Bournemouth Corporation Tramways

Summary
Apart from the caps, the general style of uniform appears to have remained virtually unchanged for the entire life of the system (1902-1936). Tunics were single-breasted with five buttons (presumably brass - see link), two breast pockets (with button closures) and upright collars; the latter carried an employee number in individual metal numerals on the left-hand side and system initials - 'B C T' - in individual metal letters, on the right-hand side. One of the photographs below shows that many employees had a cloth chevron on the left arm of their tunics; the meaning of this is unclear, but may have been to recognise long service or good conduct.

Caps were in the kepi style initially, with a steeply inclined glossy peak and metal script-lettering cap badges, either 'Conductor' or 'Motorman'; a small municipal 'coat of arms' badge was worn above the script-lettering cap badge. Some time in the first decade of operation, and definitely prior to 1910, the kepi-style caps were superseded by military-style caps with a tensioned crown (top); the cap insignia remained the same. Badges (and buttons) were in all probability brass for the entire life of the system, though there remains a possibility that nickel may have made an appearance in later years.

Conductors, and particularly motormen, also wore long, double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons and lapels; these do not appear to have carried insignia of any kind.

It is currently unclear what uniforms were worn by inspectors, as surviving photos are both few in number and of insufficnet quality to discern the uniform details.

Unlike the vast majority of tramway systems, who employed women during the Great War to replace male employees lost to the armed service, Bournemouth elected not to employ female staff; instead, the corporation adopted a policy of employing boys aged 16 to 18 years, who were ostensibly ineligible for call up due to their age.

Images

Motormen and conductors
Bournemouth Corporation Tramways Conductor No 126?
Studio portrait of a Bournemouth Corporation Tramways conductor (possibly Employee No 126) - photo undated, but probably taken in the early Edwardian era. Author's collection.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways Conductor No 126?
Blow-up of the above photo showing the collar insignia and the municipal arms cap badge, topped by a pine tree.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways cap badge
Bournemouth municipal 'coat of arms' cap badge - brass.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways cap badges
Standard ‘off the shelf’ script-lettering cap badges of the type used by Bournemouth - brass.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways tram 50 and crew
Conductor and motorman pose with Tramcar No 50 on route to County Gates - photo undated, but probably taken before July 1905 when the gap between the Bournemouth and Poole systems - at County Gates - was closed, and through services were introduced. Both men are wearing kepi-style caps. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways tram 6 and crew
Conductor and motorman pose with Tramcar No 6 at the Landsdowne Rd change pit with a service to Boscombe - photo undated, but probably taken shortly after opening in 1902. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.



Bournemouth Corporation Tramways Tram No 17 circa 1908
Conductor and motorman pose with Tramcar No 17 in the middle of what is probably High St (terminal stub) in Christchurch, - photo undated, but probably taken in 1908.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways conductors 95 and 2
Studio portrait of two Bournemouth conductors (Employees No 95 and No 2) - photo undated, but probably late Edwardian. The collar insignia are clearly discernable, as is the quality of the uniform.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways conductor No 95
A blow-up of the above photo, clearly showing the pine tree atop the municipal 'coat of arms' badge.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways tram 79 and crew
Conductor and motorman pose with Tramcar No 79 at Tuckton Bridge in 1910. Military-style caps had evidently replaced kepis by this date.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways conductor No 103
Bournemouth Corporation Tramways conductor (Employee No 103) - photo undated, but probably late Edwardian. The photographer is 'J Deayton of Winton, Bournemouth'. Author's collection.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways conductor No 103
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the uniform. The photo is so sharp, that the system can be identified from the button alone.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways
A line-up of Bournemouth staff, predominantly motormen, possibly taken outside Southcote Depot - photo undated, but probably taken shortly after the Great World, given that many of the men are wearing medals. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways staff
A blow-up of the above photograph showing a group of motormen. The meaning of the chevron on the upper arm of the jackets is unclear, though it may possibly denote seniority in terms of service.


Bournemouth tram conductors and moterman
Two conductors and a motorman (Employees No 74, 222 and 113) - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Photo courtesy of Grant Kemp.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways tram No 28 and staff
Tramcar and maintenance staff pose with Tramcar No 28 - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways Tram No 46 and crew
Motorman and conductor pose aboard Tramcar No 46 in the depot - photo undated, but possibly taken on the same day as the preceding shot. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Bournemouth Corporation Tramways cap badge
Probable 'tramways era' cap badge - nickel plated brass (curiously, there is no sign of this badge ever having had the tree seen on the previous badge and photos).