London County Council Tramways

Summary
London County Council began its tramway ownership journey in 1894 by serving notice to compulsorily purchase those lines of the London Street Tramways Company that would reach their 21-year expiry date the following year. Although these lines were immediately leased back to the LSTCo following purchase, the LCC actually had much bigger plans, namely, to control, electrify and operate all the tramway lines within its jurisdiction. It subsequently moved into tramway operation in 1899, when it purchased the London Tramways Company, finishing its acquisition spree in 1906 with London's last independent horse tramway operator, the London Southern Tramways Company. Perhaps surprisingly, although the LCC began electric services in May 1903, it wasn't until 11 years later (in August 1914) that it ran its last horse tram service.

The LCC began its operating career in 1899 by taking over the services of the erstwhile London Tramways Company, and quickly imposed a standard uniform policy across all the former company systems. Drivers and conductors were issued with double-breasted uniform jackets with two rows of four buttons (presumably carrying the standard LCC monogram - see link) and lapels; the upper part of the latter (the collars), probably bore embroidered insignia, though this cannot be made out on surviving photographs. As far as headgear is concerned, drivers were issued with brown bowler hats, which bore a one-piece 'LCC' block initials cap badge; this badge has the feel of a 'stopgap', and was probably issued to other municipal employees as well. Conductors on the other hand were issued with squat, soft-topped caps with a glossy peak; the caps carried a brass cap badge comprising 'LCC' script initials within a wreath. This badge was identical in form to that used by the LTCo, save for the initials in the centre, and conductors continued to wear them right up until absorption of the LCC into the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933. Odd photographs show drivers wearing these caps, though they appear to be very much the exception.

At some point, and probably to mark the introduction of the first electric services in 1903, motormen and conductors were issued with double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom) and high fold-over collars; the latter were plain, i.e. they did not carry badges or insignia of any kind. Around the same time, caps appear to have been changed to a more contemporary military design with a glossy peak and tensioned crown (top). Conductors continued to wear the brass wreath badge, whereas, somewhat curiously, motormen were issued with an oval cloth badge that bore 'LCC' initials above a 'T' with the grade ('MOTORMAN') beneath, presumably standing for 'London County Council Tramways'. Tramcar staff were also issued with a long, double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of six buttons (narrowing slightly from top to bottom) and high, fold-over collars; the latter were again devoid of insignia.

Around the time of the Great War, a new brass fretwork-style badge was issued for motormen; like the cloth badges, this carried 'LCC' initials above a letter 'T' (see below). Jackets were changed again in the 1920s, and whilst still double-breasted, and heavy duty, they now bore lapels.

Motormen and conductors always wore standard Metropolitan Public Service Vehicle badges (see link) when working on the trams.

Several studio portraits of more senior grades have survived, including regulators and inspectors. The jackets worn in the first year of operation (1899) appear to have been very similar to those won by conductors, i.e. double-breasted with two rows of four buttons, the top row being visible through the lapels; the latter being left plain. Caps were in a soft-topped kepi style with braiding on the peak, and a hat band of a lighter colour; the latter bore the same style of 'initials and wreath' cap badge worn by conductors. At some point, probably in the early Edwardian era, the jackets were changed to a new style, still double-breasted with two rows of four buttons and lapels, but with the latter now bearing embroidered ‘LCC’ letters on their upper portion (the collars). The lapels on these jackets also appear to have carried a small, round metal button badge on each side, which bore script 'LCCT' initials in the middle, with 'INSPECTOR' and presumably 'REGULATOR' around the bottom edge; 'TICKET INSPECTOR' and DISTRICT INSPECTOR' are also known. Caps were initially still in the kepi style, but these eventually gave way to a more modern military design with a tensioned crown (see below), possibly at the same time as tramcar staff for regulators, with inspectors potentially not switching until much later. The cap badges were also changed to same cloth type that were issued to motormen, but bearing the grade 'INSPECTOR' or 'REGULATOR' etc.

At some point, the LCC appears to have replaced these cloth badges with oval metal badges of a similar design, possibly at the same time it introduced the brass fretwork-style of motormen's badges. At the moment, only 'Assistant Regulator' (see below) is known, though it seems highly likely that similar badges existed for the grades of 'Inspector', 'District Inspector', 'Ticket Inspector', 'Motor Inspector' and 'Regulator'.

In common with the majority of tramway operators, the LCC employed women during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services. These ladies wore somewhat utilitarian single-breasted jackets with five large buttons (possibly vulcanite or an equivalent), two large hip pockets and upright collars; the latter bore embroidered 'L C C' initials on both sides. The jacket was finished off with a leather belt, and a long matching skirt was also worn; this had a long seam down the front, and a vertical row of three buttons towards the bottom, offset to one side. Headgear comprised a wide-brimmed straw or possibly felt bonnet with a hat band. Although no cap badge was worn, photos indicate that conductresses frequently wore regimental badges as a mark of support for loved ones away with the armed services.

