Halifax Corporation Tramways
The photographic record for Halifax is extremely heavily weighted to the first decade of operation, with the subsequent 30 years being rather sparsely represented, particularly in respect of senior staff and female Great War employees.
For the inauguration of electric services in 1898, trancar staff were issued with smart, single-breasted, frock-style coats with lapels; the latter carried an employee number on the bearer's right-hand side in individual numerals, presumably brass to match the buttons (see link). Wing collar shirts, ties and waistcoats were also worn, the latter probably issued by the corporation. Caps were in the kepi style and carried a script-lettering grade badge - either 'Driver' or 'Conductor' - more than likely in brass. At some point in the first few years of operation, the employee number migrated to the cap, and was worn beneath the grade badge, leaving the jackets completely devoid of insignia (other than the buttons).
The frock-style coats appear to have been replaced sometime between 1904 and 1906, being superseded by shorter single-breasted jackets with five buttons and lapels, again without badges of any kind. The caps were changed at the same time to a military-style with tensioned crown (top), and whilst the employee number continued to be carried, the script-lettering grade badges were dispensed with. These uniforms appear to have remained unaltered - stylistically - right through to the 1920s (probably to the 1930s for conductors). The sole change was the introduction of a new cap badge (possibly in the years immediately before the Great War), which comprised: the Halifax shield within a circlet inlaid containing the full system title - 'Halifax Corporation Tramways' - with blue enamel, and with an employee number in a lozenge beneath. There is reason to believe that motormen were issued odd numbers and conductors even numbers, though documentary evidence has so far proven to be elusive.
A single photograph has survived from the 1920s showing a motorman in a 'lancer-style' tunic, so it is possible that these were worn during that decade, at least for that grade. The uniforms were however changed to a more modern cut in the late 1920s/early 1930s,; the new jackets were single-breasted with four buttons, two hip-level pockets (with flap closures), two breast pockets (with button closures) and lapels. The caps were probably changed at the same time, and whilst still military in style, they now had a light-coloured, woven straw top.
For most of the system's life, tramcar staff were also issued with double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars; other than the buttons, these coats were devoid of insignia.
Photographs of inspectors are rare, so all that can be stated is that they wore kepi-style caps (at least up until the late 1920s).
Halifax undoubtedly employed female staff during the Great War to replace men lost to the armed services. To date, not a single photograph of one of these ladies has come to light, so it is currently impossible to say what uniforms they wore.
Motormen and conductors
Two conductors and a motorman, all in frock-style coats and kepi caps, pose with Tramcar No 3, almost certainly on the opening day of the Highwell Rd to Old Station service (June 1898). All those depicted are wearing script-lettering grade badges. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
Standard script-lettering cap badges of the pattern used by Halifax Corporation Tramways in the early years of operation (1898 to around 1905) - brass.
Motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 15 on a service to Cow Green and Pellon - photo undated, but probably taken in late 1899 or early 1900. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
The crew of Tramcar 55, newly fitted with Tidswell lifeguard, captured for posterity at Causeway Foot - photo undated, but probably taken in 1902. By this time, employee numbers were being worn underneath the script-lettering grade badges on the caps. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice
Conductor (Employee No 14) and Motorman (Employee No 5) pose for the camera with Tramcar No 94 on a service bound for Hebden Bridge - photo undated, but probably taken not long after the delivery of No 94 in 1903.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor (Employee No 14), who is wearing a kepi-style cap, 'Conductor' grade badge and employee number. Apart from the buttons, his jacket is plain.
A charming study of the crew of Tramcar 35 (Employees No 3 and No 120) - bound for Pellon - photo undated, but probably taken in 1905/6. Both men are wearing military-style caps with tensioned crowns (tops) but which no longer carry a grade badge. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice
Conductor and motorman pose for the camera at what is probably Causeway Foot - photo undated, but likely to be mid-Edwardian. Again, both men are wearing military-style caps with tensioned crowns (tops), which bear only employee numbers. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
Tramcar No 35 again, and at the same location as shown above - photo undated, but probably mid-to-late Edwardian. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
A rather dreary looking Tramcar No 90 in wartime grey livery - photo undated, but certainly taken during the Great War or shortly afterwards (both men have medal ribbons). The motorman appears to be wearing the new style of cap badge incorporating the Halifax shield, full system title and employee number. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
Conductor’s cap badge (even number) - brass - introduced around the time of the Great War and replaced by a chrome version in the mid 1930s.
Tramcar No 25 and crew - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s. The motorman is wearing a distinctive 'lancer-style' tunic. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
The crew of Tramcar No 131 - recently purchased from Exeter Corporation Tramways - are captured by the camera of Dr H Nicoll at Sowerby Bridge on 10th July 1932. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
Conductor and motorman on the platform of a vestibuled No 74. Although the destination reads 'Brighouse, which was closed in 1931, the photo was probably taken in the mid-to-late 1930s, with the destination set to Brighouse at the behest of the photographer, W A Camwell. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
Motorman’s cap badge (odd number) - chrome - probably introduced in the mid 1930s.
Conductor’s cap badge (even number) - chrome.
Tramcar No 126 is pictured at the Causeway Foot terminus on a wintry day in the late 1930s (probably in 1937). Photograph by W A Camwell, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
A blow-up of the above photo, showing the crew, both of whom, needless to say, are in greatcoats.
Tramcar No 107 on a test journey in April 1928, possibly pictured at Martin's Nest, Brighouse. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
A blow-up of the above photo showing Mr Canning (left), the Rolling-Stock Engineer, and a figure who is, in all probability, an inspector.
Possible Inspector’s cap badge - chrome (note: this appears to be complete, i.e. as made).