Hastings Tramway Company

Several photographs exist, which were taken around the time of opening, show tramcar staff in informal but smart attire; although some of these shots are clearly of trial runs (of which there were many), the possibility remains that there were difficulties with the uniform supply during the first few months, leaving some crews without.

Motormen and conductors were eventually issued with double-breasted jackets with two rows of four brass buttons (bearing the company title and monogram - see link) and lapels; the latter were plain, without insignia of any kind. Caps were in the upright military style with a hat band (more than likely in a contrasting colour) which bore embroidered lettering, either 'HTC Motorman' or 'HTC Conductor'; the 'HTC' was in block capitals, whilst the grade was in script lettering (see below). This style of uniform, as well as the insignia, appears to have remained completely unchanged for the entire lifetime of the tramway.

Motormen and conductors were also issued with double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons and lapels; other than the buttons, no insignia of any kind were carried. Hastings Borough required all tramcar staff to be licensed, including inspectors; as a result, a large round licence badge (probably brass) was worn on a leather hanger, usually from the bearer's top left jacket button. The precise wording on the licence badge is unknown, though it certainly bore a number in the middle (see below).

Inspectors appear to have worn similar, if not identical jackets and overcoats to those worn by motormen and conductors. Caps were in the upright military style and carried an elaborately braided hat band (see below) though it appears not to have carried a badge.

In common with the vast majority of UK tramway systems, the HTC employed women during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services; these ladies were certainly employed as conductresses, and at least one as a ticket inspectress, though it is less clear if they ever took on driving duties. The ladies were issued with single-breasted jackets with five buttons, two breast pockets (with button closures) and plain lapels, along with a long matching skirt. Caps were baggy topped with a stiff glossy peak, and did not carry a badge (at least in surviving shots).

On 1st September 1914, the company had in their employ, 68 motormen, 68 conductors (4 learners), 8 inspectors, 1 timekeeper and 1 traffic superintendent (Hastings Tramways Centenary 1905-2005 by D Padgham; Hastings Local History Group [2005]).


Motormen and conductors
Hastings Tramways Company Tram No 10
Although this photo appears to suggest that tramway drivers initially wore informal attire, it more than likely depicts the first trial trip - before opening - on 15th July 1905. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Hastings Tramways Company tram No 28
Motorman, conductor and two other tramway staff (possibly inspectors) pose for the cameraman with Tramcar No 28 at Silverhill (the driver is at the wrong end of the car) - photo undated, but probably mid Edwardian. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Hastings Tramways Company staff Great War
A small number of tramway staff photographed at the Silverhill Depot sometime during the Great War. They seem a rather motley bunch: ladies, elderly men and a young girl thrown in for good measure. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.

Hastings Tramways Company motorman
Blow-up of the above photo showing a motorman (Licence No 5); the hat band has 'H T C Motorman' in embroidered lettering.

Hastings Tramways Company motorman
Another motorman - Licence No 23 - from the aforementioned staff photo. He has a Silver War Badge on his right lapel; these were issued to soldiers who had been honourably discharged due to wounds or illness. His hat band also bears a regimental badge - common practice during the Great War - possibly Royal Artillery.

Hastings Tramways Company Cap Badge
HTC cap badge - brass and enamel. Note that this cap badge certainly post-dates the demise of the tramway, and is in the style of Maidstone and District Motor Services Ltd, which bought out the HTC on 11th November 1935, some 6 years after the trams were replaced by trolley buses.

Senior staff
Hastings Tramways Company inspector
Another blow-up of the Great War staff photo above, almost certainly depicting an Inspector (Licence No 2) judging by the elaborately braided hat band.

Female staff
Hastings Tramways Company Great War conductresses
Two ladies (Licence Nos 6 and 53) - probably conductresses - taken from the Great War staff photo above. Neither lady is wearing a cap badge of any description.