Bradford City Tramways
Photographs of the very earliest years of the municipal tramway era show staff wearing double-breasted uniforms with two rows of 5 buttons (presumably of the boars head variety) and lapels; the latter do not appear to have carried any badges. Caps were soft-topped, and carried script-lettering grade badges - either ‘Driver’ or ‘Conductor’ - which were most probably brass, to match the buttons.
Around the turn of the century, or possibly shortly thereafter, the style of the uniforms was completely changed. Staff now wore double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom) and upright collars. The left-hand collar carried a staff number (in brass numerals), whilst the right-hand collar carried a small badge, again brass, almost certainly a municipal device. Smart kepi-style hats were also introduced, and these bore large fretwork-style badges with the letters ‘B C T’ at the top, and the grade along the bottom (‘Driver', 'Conductor' and 'Parcels' are known); in the case of drivers and conductors, a class was carried in the centre (for 'Driver', 'Class 1' and 'Class 3' have survived).
Some time before 1907, when the City of Bradford was officially granted ‘ram and goat’ supporters to its coat of arms, the kepi-style caps were dispensed with in favour of military-style caps with a tensioned crown (top); these continued to bear the same fretwork badges as previously. Photos taken from 1908 onwards however, clearly show that the Tramways Department reacted swiftly to the grant of supporters, issuing new cap and collar badges. The cap badges (see below) were produced in brass and blue enamel and contained the full tramway title over the new coat of arms, all above an open, lozenge-shaped surround containing an employee number. Although the style of the tunics remained the same, the old collar designations were replaced by a new municipal device (worn on both collars; see below). The heraldic device on the tramcars was also changed around this time.
One of the studio portraits below clearly shows the subject wearing the new ‘coat of arms’ cap badge along with the older ‘boars head’ uniform buttons; presumably the corporation waited until uniforms were in need of replacement before issuing new ones. Later photos (see below) show that tunics were subsequently changed to a single-breasted design, though still with upright collars, which continued to bear the municipal device badge.
Around the 1930s, the jackets were changed to a more modern design, which though still single-breasted (with four buttons), had wide lapels; these bore the municipal device badges previously carried on the upright collars. It is likely that a switch was made to chrome buttons and badges around this time, as 'tramway' cap badges have survived in this material.
Photographs of senior staff are rare - the 1898 depot photo below includes a single inspector, who is wearing a single-breasted jacket with lapels, epaulettes and cuff embellishments; headgear took the form of a kepi-style cap, which appears to have carried the grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered script lettering. By 1902 however, a more traditional style of inspector's uniform appears to have been adopted, still single-breasted, but with hidden buttons (or an hook and eye affair), edged in material of a finer quality than the main body, and with upright collars. Although the insignia cannot be made out on surviving photographs, in all probability, both collars and cap probably bore the grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered scipt lettering. By the Great War, inspectors were wearing military-style caps; these carried a prominent badge, which appears to have been noticeably different in form compared with those worn by tramcar staff.
Women were employed in considerable numbers during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services; they were issued with long skirts and tailored, single-breasted jackets with five buttons, four pockets (with button closures), a waist belt (with button) and lapels. The lapels appear to have carried large embroidered initials ('BCT') on the left-hand side, and an employee number on the right hand side. Headgear took the form of a wide-brimmed bonnet, which appears to have been made from a shiny, probably water-repellent material; the exact form of the cap badge cannot be made out, but was possibly the same 'coat of arms' device which male employees wore on their collars.
Motormen and conductors
Bradford City Tramways staff photo taken at Bolton Rd depot in 1898, almost certainly to commemorate the inauguration of municipally operated services. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
Blow-up of the above photo, clearly showing the soft-topped caps, with ‘Conductor’ and ‘Driver’ script-lettering cap badges. The jackets appear to be devoid of insignia, though somewhat curiously, many appear to be several buttons short!
General pattern script-lettering cap badges - Driver and Conductor - almost certainly issued in brass by Bradford. These badges were used from 1898 to around 1900.
Motorman at the controls of a brand-new Tramcar No 13 outside a depot, presumably Bolton Rd - photo undated, but almost certainly taken in 1898. He may be wearing a badge on his collar, though this is far from certain.
A group of conductors and motormen (known as drivers in Bradford) taken in 1904. Note the collar designations, kepi hats and distinctive cap badge. With thanks to the late Stanley King.
Blow-up of the above photo, showing Driver No 156; the fretwork-style cap badge consists of ‘B C T’ initials (at the top) and the grade, ‘Driver’ along the bottom. The text in the centre cannot be made out, but will be the class of driver i.e. CLASS 1 etc. The right-hand collar in this photo appears to bear a coat of arms type badge.