A more elegant, single-breasted jacket appears to have been introduced around 1917; this was tailored and had lapels rather than upright collars. The collars continued to bear embroidered 'L C C' block initials. There is a possibility that these were actually winter uniforms rather than a later issue; the precise temporal relationship is unclear. Lightweight raincoats were also issued for summer wear, at least in the latter years of the war; these were light in colour, and were single-breasted with a matching belt (and button), and high, fold-over collars of a darker colour. The latter bore embroidered 'L C C' initials.

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
london County Council Tramways horse tram driver
Horse tram driver, with leather apron and LCC-issued bowler hat, the latter with LCC block initials badge - photo undated. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London County Council Tramways horse tram no 124 and crew
The driver of No 124, captured for posterity with his charge outside Jews Row depot in 1903. The man leaning on the tram is probably an inspector or a regulator, given that he appears to have a pocket book inside his breast pocket. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with particular to David Voice.


London County Council Tramways horse tram no 850 and crew
The crew of Horsecar No 850 pose outside a horsecar depot with a Greenwich to Elephant service - photo purportedly taken in 1904. The driver is George Darvill (thanks to his Great Great Grandson Matt Wallace for this information). The conductor is wearing a wreath-style cap badge (see below). Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London County Council tram conductor's cap badge
Conductor's cap badge - brass. This badge seems to have been worn right the way through from 1899 to the takeover by the London passenger Transport Board in 1933. Author's Collection.


London County Council Horse tram Plumstead Abbey Wood
An unidentified horsecar on the Plumstead to Abbey Wood route - photo undated, but probably late Edwardian. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London County Council Tramways horse tram and crew
A blow up of the above photo showing the driver and conductor, both of whom are wearing double-breasted 'lancer-style' jackets/overcoats with high, fold-over collars.


Cable tram drivers and conductors
London County Council Tramways horse tram no 928 and crew
Two drivers (probably) pose for the camera with Cable Tram No 928 - a converted horsecar - on the Streatham Village to Telford Avenue cable line, probably at Brixton Hill - photo undated, but probably taken in 1903/4 given the poor condition of the vehicle (No 928 was converted in 1898). Both men are wearing bowler hats (the man on the platform with an LCC initials cap badge) and long double-breasted overcoats. The man on the platform also has a licence on his right breast. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London County Council cable tram and driver
Another shot of an LCC cable tram on the Streatham Village to Telford Avenue line, again undated, but possibly taken a little earlier than the preceding photo. The driver is wearing a double-breasted jacket with a prominent PSV badge, and a bowler hat bearing the standard 'LCC' block initials cap badge. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Motormen and conductors
London County Council Tramways motorman
LCC motorman with military style cap (with tensioned crown) and cloth badge - photo undated, but possibly taken in the late Edwardian era. The LCC monogram can clearly be made out on the buttons. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.


London County Council Tramways staff, Holloway Depot
A staff photo taken outside Holloway Depot - photo undated, but probably mid-Edwardian era. Both motormen and conductors are wearing double-breasted tunics and military-style caps, the former with cloth cap badges and the latter with metal cap badges. The medals may reflect Boer War service. Photo taken by W J Staples of Seven Sisters Road; courtesy of the LCC Tramways Trust Collection, with thanks to Dave Jones.


London County Council Tramways tram drivers studio portrait
Studio portrait of two LCCT motormen in 'lancer-style' greatcoats with high, folder-over collars. Photo courtesy of the Geoff Caulton Collection.


London County Council Tramways tram driver Edwardian
A blow-up of the above photo showing the seated motorman with later period cloth cap badge.


London County Council Tramways motorman
LCC motorman with later military-style cap and cloth cap badge. Author's Collection.


London County Council Tramways motorman
LCC motorman with military-style cap and cloth cap badge. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.


London County Council Tramways motorman
Motorman with military style cap and later metal fretwork-style badge (see below) - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s. Author's Collection.


London County Council Tramways motorman's cap badge
LCC Motorman cap badge - brass. This badge appears to have been worn from around the time of the Great War through to 1933.


London County Council Tramways conductor
LCC conductor wearing a military style cap and wreath cap badge - photo undated, but probably taken around the time of the Great War. Note the prominent cashbag buckle. With thanks to Richard Rosa.


Philip Charles Barker London County Council Tramways conductor
Conductor Philip Charles Barker, who was born in 1876 and died in 1922 - photo undated, but probably taken shortly after the Great War, when he would have been in his early forties. Although the cap badge in the photo appears to have some differences to the surviving example depicted above, this may just be down to the reflections from the photographer's flash. Photo courtesy of Chris Simmons.


