Wigan Tramways Company do not appear to have survived; however, given that uniforms were certainly not worn by their colleagues on the steam tram services, it seems highly likely that horse tram drivers and conductors simply wore informal attire.

Several good quality images have fortunately survived that show steam tram crews in both Wigan Tramways Company days (up until March 1892), as well its successor, the Wigan and District Tramways Company (up until municipalisation in September 1902). These photos clearly show that drivers wore very similar attire to their railway counterparts, namely, heavy cotton trousers and jackets, frequently of a light colour, possibly grey or beige. Headgear also followed railway practice, with photos invariably revealing soft-topped or grease-top caps. No badges were worn, either on the jackets or the caps

In common with the majority of horse and steam tramways, conductors simply wore heavy-duty informal attire - trousers, shirts and jackets - along with the normal headgear of the day, either the bowler hat, or the flat cap. Once again, no badges or insignia of any kind, including licences, were worn.

A couple of photographs of inspectors have survived (see below), and these provide enough detail to permit an accurate description of the uniforms they wore. The earliest uniform (in WTCo days) was single-breasted, and was worn with a soft-topped cap; it is unclear whether the uniform or cap carried insignia of any kind. A photo of 1893 however (i.e. in the early days of the W&DTCo), shows an inspector in an elaborate single-breasted jacket with hidden buttons (or more than likely an hook and eye affair), edged in a finer material than the main body and which was also used to give a 'bandsmans frog' effect on the front of the jacket. The cap was now more of a pillbox-style of kepi with a shiny peak; this cap certainly carried the bearer's grade - Inspector - in script lettering, though whether this was embroidered or metal is unclear.

For a detailed history of Wigan's steam tramway system, see 'The Tramways of Wigan' by E K Stretch; Manchester Transport Museum Society (1978).

Images

Steam tram drivers and conductors
Wigan Tramways Company Steam Tram No 3 1880s
A lovely photograph of what would appear to be a relatively new Steam Tram No 3 (a Wilkinson locomotive) and Trailer No 3 (an Ashburys-built Eades reversible product) - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid 1880s (the trailer is marked 'Wigan Tramways Company').


Wigan Tramways Company Steam Tram driver 1880s
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver, who would appear to be wearing a light-coloured cotton jacket and a soft-topped cap, all without markings or badges.


Wigan Tramways Company steam tram conductor 1880s
Another blow-up of the above photo, this time showing the conductor. He is wearing an informal jacket and a bowler hat. The light-coloured area on his left breast is probably a handkerchief rather than a licence.


Wigan Tramways Company Steam Tram No 11
Driver, stoker (?), and probably an inspector, pose for the camera with Engine No 11 (an 1886-built Wilkinson locomotive) - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1880s (Engine No 11 is in rather good condition, and the rather battered trailer is clearly marked 'Wigan Tramways Company').


Wigan Tramways Company Steam Tram No 11 and driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver and the stoker (or fitter), both wearing light-coloured cotton jackets, the former in a soft-topped cap and the latter in a bowler hat.


Wigan and District Tramways Steam Team No 12 1893
Engine No 12 (a Kitson of 1893) looking very shiny, along with a pristine-looking trailer in Ormskirk Rd, Pemberton. Although the photo is undated, the fact that both the engine and trailer are almost new, strongly suggests that it was taken in 1893. The man in the top hat is probably John Gee, a local businessman who had been instrumental in reviving the fortunes of the tramway. Photo courtesy of David Gladwin, with thanks to Trevor Preece.


Wigan and District Tramways Steam Tram driver 1893
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver, in light-coloured jacket and trousers, along with a soft-topped cap. The light-coloured area on the latter is very probably a reflection rather than a badge.


Wigan and District Tramways steam tram conductor 1893
Another blow-up of the 1893 photo above, this time showing the conductor, in informal jacket and flat cap. Although he would appear to be wearing a licence on his cashbag strap, this is possibly an attachment for a ticket punch given the long string/chain connecting it to something in his hand.


Wigan and District Steam Tramways Kitson at Pemberton terminus
Kitson steam tram and trailer captured in Ormskirk Rd, at the Pemberton terminus - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid-to-late 1890s.


Wigna and District Tramways steam tram driver and stoker at Pemberton 1890s
A blow-up of the above photo showing the stoker (?) and driver, both of them staring intently at the cameraman. Their soft-topped caps do not carry badges of any kind.


Wigan and District Tramways company No 11 steam tram
Conductor and driver with a later Engine No 11 (also a Kitson locomotive) at the Pemberton terminus - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid-to-late 1890s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Wigan and District Tramways company No 5 steam tram
Conductor and driver pose with Engine No 5 (an ex-Brighton District Tramways, Wilkinson-built steam tram) somewhere on the Hindley route - photo undated, but probably taken around the turn of the century. Both men are wearing typical 'steam tram' attire, the driver in railway footplate-like clothing and the conductor in robust but informal attire, inclusive of a flat cap. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Senior staff
Wigan Tramways Company inspector
A blow-up of the late 1880s photo of Engine No 11 above, showing an individual who is more than likely an inspector. His uniform and cap do not appear to bear any insignia.


Wigan and District Tramways Company inspector 1893
A blow-up of the 1893 photo above showing the rather portly inspector, in single-breasted jacket with bandsman's frogs and a kepi-style cap, which would appear to bear his grade Inspector in script-lettering.