Bradford City Tramways 'Class 1 Driver' cap badge - brass. This style of badge was used from circa 1900 to 1907. Author's collection
Bradford City Tramways 'Class 3 Driver' cap badge - brass. It is unclear whether this is an unfinished example or whether some badges were also issued in this form. Author's collection.
Bradford City Tramways 'Parcels' cap badge - brass. . Author's collection
Motorman and conductor with Tramcar No 101 on a service to Heaton - photo undated, but definitely taken between 1902, when this vehicle was new, and 1904, when it was top-covered. Both individuals are wearing kepi-style hats with the large fretwork cap badge, as well as flowers, so it was clearly a special occasion. Author's collection.
Conductor and Motorman aboard Tramcar No 220 - photo undated, but almost certainly taken before 1907 as the armorial device on the tramcar (not shown) is without the 'ram and goat' supporters.
A group of Bradford City Tramways employees wearing military-style caps, but still with fretwork badges - photo undated, but almost certainly taken between 1905 and 1908. Clockwise from top left: Employee 610 (conductor); 194 (Driver); 548 (Conductor); 326 (Class 1 Conductor); Herbert Rowe (a BCT conductor, but seemingly in military uniform with a cap that may be from the Empress Theatre in Bradford); and 269 (Class 1 Driver). Given the medals on show, the photo was presumably taken to celebrate some anniversary or reunion, possibly reflecting Boer War service. With thanks to Ian C Henry, Herbert Rowe's great nephew.
Studio portrait of a Bradford City Tramways driver (Employee No 120) - photo undated, but probably taken between 1905 and 1908. The subject has the newer military-style cap but with the older fretwork badge. His collars have the employee number on both sides rather than just the bearer's left-hand side.
Employee 515 - probably taken soon after 1907 when Bradford was granted 'ram and goat' supporters to its arms. Note the new municipal cap and collar badges (with the new supporters); the buttons are however still the older ‘boars head’ pattern. Author's collection.
Bradford City Tramways cap badge - circa 1907/8 onwards - brass. The meaning of the 'P' is unclear, though it could refer to the Parcels Service. Author's collection.
Collar/lapel badge - brass (worn from 1907/8 onwards). Author's collection.
Two conductors and a motorman (plus interlopers) pose for the cameraman with top-covered tramcar No 190 - photo undated, but probably taken in the late Edwardian era. All three crewmen are wearing the new style cap badges. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
Motorman 722, John Herbert Moss (born 23rd June 1884), probably taken shortly after the Great War or in the early 1920s; he remained a Motorman all his career, driving the last tram up Bowling Old Lane and retiring in 1949. He is clearly wearing a single-breasted jacket under his greatcoat. With thanks to his grand-daughter, Mary Twentyman.
Motorman Norman Clough (Herbert Moss’s brother-in-law), probably taken in the early 1920s, apparently in the same studio as the previous photograph. With thanks to his grand-daughter, Mary Twentyman.
Motorman 722, John Herbert Moss, probably taken shortly before the Second World War. Note the newer style of single-breasted jacket with lapels. With thanks to his grand-daughter, Mary Twentyman.
Bradford City Tramways cap badge - circa 1930s onwards - chrome. Author's collection.
Collar/lapel badge - chrome (worn from around the 1930s onwards). Author's collection.
A Bradford City Transport trolleybus conductor - photo taken at Wibsey terminus in May 1971. Although some 20 years after the demise of the tramway, the cashbag strap still sports a Bradford City Tramways buckle. With thanks to the photographer, David Mitchell.
A blow-up of the 1898 depot photo above showing the solitary inspector.
Inspector, conductor and motorman pose with Tramcar No 129 at Allerton in August 1902. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the inspector, who appears to be wearing a more traditional style of inspector's uniform with upright collars and hidden buttons.
Senior employee, probably an inspector (taken from conductresses photo below) - circa 1916/18. Note that the cap badge appears to differ markedly from those worn by tramcar staff. With thanks to the Graham Hall Archive.
Bradford City Tramways conductress - photo undated, but almost certainly taken during the Great War. The bonnet appears to be waterproofed, and the collar designations appear to be embroidered, with ‘BCT’ on the left and an employee number on the right. With thanks to the Graham Hall Archive.
Bradford City Tramways conductresses - photo circa 1916 - outside the Bradford City Transport Department Central Office in Bolton Rd. The solitary male is more than likely an inspector or chief inspector. With thanks to the Graham Hall Archive.