Barnsley and District Tramways

The Barnsley and District Electric Traction Co Ltd was a subsidiary of the much larger British Electric Traction Company Ltd (BETCo), a concern which at its zenith either owned, part-owned or leased almost 50 tramway concerns across the British Isles. Despite the fact that the company operated successfully for some 28 years before closure in the 1930s, photographs depicting staff are not only surprisingly rare, but appear to stem overwhelmingly from the first decade of operation; care must therefore be exercised in extrapolating from this evidence through the Great War and the 1920s, as uniforms may well have changed in style over the course of these two latter decades. The photographs that have survived do however show staff of the B&DTCoLtd wearing the familiar and largely regulation BET uniform; although jackets appeared to vary somewhat between BET systems, as well as across the decades, the cap badges, collar designations and buttons invariably followed a standard pattern.

The jackets issued to staff of the B&DTCoLtd in the first decade of operation were single-breasted with five buttons (presumably of the standard BETCo pattern - see link) , a single breast pocket (with button clousre) and upright collars; the latter carried an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side (in individual numerals) and systems initials - 'B & D T' - in individual letters on the right-hand side, all almost certainly in brass. Caps were military in style with a glossy peak, and carried a standard brass BET ‘Magnet & Wheel’ badge (see below), underneath which an employee number was worn (in individual brass numerals).

By analogy with other BETCo tramway systems, inspectors probably wore single-breasted jackets with hidden buttons and upright collars bearing ‘Inspector’ in embroidered script lettering. Caps almost certainly bore a standard, brass BETCo ‘Magnet & Wheel’ cap badge, possibly with the grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered script lettering beneath; confirmation must however await the discovery of photographic evidence.

Female staff were probably employed in significant numbers during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services; photographs seem not to have survived, so it is currently unclear what uniforms they wore.


Motormen and conductors
Barnsley and District Tramways staff photo
A rather poor quality photograph, but one which shows four B&DT tramcar staff proudly posing for the camera with the Friendly Society Challenge Cup, presumably in 1911. All are wearing single-breasted jackets and caps with standard BET insignia. The jacket collars carry an employee number on the left-hand side and individual 'B & D T' initials on the right-hand side, all almost certainly in brass. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.

British Electric Traction cap badge
Standard British Electric Traction Company ‘Magnet & Wheel’ cap badge of the type worn by Barnsley and District Tramways staff - brass.