London County Council Tramways cashbag buckle
LCC cashbag buckle. Photo courtesy of the LCC Tramways Trust Collection, with thanks to Dave Jones.


London County Council Tramways 1035 crew
Motorman and conductor pose in front of Tramcar No 1035 on the Route 74 service to St Georges Church - photo taken between 21st September 1921 and 21st August 1923, during which time No 1035 carried Metropolitan Stage Carriage licence plate No 6816 (see tram bulkhead). With thanks to Dave Jones of the LCC Tramways Trust for the dating information. Author's collection.


London County Council Tramways crew
Motorman and conductor pose for the camera aboard Tramcar No 554 on a service on Route 35 to Westminster and Elephant in 1929. The difference in cap badge style between the motorman and the conductor is clearly seen. Photographer, H Nicol. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


London County Council Tramways crew
The crew of Tramcar No 1849 with a No 4 service - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s. Author's collection.


Senior staff
London County Council Tramways inspectors or regulators
A staff photo which, in view of the pocket books, would appear to show a group of LCCT regulators or inspectors - photo undated, but probably taken in 1899 when the LCC began operating its own services. The subjects appear to be wearing the same style of cap badge as conductors, and in three of the four examples here, worn on a hat band. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.


London County Council Tramways inspector
LCCT inspector with cloth cap badge - photo undated, but probably turn of the century. Note the pillbox (kepi) style cap and the cloth 'Inspector' badge. Close inspection of this photo clearly shows the main jacket buttons to be the standard 'LCC' monogram design; however, the two lapel buttons appear to be button-like badges, possibly marked with the grade (see below for examples). Author's Collection.


London County Council Tramways inspector
LCC inspector with later military-style cap, but still with cloth cap badge - photo undated, but possibly ltaken around the time of the Great War. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.


London County Council Tramways Regulaotr
LCC regulator with military-style cap and cloth cap badge - photo undated, though taken from a Victorian mantle mirror montage with several other photos dated 1901. With thanks to Nigel Lightfoot.


London County Council Tramways regulator cap badge
LCCT 'Regulator' badge - cloth. With thanks to the LCC Tramways Trust Collection. These cloth cap badges appear to have been worn from around the turn of the century through to around the time of the Great War.


London County Council Tramways Assistant Regulator badge
LCCT 'Assistant Regulator' badge - brass. With thanks to John Burford.


London County Council Tramways District Inspector's badge
LCCT lapel (?) button badge, 'District Inspector' - brass. Photo courtesy of Stephen Howarth.



London County Council Tramways Ticket Inspector jacket badge
LCCT lapel (?) button badge, 'Ticket Inspector' - nickel. Source unknown.



LCCT lapel (?) button badge, 'Regulator' - brass. With acknowledgement to 'Wheels of London', Times Newspapers Ltd, 1972.


Female staff
London County Council Tramways Great War conductresses
A studio portrait of three LCC conductresses. The rather utilitarian nature of the uniforms is clearly seen, as are the LCC collar initials. None of the three ladies are wearing cap badges. Photo courtesy of the LCC Tramways Trust Collection, with thanks to Dave Jones.

London County Counil Tramways Great War tram conductress
LCC Great War female employee, possibly a tramway conductress named Olivia. Author's Collection.


London County Council Tramways Great War conductress
A studio portrait of an LCC conductress - photo undated, but certainly taken during the Great War. The only uniform insignia are the embroidered 'L C C' collar initials. The cap badge is almost certainly a military 'sweetheart' badge. Photo courtesy of the LCC Tramways Trust Collection, with thanks to Dave Jones.


London County Council Tramways Great War conductress
An LCC conductress called Violet, in what is possibly her winter uniform - photo dated 1917. The cap badge is almost certainly military, whilst the sweetheart badge on her tie appears to be a Queens Royal Regiment (West Surrey) cap badge. Photo courtesy of the LCC Tramways Trust Collection, with thanks to Dave Jones.


London County Council Tramways Great War conductress
Another studio portrait of an LCC conductress - photo undated, but certainly taken during the Great War. The subject is wearing a regimental cap badge on her bonnet, which has been turned up at the sides giving it a more fashionable feel. Photo courtesy of the LCC Tramways Trust Collection, with thanks to Dave Jones.


London County Council Tramways Great War conductresses
A group of LCC conductresses in their summer raincoats - photo undated, but certainly taken during the Great War. Photographer Emberson of Wimbledon, Surbiton & Tooting. Photo courtesy of the LCC Tramways Trust Collection, with thanks to Dave Jones.