Lytham St Annes Borough Tramways
(St Annes-on-Sea Council Tramways)

St-Annes-on-Sea Urban District Council became a tramway owner and operator on the 28th October 1920 when it took over the local standard gauge electric tramway from the Blackpool, St Annes and Lytham Tramways Company. The take-over had been precipitated by concerns that neighbouring Blackpool were considering expanding southwards, having already bought its northern neighbour — the Blackpool and Fleetwood Tram Road Company— on the first day of 1920.

The municipal system was initially known as 'St Annes-on-Sea Council Tramways', but from 1922, when St Annes-on-Sea and Lytham UDCs merged to form the Borough of Lytham St Annes, the concern was known as 'Lytham St Annes Borough Tramways'.

The system totalled 7.51 route miles, running from the Blackpool/St Annes boundary at Squires Gate in the North, southwards along the coast, through St Annes-on-Sea to the terminus at East Beach to the east of Lytham. At the time of municipalisation, the tramway had through-running agreements in place with Blackpool Corporation, which allowed St Annes-on-Sea Council Tramways cars to run through to Manchester Square (on the promenade) and Central Station (at the end of Blackpool's Central Drive tramway). From January 1923, a new agreement was reached which allowed Lytham St Annes Borough Tramways cars to run — via Lytham Rd — northwards along the Promenade to Talbot Square, and from 23rd July 1926, up to Gynn Square. July 1928 also saw the borough's tracks connected to those of the corporation at Starr Gate, allowing LStABT tramcars to run along Blackpool's recently built South Promenade line.

The borough council bought its first buses in 1923, but still considered the tramway to be an integral part of the municipal transport offering. It had however, paid far too much for the concern, and although the tramway made a profit, this fell well short of the repayments due on the loans taken to purchase the undertaking. Whilst the tramway continued to make losses throughout the early-to-mid 1930s, the buses had turned the corner and were making a profit. Meanwhile, Blackpool Corporation had embarked on a programme of tramway modernisation, and once again came knocking at Lytham St Annes door (in September 1935), making an offer for the tramway that would have seen the debts paid off and the annual losses ended. The council however, voted to reject this, instead ordering new buses to replace the trams.

The first abandonment took place on the 15th December 1936, with the last tram of all running on the 28th April 1937. The council was however to remain a tramway owner for another 24 years, as the short line along Squires Gate Lane continued to be used by Blackpool Corporation up until October 1961.

Somewhat surprisingly, given the seaside location and the fact that the municipal tramway operated during a period when personal photography was really taking off, close-up photographs depicting staff of St Annes-on-the Sea Council Tramways (1920-1922), or its later incarnation, Lytham St Annes Borough Tramways (1922-1937), are surprisingly rare. A photo taken in 1921, i.e., in St Annes-on-the-Sea Council days clearly shows that staff continued to wear the same style of single-breasted jacket that they had worn in Blackpool, St Annes and Lytham Tramways Company days. These were single-breasted with five buttons, upright collars and epaulettes; it is unclear whether marked council buttons were used (I am not aware of any having survived) and what insignia, if any, was worn on the collars. Caps were military in style with a glossy peak and tensioned crown (top); they initially bore a large cap badge comprising a quartered shield above a scroll containing the full system title: 'St Annes-on-the-Sea Council Tramways', along with a standard, 'off-the-shelf', script-lettering grade badge, either Motorman or Conductor. It seems likely, though by no means certain, that the badges and buttons were nickel, as this was definitely the material used prior to 1920 and after 1922.

Following the amalgamation of St Annes and Lytham in 1922, marked 'Lytham St Annes Borough Tramways' buttons were issued (see link), along with a new cap badge, which comprised the new borough shield above the new system title: 'Lytham St Annes Borough Tramways'; both badges and buttons were nickel.

In May 1934, a new style of jacket was issued to conductors only, motormen retaining the old style of jacket due to the more exposed driving platforms. The new conductor jackets were in blue cloth and were double-breasted with lapels, so were worn with a shirt and tie. Caps and cap badges remained the same, though there is some evidence to suggest that the grade badges were dispensed with in the final years of operation.

Tramcar staff were also issued with double-breasted greatcoats with high, fold-over collars, which do not appear to have carried any insignia. Motormen (and probably conductors too) also wore a licence, usually hung on a strap from a button on the left breast; it is currently unclear what form the licence took, though it is possible that staff simply continued to wear the same white on read enamel 'Blackpool, St Annes and Lytham Tramways' licences that they had worn in company days, i.e. prior to 1920 (see below).

