Burnley Corporation Tramways

Summary
Burnley Corporation ran steam tram services for approximately 20 months following municipalisation of the former Burnley and District Tramways Company. Photographic evidence is inconclusive, but that which does survive suggests that the corporation did not bother issuing uniforms to staff working the steam services, instead allowing them to wear railway footplate-like attire (drivers and firemen) or informal clothing (conductors) (see link).

Conductors and motormen working the new electric services were issued with double-breasted jackets with two rows of five buttons (carrying the full system title and civic arms, and almost certainly brass - see link), three waist-level pockets (with flaps), an open breast pocket, and lapels. The collars above the lapels appear to have carried some kind of insignia, probably embroidered, though exactly what this was remains unclear. Perhaps uniquely for a British tramway system, caps issued to motormen and conductors were markedly different in style, conductors wearing squat kepis and motormen wearing military style caps with tensioned crowns (tops); both carried a round cap badge comprising the full system title around a civic device (see below). The double-breasted jackets were identical in style to those worn by their predecessors working for the erstwhile Burnley and District Tramways Company (see link). Occasional photos show tramwaymen with their jackets unbuttoned, revealing that a waistcoat with six buttons was worn underneath.

Uniform jackets appear to have remained unchanged stylistically for the entire existence of the tramway, bar minor alterations to the cut; conductors' kepi-style caps were however phased out after the Great War. Later photographs show some staff wearing a chevron(s) on their right sleeve (on an arm band), this probably denoted either long service or good conduct.

Motormen and conductors were also issued with long, double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons and high fold-over collars; it is unclear if the latter carried any kind of insignia.

Inspectors wore single-breasted jackets with hidden buttons (or a hook and eye arrangement) and upright collars; the latter almost certainly bore the designation 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering, though this awaits photographic confirmation. Caps were military in style (at least in later years) with a cloth cap badge; this probably bore embroidered 'B.C.T.' initials above 'Inspector', all within a wreath.

Female staff were very likely employed during the Great War to replace men lost to the armed services; however, I have yet to see a photograph confirming this, so details of the uniforms worn are currently unknown.

Images

Motormen and conductors
Burnley Corporation Tramways Tram No 43 and crew
Conductors and motorman pose with Tramcar No 43 in a depot yard - photo undated, but very possibly taken in 1903 when No 43 was delivered, as it certainly looks to be in pristine condition. The jackets are virtually identical to those worn by conductors of the BCT's predecessor, the erstwhile Burnley and District Tramways Company. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Burnley Corporation Tramways Tram No 42 and crew at Summit in 1903
No 43's immeditate predecessor (numerically) at Summit on the Manchester Rd route - photo undated, but once again, likely taken in 1903 in view of the unblemished condition. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Burnley Corporation Tramways tram conductor 1903
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor. Further magnification suggests that the collars bore embroidered insignia, possibly the bearer's grade. The round cap badge, which bore the full system title and municipal arms (see below) stands out due to the strong reflection.


Burnley Corporation Tramways cap badge
Burnley Corporation Tramways cap badge - brass. Author's collection.


Burnley Corporation Tramways Tram No 42 and crew
Motorman and conductor with what looks to be a fairly new Tramcar No 42 at Towneley Park Gates - photo undated, but probably taken in 1903 or 1904. Consistent with the previous photo, the motorman is wearing a military-style cap, whilst the conductor wears a more old-fashioned kepi. With thanks to Duncan Holden.


Burnley Corporation Tramways crews and Tram No 15
Two crews pose with Tramcar No 15 with a service to Nelson - photo undated, but probably taken in the early Edwardian era. The motormen are once again wearing upright military caps whilst the conductors are wearing kepis. The two figures on the right are probably wearing uniform waistcoats. With thanks to Jim Halsall.


Burnley Corporation Tramways crew and tram No 66
Motorman and conductor pose with Tramcar No 36 with a service for Rosegrove - photo undated, but probably taken around the time of the Great War, as this car was top covered sometime between 1914 and 1920 (it is in open-topped condition in this photo). Author's collection.


Burnley Corporation Tramways motorman
Blow up of the above photo showing details of the motorman's uniform, including the embroidered collar insignia.


Burnley Corporation Tramways crew and Tram No 36
Motorman and conductor pose with Tramcar No 36, this time with a service for Harle Syke and in top-covered condition, so the photo is definitely post 1914, and very probably post Great War. The conductor is still wearing what was, by this time, a very old fashioned kepi-style cap. With thanks to Jim Halsall.


Burnley Corporation Tramways Tram No 56 and crew
Conductor and motorman with what is possibly Tramcar No 56 - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid-to-late 1920s. Author's collection.


Burnley Corporation Tramways tramcar crews
A group of tramway staff, including an inspector - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s. Note the stripes on the sleeves of the two individuals on the left, probably denoting either long service or good conduct. With thanks to Duncan Holden.


Bunrley Corporation Tramways crew and Tram No 57
Motorman and conductor pose with Tramcar No 57 - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. With thanks to Duncan Holden.


Burnley Corporation Tramways Tram No 48 and tram driver
Motorman with Tramcar No 48 outside the depot - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Burnley Corporation Tramways No 48 and motorman
Motorman with Tramcar No 48 - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s or early 1930s. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.


Senior staff
Burnley Corporation Tramways inspector
Blow-up of the 1920s group photo above showing the inspector on the right. The cap badge is almost certainly cloth, bearing embroidered 'B C T' intials above 'Inspector' in script lettering, all within a wreath - the same pattern was definitely used by the system's successor, the Burnley, Colne and Nelson Joint Transport Committee (see link). With thanks to Duncan Holden.