Bury Corporation Tramways

Photographs of Bury Corporation Tramways staff are surprisingly rare, much more so than those of its predecessor, the Bury, Rochdale and Oldham Steam Tramways Company. Surviving photographs do however show that for the inauguration of electric services, both motormen and conductors were issued with single-breasted jackets with five buttons, two breast pockets (with buttons closures) upright collars and epaulettes; the latter carried a small brass municipal arms badge on each side. The collars carried an employee number on the left-hand side, and system initials - 'B C T' - on the right-hand side; these appear to have been embroidered at first, but were quickly superseded by brass badges (individual letters and numerals).

Caps were military in style with a tensioned crown (top) and carried an elaborate brass cap badge comprising the Bury municipal arms and motto, all within a wreath, with the full system title - 'Bury Corporation Tramways' - in a ribbon beneath.

A photograph from the 1920s shows a motorman wearing a double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunic with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom) and upright collars, but without epaulettes. It is unclear when these tunics were introduced, nor whether they were used exclusively by motormen. By the 1940s, tramcar staff were wearing a more modern style of double-breasted jacket with two rows of four buttons, lapels and epaulettes. It is possible that the latter carried a one-piece 'BCT' initials badge, though this is far from certain. It is also likely that the badges and buttons were changed from brass to nickel at some point, as several examples of marked 'Tramway' cap badges have survived in this material.

Tramcar staff were also issued with double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars; it is unclear whether these garment bore badges of any kind.

Photographs of inspectors are yet to come to light, so it is currently not possibel to say what uniforms they wore.

Bury undoubtedly employed female staff during both the Great War and the Second World War to replace male staff lost to the armed services; photographs have however yet to surface, so details remain unknown.


Motormen and conductors
Bury Corporation Tramways tram conductor
A rare portrait of a Bury Corporation Tramways conductor - photo undated, but probably early Edwardian. Author's collection.

Bury Corporation Tramways tram conductor
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the uniform and insignia. The collars are unusually tall, and the insignia are not easily made out, but could well be embroidered. From the general shape, the epaulettes probably bear the municipal arms badge shown below.

Bury Corporation Tramways cap badge
Bury Corporation Tramways cap badge - brass

Bury Corporation Tramways epaulette badge, nickel
Bury Corporation Tramways epaulette badge - nickel. These would almost certainly have been brass in the early years, but were at some point changed to nickel. Author's collection.

Bury Corporation Tramways tramcar No 17
Two motormen aboard Tramcar No 17, most probably on the inaugural electric service to Radcliffe (1905). The rather boyish looking individual on the left has 'B C T' initials on his right-hand collar, whilst the individual on the right has an employee number on his left-hand collar, '4'. With thanks to Bury Image Bank (see link); Image b04963 - copyright Bury Archive Services.

Bury Corporation Tramways collar badge
Bury Corporation Tramways collar initials - brass. Collar insignia appear to have been embroidered initially, but eventually gave way to brass numerals and letters.

Bury Corporation Tramways tram No 35
Conductor and Motorman posing with Tramcar No 35 outside the Three Arrows Public House, Bury and Bolton Rd, Radcliffe - photo undated, but probably taken just before the Great War. With thanks to John Holme of the Manchester Transport Museum Society.

Bury Corporation Tramways Tram No 54 and motorman
Motorman heading towards Radcliffe at the controls of Tramcar No 54 - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s (No 54 was withdrawn in 1932). Photo courtesy of Duncan Holden

Bury Corporation Tramways conductor and Tramcar No 8
The conductor of Bury Corporation Transport Tramcar No 8, about to turn the trolley pole, poses for the camera of A D Packer on 9th October 1948.

Bury Corproation Tramways Tram No 8 and crew
Motorman and conductor pose for the camera with Tramcar No 8, which has clearly seen much better days - photo undated, but possibly taken on the same day as the previous photo given that the tram and the conductor are the same. Note that the driver is wearing a round PSV badge, introduced in 1935, suggesting that he may also have been a bus driver. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.

Bury Corporation Tramways cap badge
Bury Corporation Tramways cap badge - nickel. These were probably intorduced in the late 1920s or 1930s, though evidence for a precise date is completely lacking.

Probable post-tramway-era lapel badge - chrome