Inspectors wore single-breasted jackets edged in a finer material than the main body, with hidden buttons (or more likely a hook and eye affair), a slit breast pocket and upright collars; the latter probably bore Inspector in embroidered script lettering on both sides. The cap was the same style as that worn by tramcar crews, bearing the same St Annes-on-the-Sea Council Tramways cap badge (from 1922, Lytham St Annes Borough Tramways), but in gilt rather than nickel, below which was a script-lettering grade badge — Inspector — almost certainly embroidered (on a hat band). In May 1934, a completely new style of uniform was issued in blue cloth: the jackets were now double-breasted with lapels, giving a smarter more modern feel, and were worn with a shirt and tie. Caps remained the same as previously, but instead of the gilt cap badge, they now bore the standard nickel cap badge (thanks to Brian Turner for the above information).

Further reading
For a history of the system, see: 'The Tramways of Lytham St Annes' by P H Abell, J A Garnham and I McLoughlin; The Oakwood Press (1994).


Motormen and conductors
Crew of St Annes on the Sea Council Tramways Tram No 14
A conductor and motorman stand on the platform of Tramcar No 14 in November 1920, newly painted in 'St Annes-on-the-Sea Council Tramways' municipal livery, and barely one month after the council took over. It is impossible to say whether the men are wearing the old company cap badge (see link) or the new municipal cap badge (see below), though the latter would seem unlikely given the short time period since the take-over. The conductor's licence is clearly visible, almost certain the old company type (see below). Photo courtesy of the Brian Turner Collection.

Blackpool St Annes and Lytham Tramways licence
Licence — white lettering on red enamel. These were probably worn by tramcar staff throughout the life of the tramway (1896-1937), though a change in form following municipalisation in 1920 cannot ruled out. Author's Collection.

St Annes on Sea Council Tramways conductors and motormen
A staff photo taken in 1921, i.e. firmly in the days of St Annes-on-the-Sea Council Tramways (1920-1922). Although of poor quality, the photo does show that motormen and conductors continued to wear the same style of single-breasted jacket with epaulettes that they wore in company days, though doubtless with altered insignia. Both the tramcar staff and the two inspectors are wearing caps with a prominent municipal cap badge (see below), along with script-lettering grade badges. The individual on the left has sergeant's stripes on his jacket arm; these probably denoted either long service or good conduct. Photo courtesy of the Brian Turner Collection.

St Annes on Sea Council Tramways cap badge
St Annes-on-the-Sea Council Tramways cap badge — gilt. The example shown is an inspector's badge, tramcar staff wearing the same pattern, but in nickel. They were almost certainly in use from late 1920 (or early 1921), when St Annes Urban District Council took over the tramway, through to 1922, when the name was changed to Lytham St Annes Borough Tramways. How long the new Lytham St Annes Borough Council took to replace these badges is unclear.

St Annes-on-the-Sea Council Tramways cap badges
Standard 'off-the-shelf', script-lettering cap badges of the type worn by St Annes-on the-Sea Council Tramways and Lytham St Annes Borough Tramways staff — nickel. Author's Collection.

Lytham St Annes Corporation Tramways Tramcar No 45 at Gynn Square
The conductor and motorman of Tramcar No 45 captured in animated conversation at Gynn Square in 1931. Both men are wearing white rain covers on their caps. Photo courtesy of the Brian Turner Collection.

Lytham St Annes Borough Tramways cap badge
Lytham St Annes Borough Tramways cap badge — nickel. This was issued to tramcar staff from around 1922 up until the demise of the tramway in 1937. Author's Collection.

Lytham St Annes Borough Tram and motorman
Lytham St Annes Corporation tramcar passing the Foxhall Hotel in Blackpool around 1935. Photo courtesy of Duncan Holden.

Lytham St Annes Borough Tram and motorman
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman; he is wearing a double-breasted greatcoat with high, fold-over collars, and a military-style cap with prominent cap badge and script-lettering grade badge. His licence can just be made out on his left breast.

Lytham St Annes Borough Tramways tram driver
Motorman, in greatcoat, at the controls of a 1-20 series tramcar in 1935. Photo courtesy of the Brian Turner Collection.

Senior Staff
St Annes on the Sea Council Trmaways tram inspectors
A blow-up of the 1921 staff photo above showing the two inspectors. They are wearing fairly standard tramway inspector grab, along with caps bearing the standard cap badge and a grade badge, the latter probably embroidered. Note that the man on the left has a larger cap badge below the main badge, which may well be a military badge, as these were often worn by tramwaymen after the Great War. Photo courtesy of the Brian Turner Collection.