Scarborough Tramways Company

Despite operating a system in one of the North of England's premier tourist resorts, images of Scarborough Tramways Company staff are surpisingly rare, especially those taken prior to the Great War. Surviving photos from the early years of the tramway's existence seem to have been largely intended to show the new electric wonder within its wider environment, so close-up shots of crewmen are rare. Those that have survived reveal that both motormen and conductors wore double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom), epaulettes and upright collars; the latter carried an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side and system initials - 'S T C' - on the right-hand side, both in individual numerals/letters. The material used is currently unknown, but would have been either nickel or brass. Caps were in a military style with a glossy peak and tensioned crown (top); they bore standard, 'off-the-shelf', script-lettering grade badges, either 'Driver' or 'Conductor', with the former being relatively quickly displaced by 'Motorman'.

At some point, and certainly by the middle of the Great War, a switch was made to single-breasted jackets with seven buttons (the STCo was probably unique among British tramway systems in having such a high number of buttons; the usual was five), two breast pockets (with button closures), and upright collars; the latter carried the same insignia as described above. It would appear that this style of jacket was worn right through until closure in 1931. Tramcar staff were also issued with long, double-breasted greatcoats, which somewhat unusually, bore two rows of 'lancer-style' buttons, six or seven, narrowing slightly from top to bottom, and high, fold-over collars. The greatcoats do not appear to have carried badges of any kind.

Only a single photograph of an inspector appears to have survived, and this was taken in the first few years of operation. The uniform comprised a double-breasted jacket with two rows of four buttons and lapels; the upper part of the latter bore insignia of some description, almost certainly the bearer's grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered script-lettering. Caps were in the same style as those worn by tramcar crews, but whether or not they bore a badge is currently unclear.

In common with the vast majority of UK tramway systems, the STCo employed women during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services. These ladies served as conductresses, and were issued with tailored, single-breasted jackets with five or six buttons, high, fold-over collars, and a waist belt with button fastening; the jackets do not appear to have carried insiginia of any kind. A long matching skirt was also worn, along with a large baggy cap (with a stiff glossy peak), which carried a standard script-lettering grade badge. It is unclear whether the women were ever employed to drive the trams.

For a short history of Scaborough's tramways, see: 'Trams by the Sea: a History of Trams and Early Buses in Scarborough' by Chris Goode and Ross Hamilton; United Automobile Services Ltd (1981).


Motormen and conductors
Scarborough Tramways Tram No 1
The crew of Tramcar No 1 (on a circular tour service) pose for the camera on the sea front - photo undated, but judging by the relatively good condition of the tram, probably mid-to late Edwardian. Author's collection.

Scarborough Tramways Company conductor and tram driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and motorman (Employees Nos 40 and 41). Both men are wearing 'lancer-style', double-breasted tunics with upright collars and epaulettes.

Scarborough Tramways Company cap badges
General pattern brass script-lettering cap badges of the type used by the Scarborough Tramways Company. It is currently unclear whether the STCo issued these in brass or nickel.

Scarborough Tramways Company tram crew
The crew of an unidentified STC tramcar pose for the cameraman - photo undated, but probably Edwardian. Author's Collection.

Scarborough Tramways Company Tram driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman - his collar initials are clearly seen, as well as his script-lettering grade badge - 'Motorman'.

Scarborough Corporation Tramways Motorman cap badge
Script-lettering 'Motorman' cap badge, seemingly issued to STCo motormen in place of the earlier 'Driver' badges - brass.

Scarborough Tramways Company Tram conductor
Another blow-up of the photo above, this time showing the conductor, Employee No 11.

Scarborough Tramways decorated tram Carnival Week 1921
A rather dark photo, but one which is clearly dated, and which shows both motorman (on the front platform) and conductor (on the rear platform) in single-breasted jackets. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Scarborough Tramways Tram no 23
The crew of Tramcar No 23 - photo undated, but definitely taken no earlier than 1926, when this vehicle was purchased from Ipswich Corporation Tramways. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Scarborough Tramways conductor and driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and motorman, both in single-breasted tunics.

Scarborough Tramways Tram No 20 stands at the Aquarium
Tramcar No 20 waits at the Aquarium - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Scarborough Tramways motorman
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman.

Scarborough Tramways Tram No 21
A rather smart-looking Tramcar No 21, almost certainly taken in 1926 or 1927 after rebuilding using the body of an Ipswich tram (on the trucks of the old No 21, which had been written off in an accident in 1925). The precise location is uncertain, but is possibly at the Northern terminus (thanks to Brian Mulvana for this information). Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Scarborough Tramways tram driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman, who appears to be wearing a 'lancer-style' overcoat, it is difficult to say, and a 'Motorman' script-lettering cap badge.

Senior staff
Scarborough Tram N0 5
The crew of a fairly new Tramcar No 5 standing in what is possibly Manor Rd, along with an inspector - photo undated, but probably mid-Edwardian. Source unknown.

Scarborough Tramyways Company tram inspector
A blow-up of the above photo showing the inspector (left); he is wearing an open, double-breasted jacket with lapels, with collars that very probably bear his grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered script-lettering.

Female staff
Scarborough Tramways Company conductresses
A motorman and two conductresses pose for the cameraman with a tram decorated as a horse, almost certainly for Carnival Week - photo undated, but probably taken during or shortly after the Great War. The motorman is wearing a single-breasted jacket. Author's Collection.

Scarborough Tramways Great War conductress
A blow-up of the above photo, which though of very poor quality, does show the uniform and cap in reasonable detail.