Ashton-under-Lyne Corporation Tramways
Good quality photographs of Ashton-under-Lyne Corporation Tramways staff are unfortunately scarce, but those that have survived indicate that the uniforms jackets were single-breasted with a row of five buttons (see link). Although the precise form of the collars is currently unknown, given that the greatcoats most definitely carried individual metal ‘ACT’ letters on the collars, it seems highly probable that jackets were likewise adorned.
Caps were in the military style with a glossy peak, and carried script-lettering badges, either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor', almost certainly in nickel to match the buttons. Certainly by the time of the Great War, and probably from the commencement of operations, a small municipal cap badge was also worn above the grade badge; although the precise form of this badge cannot be made out on surviving photographs, it was very probably the standard 'coat of arms' badge depicted below. Photographs taken after the Great War indicate that the grade badges were gradually dispensed with, so that caps eventually bore just the small municipal cap badge. At some point in the 1920s or 1930s, a switch was made to a more modern cut of jacket, double breasted with lapels; the latter certainly bore insignia of some description, though precisely what cannot unfortunately be made out on surviving photographs.
Photographs of inspectors are scarce, but those that have survived indicate that single breasted jackets were worn; these had hidden buttons (or an hook and eye affair) and upright collars, which probably bore the grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered script lettering. Caps also bore the grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered script lettering.
In common with the vast majority of UK tramway operators, Ashton almost certainly employed women during the Great War to replace men lost to the armed services. Photographs of female employees are however yet to come to light, so it is currently not possible to say what uniforms, if any, these ladies wore.
Motormen and conductors
Motorman and conductor with Tramcar No 15 in Kings Street, Higher Hurst - photo undated, but probably taken around the time of the Great War. Both men are wearing standard, 'off the shelf', script-lettering grade badges, 'Motorman' and 'Conductor'; the former also appears to be wearing a small badge above his script-lettering grade badge, almost certainly the municipal arms cap badge depicted below. Author's collection.
Standard 'off-the-shelf' script-lettering cap badges of the type worn by Ashton-under-Lyne Corporation Tramways staff - nickel.
Ashton-under-Lyne Corporation Tramways municipal cap badge - nickel
Cap/lapel badge - brass/gilt
The crew of Tramcar No 35 at Manchester Piccadilly with Service No 28 for Ashton - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid 1930s. The small Ashton municpal cap badge can just be seen under the top of the cap. Photo by W A Camwell, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
The crew of Tramcar No 34 pose for the camera of W A Camwell in Audenshaw - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1930s on the same day as the preceding photo. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
A blow up of the above photograph showing the conductor in double-breasted jacket. His cap carries only the municipal 'coat of arms' badge.