Birmingham and Aston Tramways

In common with the majority of UK steam-operated tramways, drivers wore very similar attire to their railway counterparts, namely, heavy-duty trousers and jackets, often cotton and light in colour, along with soft-topped or flat caps. No badges or insignia were worn on either the jackets or the caps.

Conductors appear to have worn informal attire, though often with a soft-topped cap that may possibly have been issued by the company; it does not however appear to have borne a badge. In later years, flat caps were frequently in evidence.

Conductors also wore a round, brass, municipal licence; this bore a number, above which was a roundel containing the Birmingham arms, and below, 'CONDUCTOR' in upper case letters.

Inspectors may have worn uniforms, but in the absence of photographic evidence, it is currently impossible to say either way.

For more information on the Birmingham and Aston Tramways, see: 'A History of the British Steam Tram - Volumes 1 and 2' by David Gladwin; Adam Gordon Publishing (2004 and 2006).


Steam tram drivers and conductors
Birmingham and Aston Tramways Steam Tram No 13
A rather pristine looking Steam Tram No 13, a Kitson product, suggesting that the photo was taken in 1885 when it was delivered. Both men in the shot are wearing railway-footplate style attire. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.

Birmingham and aston Steam Tramways Engine No 1 and crew Witton
Driver and conductor pose for the cameraman outside what would appear to be a favoured location, Witton Depot. Although the photo is undated, the fact that the engine (a Kitson product of 1882) would appear to be in good condition, it was probably taken after 1897 when it was given a new boiler. Author's Collection.

Birmingham and Aston Steam Tramways conductor and driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crew. The conductor is wearing smart, informal attire and a soft-topped cap, whilst the driver has a heavier jacket, again with a soft-topped cap; neither the jackets nor the caps bear insignia. The conductor has a round licence attached to his cashbag strap.

Birmingham and Aston Steam Tramways Tram No 15 Witton
Another shot taken at Witton, this time of Steam Tram No 15, another Kitson that made its first appearance in 1885. The date is thought to be 1900. Author's Collection.

Birmingham and Aston Steam Tramway driver  and conductors 1900
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crewmen, two conductors and a driver. Once again, the conductors are wearing soft-topped caps, possibly company issued, but devoid of insignia. Magnification reveals the two licences, both hanging from cashbag straps, to be the same pattern shown below.

Birmingham Corporation Tramways conductor licence
Birmingham municipal licence, issued to Birmingham and Aston Tramways conductors.

Birmingham and Aston Tramways Steam Tram No 27 and Tralier 6
Kitson Steam Tram No 27, which was delivered new in 1886, and Trailer No 6 - photo undated, but almost certainly taken between 1899 (when No 6 was built) and 1902 (when the lines within Aston were taken over by Aston Manor UDC). Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Birmingham and Aston Tramways conductor
A blow-up of the above photo, showing the conductor; he is wearing the usual cap and licence.

Birmingham and Aston Tramways steam tram crew
Conductor and driver pose for the camera with Aston-bound Kitson-built Steam Tram No 19 outside Witton Depot - photo purportedly taken in 1900. The conductor is in informal attire with a flat cap, but does have the municipal licence hanging from his cashbag strap. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.