South London Tramways Company

Summary
Although the photographic record is not particularly rich, especially considering that the SLTCo operated in a major metropolis for some 21 years, it is neverthless clear that drivers simply wore smart but informal attire, including jackets, overcoats and leather aprons; headgear ranged from the bowler hat to flat caps. By the mid-1890s, and possibly for the entire life of the tramway company, conductors were issued with uniform jackets with lapels, though it is currently unclear whether these were double or single-breasted, or whether they carried insignia of any kind. The style of cap was very unusual for a tramway concern, being very reminscent of the kepis worn by postmen during this period ,with crown (top) being narrower than the main body. The caps bore a large oval metallic cap badge of unknown pattern, no examples of which appear to have survived.

When in service, drivers and conductors would have been required to wear a Metropolitan Public Service Vehicle badge (see link), usually hung from a jacket button, or, in the case of conductors, from the cash-bag strap.

Photographic evidence for inspectors is very sparse, with just a single shot showing an individual who would appear to be of that grade (see below). The photo suggests that inspectors were issued with double-breasted jackets with lapels, as well as the same style of kepi cap issued to conductors; the latter also bore a large oval cap badge, probably of the same pattern worn by conductors.

For a history of the company, see 'London County Council Tramways Vol 1: South London' by E R Oakley; London Tramways History Group (1989).


Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
South London Tramways Company horse tram No 55 Wandsworth
Driver and conductor pose for the cameraman with SLTCo Horsecar No 55 in North St, Wandsworth outside the Two Brewers public house in 1895. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


South London Tramways Company tram driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver, in flat cap and long leather apron.


South London Tramways Company tram conductor
Another blow-up of the first photo above, this time showing the conductor. He is wearing a uniform jacket and kepi-style cap which is very similar in style to those worn by the postmen of the period; the cap bears a prominent oval cap badge.


South London Tramways Company tram
Horsecar No 35 pictured at the East Hill terminus around 1900. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


South London Tramways Company tram crew conductor driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver, a conductor (Mr Dunbar Snr) and a figure on the right who may possibly be an inspector. The conductor is wearing the distinctive SLTCo kepi-style cap with prominent oval cap badge, as well as a PSV badge.