Accrington Corporation Tramways
Accrington Corporation was involved in tramway operation from 1886, owning and maintaining the track used by the Accrington Corporation Steam Tramways Company, which despite the name, was not owned by the corporation! The corporation did eventually purchase the enterprise in 1907, but allowed the company to continue running services whilst it rapidly converted the lines for electric operation.
Staff working the newly inaugurated electric services were issued with double-breasted cross-over style tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom) and upright collars; the latter certainly bore insignia of some description - probably 'ACT' initials on the right-hand side, and possibly a municipal coat of arms badge on the left, though these cannot be stated with certainty. Caps were in an upright military style, and bore standard, 'off the shelf', script-lettering cap badges, either 'Driver' or 'Conductor'; these were possibly brass, though this is far from certain. Staff were also issued with long, double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars; the latter carried 'ACT' initials on both sides.
Inspectors wore single-breasted jackets with hidden buttons (or possibly a hook and eye affair), edged in a finer material than the main jacket, with upright collars; it is unclear whether the latter bore any insignia as this cannot be discerned on surviving photographs, though in all likelihood they bore 'Inspector' in embroidered script-lettering. Caps were initially in the kepi-style, but were superseded by the same style of upright military caps worn by tramcar crews, but with the peak embellished with braiding. Somewhat unusually, the caps appear to have been completely devoid of insignia.
In common with the vast majority of UK tramway operators, during the Great War Accrington employed women - both as conductors and later on as motormen - to replace men lost to the armed services. Unfortunately, no photographs of these ladies appear to have survived, so it is currently not possible to say what uniforms they wore.
Motormen and conductors
Motorman at the controls of what is very probably a newly delivered Tramcar No 4, dating the photograph to 1907. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.
Local postcard ostensibly commemorating the first electric tramcar (No 11) to Haslingden - probably taken in September 1908. Photo courtesy of Jim Halsall.
Blow-up of the above photo showing details of the conductor's uniform. The individual wearing the overcoat and kepi-style cap is very probably an inspector.
General pattern script-lettering cap badges - Driver and Conductor - probably issued in brass by Accrington.
Motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 5, believed to have been taken in the vicinity of China and India Streets around 1910. The subject is wearing a 'Driver' script-lettering cap badge, and 'ACT' initials on his overcoat collar. Photo courtesy of Duncan Holden.
Clayton-bound Tramcar No 12 and crew - photo undated, but probably late Edwardian. Photo courtesy of Duncan Holden.
The crew of Tramcar No 6 pose for the camera at Oakleigh, Whalley Rd - photo undated, but probably taken in late 1908 when No 6 was delivered. Both men are wearing upright, military-style caps with script-lettering grade badges.
Driver and conductor with fund-raising decorated tram during the Great War. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society.
Conductor with Tramcar No 19 - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s. Photo courtesy of Duncan Holden.
Motorman with Tramcar No 9 in the centre of Accrington - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Although on first glance he appears to be wearing a jacket with lapels, in fact it is the standard cross-over style tunic, but half unbuttoned. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.
Cap/collar badge worn by staff of Accrington Corporation Transport, but certainly not during the tramway era as the material (chrome) was note widely used until the 1930s.
An inspector (left) poses for the camera with the crew of Tramcar No 18 at Oakleigh, Whalley Road - photo undated, but given the pristine condition of the tram, very probably taken in late 1907. In contrast to the crew, the inspector is wearing a kepi-style cap. Photo courtesy of Jim Halsall.
Inspector (left) with the crew of Accrington-bound Tramcar No 5 - photo undated, but probably taken in 1907/8. Photo courtesy of Duncan Holden.
Inspector (with arms folded, right) stands with the crew of an Accrington-bound tramcar - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s. By this time, inspectors had dispensed with the kepi-style caps in favour of the upright, military type worn by the tramcar crews. Photo courtesy of Jim Halsall.