York Tramways (horse)

Summary
Photographs of the first twenty years of the tramway's existence — during the tenure of the York Tramways Company (1880 to 1886) and its successor (the City of York Tramways Company 1886 onwards) — appear not to have survived, so it is currently impossible to state whether or not uniforms were worn during this era (i.e., up until the turn of the century). However, the odd photograph has survived from around the turn of the century (see below), which tentatively suggests that informal attire was worn, namely: shirt, jacket and tie, along with a plain kepi-style cap.

By the time new trams were placed in service in 1905, and when the photographic record becomes much richer, uniforms had definitely made an appearance. These comprised single-breasted jackets with five buttons and lapels, along with a matching waistcoat and a kepi style cap; the cap bore no insignia. Several later photographs suggest that as the company's economic woes continued, in the face of corporation intransigence, uniform policy became lacks, with several photographs showing conductors wearing informal attire, shirt, jacket and flat cap.

Staff were also issued with long, double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons; some had lapels, which appear to have been devoid of insignia, whilst others had high, fold-over collars bearing (on the right-hand side only) what appear to have been metal initials, possibly 'C Y T'.

It is currently unclear what style of uniform, if any, was worn by inspectors.

For a history of the tramway, see 'The Horse Tramways of York' by Hugh Murray; Light Rail Transit Association (1980).

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
City of York Tramways Company horse tram
Driver and conductor — both of whom appear to be wearing informal attire, but with kepi-style caps — with an unidentified horse car at the Fulford terminus — photo undated, but certainly taken prior to 1905, and possibly in the 19th Century. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


City of York Tramways Company horse tram conductor and driver
Driver and conductor with one of the new 1905 horse cars at the Fulford terminus — photo undated. The driver appears to have metal initials on his right-hand overcoat collar. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


City of York Tramways Company horse tram driver and trace horse
A rare 'in motion' photograph of an unidentified horse car in Micklegate, being assisted up the incline by a trace horse, allegedly called 'Dobbin' — photo undated, but probably mid Edwardian. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


City of York Tramways Company Horse tram No 5
Driver and informally attired conductor pose for the cameraman at the city terminus with a 1905 horse car — photo undated, but certainly mid-to-late Edwardian. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.