Burnley and District Tramways

Summary
Numerous photographs have survived which show B&DTCo steam tram crews reasonable close up, and these reveal that drivers and stokers (often boys) wore very similar attire to their railway counterparts, namely, heavy cotton trousers and jackets, predominantly light in colour. Headgear also followed railway practice, with photos invariably showing grease or soft-topped caps, though trilbies and flat caps also made an appearance. No badges of any kind were worn, including licences.

An excellent studio portrait has survived of Conductor No 8 of the Burnley and District Tramways Company, clearly showing that they wore double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons (probably bearing 'B&DT' script initials; see link), three waist pockets (with flaps), a breast pocket (slit) and lapels. The left-hand collars, and very probably the right-hand too, bore the word ‘CONDUCTOR’ in embroidered block letters. Caps were in a smart kepi-style with a stiff glossy peak - sometimes referred to as a 'pill box' - and bore a large cloth cap badge containing embroidered ‘B&DT’ block initials, above which was an employee number, also embroidered. The general shape of the badge is very reminiscent of several other early tramway companies, e.g. North Metropolitan Tramways Company (see link). A few photographs exist which show conductors in informal attire - the most likely explanation for this is that they were taken in corporation days, the new owners having understandably chosen to dispense with the B&DT uniforms and caps.

Inspectors, at least in later years, wore single-breasted jackets edged in a finer material than the main body, with hidden buttons (or a hook and eye arrangement) and upright collars; the latter probably bore the designation 'INSPECTOR' in embroidered lettering, though this cannot be made out on surviving photographs. Caps were seemingly identical to those used by conductors.

Images

Steam tramway drivers and conductors
Burnley and District Tramways conductor
Carte de Visite of B&DT Conductor No 8. The card was produced by ’Bancroft and Crabtree of Burnley, Nelson and Bacup’, and although undated, was certainly taken prior to the municipal takeover in 1900. Magnification shows the buttons to be script-lettering, 'probably 'B&DT' (see link). Author's collection.


Burnley and District Tramways tram conductor
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the collar and cap insignia; the latter is clearly of embroidered cloth.


Burnley and District Tramways steam tram crew
Conductor, inspector and driver with an unidentified Falcon steam tram - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1890s. With thanks to Bury Image Bank (see link); Image b13748 - copyright Bury Archive Services.


Burnley and District Tramways steam tram crew
Driver (climbing on his engine), conductor and stoker (on the left) with an unidentified Falcon steam tram - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid 1890s. With thanks to Duncan Holden.


Burnley and District Tramways steam tram crew
Driver, stoker and conductor pose for the cameraman with a reasonable-condition Falcon steam tram - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1890s. With thanks to Duncan Holden.


Burnley and District Tramways Steam Tram No 16 and Trailer No 15 1885
B&DTCo steam tram No 16 - a Falcon product delivered in 1897 - and Trailer (No 15) at Colne Rd - photo undated, but almost certainly taken in June 1897, given that another virtually identical photograph has survived which is thus dated. This was probably a publicity shot, taken when No 16 was new, as both vehicles are yet to be festooned with advertisements, something which the B&DTCo seems to have excelled at! Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Birmingham and District Tramways Steam Tram No 16
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver in trilby hat.


Birmingham and District Tramways Company conductor
Another blow-up of the above photo, this time showing the conductor in uniform with kepi-style cap.


Burnley and District Tramways steam tram crew
A rather poor quality photograph, but one which does show the conductor's uniform reasonably well. If the Falcon engine is No 17 (this is not entirely clear), then this would date the photograph to 1897 or later. With thanks to Jim Halsall.


Burnley and District Tramways steam tram crew
Steam tram engine crew, including a very young stoker, pose for the camera together with their conductor. As was the case with most steam tramways, the footplate crew are appropriately attired for the physical and dirty nature of their work. The conductor also looks distinctly shabby compared with other shots, suggesting that this image may have been taken towards the end of the company's existence. With thanks to Jim Halsall.


Burnley and District Tramways steam tram crew
A rather decrepit-looking Falcon engine with driver, conductor and fireman (or rather boy). The photo is undated, though there are reasons to suspect that it is quite late - possibly after the corporation take-over - amongst them, the condition of the tram, and the conductor's informal attire, presumably the result of the corporation dispensing with the old company uniforms. With thanks to Duncan Holden.


Senior staff
Burnley and District Tramways inspector
Blow-up of one of the photos above showing the inspector, in typical tramway inspector's jacket with a kepi-style cap.