Blackpool St Annes and Lytham Tramways

Summary
Gas tram services were worked by the British Gas Traction Company from 1896 until late 1898, when they were taken over by the owner of the tramway, the Blackpool, St Annes and Lytham Tramways Company. Photos showing staff are rare, but those few that have survived suggest that they wore informal attire, though this is far from certain. The company also operated horse trams as a result of the general unreliability of the gas trams, and a desire not to waste money investing in new ones when the future was clearly conversion to electric traction. Photos of the horse trams are extremely rare, and though it is impossible to say whether the staff working them wore uniforms, in all likelihood none were issued.

For the inauguration of electric services, staff appear to have been issued with single-breasted jackets with five nickel buttons (comprising the arms of the three towns - see link) and upright collars. The right-hand collar seems to have borne a long badge, probably system initials, though these cannot be made out on surviving photographs. Caps were in the upright military style and carried script-lettering grade badges - either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor' - presumably in nickel to match the buttons. A nickel cap badge - comprising the arms of the three towns with wreath adornment and a ribbon contain the full company name (see below) - was worn above the grade badges.

Platform staff were also issued with long, double-breasted overcoats with epaulettes and high fold-over collars; the latter did not bear any badges. Motorman at least were also issued with round licences - white lettering on red enamel - which hung from a leather strap (see below for an example).

Photographs of inspectors, or female staff (assuming they were employed during the Great War) have yet to surface, so it is currently impossible to say what uniforms they wore.

Images

Gas tram drivers and conductors
Blackpool St Annes and Lytham gas tram No 16 and crew
The crew of Gas Tram No 16 pose for the cameraman in 1899. Neither the conductor (at the rear) or the driver (on the platform) are wearing a uniform. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Blackpool St Annes and Lytham gas tram No 18 and crew
Gas Tram No 8 and crew - photo undated, but probably taken around the turn of the century. It is unclear if either the driver (on the platform) or the conductor (standing on the top deck) are wearing uniforms. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society.

Motormen and conductors

Blackpool St Annes and Lytham Tramways Tram No 32
Conductor and motorman with Tramcar No 32 - photo undated, but probably mid Edwardian. The jackets are single-breasted jackets with upright collars, and bear some kind of badge, possibly system initials judging by the length. Both men are also wearing enamel licences, possibly the same pattern as depicted below, though they appear to be white rather than red. Photo courtesy of Duncan Holden.


Blackpool St Annes and Lytham Tramways licence
Licence, worn by motormen and possibly conductors. Author's collection.


Blackpool St Annes and Lytham Tramways Tram No 23
Motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 23 - photo undated, but probably taken shortly after 1906 when this car was rebuilt. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society.


Blackpool St Annes and Lytham Tramways Tram driver
Blackpool, St Annes and Lytham motorman - the message on the back of the original photo is dated 17th January 1919, and is signed "From your big nephew, Tom". Note the gaiters (possibly war surplus) and the very poor state of his boots. Author's collection.


Blackpool St Annes and Lytham Tramways Tram driver
Blow-up of the above photo showing details of the cap badge.


Blackpool St Annes and Lytham Tramways cap badge
Blackpool, St Annes and Lytham Tramways Co cap badge - nickel.


Blackpool St Annes and Lytham Tramways cap badge
Blackpool, St Annes and Lytham Tramways Company cap badge - nickel. Note that this badge is without the wreath adornment or the ribbon ends (at the bottom) of the previous badge. This is the only example I am aware of, so it is uncertain whether it was ever issued or if it is a single example made by the badge manufacturer for consideration by the company. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Blackpool St Annes and Lytham Tramways cap badges
Standard 'off-the-shelf' script-lettering cap badges of the type worn by Blackpool, St Annes and Lytham Tramways staff - nickel


Senior staff
Blackpool St Annes and Lytham Tramways cap badge
Blackpool, St Annes and Lytham Tramways Company cap badge - gilt. This badge may have been worn by inspectors, though there is currently no evidence to support this. With thanks to Darren Lodge.