London United Tramways

Summary
Following the London United Tramways Company's purchase of the assets of the former West Metropolitan Tramways Company on 6th August 1894, the new company set about reviving the fortunes of the network of lines formerly worked by the WMTCo. One aspect of this process was the issuing of formal uniforms; these comprised dark blue single-breasted jackets with white piping, metal buttons (almost certainly bearing 'LUT' initials - see link) and kepi-style caps. The upper lapels of the jackets certainly bore some kind of insignia, very possibly embroidered 'LUT' initials, whilst the caps bore a large badge of some kind, most probably also embroidered. Double-breasted overcoats were also worn, which appear to have carried the same embroidered insignia as the jackets worn beneath.

To coincide with the inauguration of electric services, the company issued its tramcar crews with elaborate new uniforms that were every bit as ostentatious as the LUT's general manager, James Clifton Robinson. These uniforms took the form of double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons (by now probably carrying 'LUET' initials rather than 'LUT'), three waist-level pockets, piped cuffs (with three cuff buttons) and broad lapels; the latter bore embroidered insignia, most probably either 'LUET' or 'LUTL'. The new caps were in a military style with a tensioned crown (top), though somewhat curiously, they appear to have been worn without a cap badge. It is currently unclear whether the remaining horsecar crews were issued with these new uniforms (horsecar services lasted until 1912).

In the late Edwardian period (circa 1909), a change was made to a more traditional style of tramway uniform, which consisted of a double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunic with two rows of five buttons and upright collars; the latter definitely carried system initials - 'L U E T' - on the bearer's left-hand side (in individual brass numerals, which carried hortizontal striations, giving a rope-like effect), though the situation with respect to the other side is currently unclear. A new cap badge was almost certainly introduced at the same time; this was an elaborate heraldic device based on the arms of London, but carrying a double ribbon beneath: the top ribbon containing the words 'London United Tramways Limited' and the bottom ribbon the grade, either 'Motorman' or Conductor'. Why the cap badge did not contain the word 'Electric' yet the collar initials contained an 'E' is unclear. The overcoat was also changed around this time, also to a double-breasted, lancer design, with two rows of five buttons, high fold-over collars and epaulettes; the overcoat appears to have been devoid of insignia.

Following the transfer of the LUT into the 'London & Suburban Traction Company Ltd' in 1912 (a holding company jointly owned by the 'Underground Electric Railways Company of London Ltd' and BET’), no change appears to have been made to the uniform policy; however, towards the end of the Great War (or shortly thereafter), an effort was made at uniform standardisation across all three of the L&STCo's consitutuent tramways (the LUT, Metropolitan Electric Tramways [MET] and the South Metropolitan Electric Tramways [SMET]). A double-breasted style of jacket with lapels was now used, similar to that formerly used on the MET, but with brass 'LUT' initial badges carried on the lapels; these exist both with and without a lozenge-shaped surround, the significance of which is unclear. The 'coat of arms' style cap badges were also replaced, by a large nickel and blue enamel cap badge in the shape of the Underground Group 'bullseye' - this bore the word 'TRAMWAYS' across the middle, with 'London' above and 'UNITED' below.

Motormen and conductors always appeared in service with a Metropolitan Public Service Vehicle badges (see link), usually worn on the left breast.

Cap and lapel badges also exist (see below) which are just marked 'TRAMWAYS'; these were more than likely issued to staff who worked across all three Underground Group tramway systems, such as ticket issuers/collectors etc.

In the early days, inspectors wore uniforms which appear to have been virtually identical to those worn by tramcar staff, but possibly with cuff and hat bands of a different colour. It is unclear what uniforms were worn by inspectors during the late Edwardian era, though they certainly wore caps with the new 'coat of arms' cap badge, but with 'Inspector' underneath in a blue enamel ribbon. In the later Underground Group era, the cap badge was certainly changed once again, this time to a 'bullseye' pattern, almost certainly with INSPECTOR across the bar in the middle. Although I have yet to see an example, this would seem to be a foregone conclusion given that examples have survived from both the MET and the SMET; the badge was smaller in size than the standard badges issued to motormen and conductors. District Inspectors - a more senior grade - were issued with small circular brass and blue enamel cap badges (see below).

Female staff were employed in significant numbers as conductresses during the Great War (from late 1915 onwards). These ladies were issued with tailored, single-breasted jackets with five plain (i.e. unmarked) buttons, lapels and a waist belt (with button fastening), plus a long matching skirt and lace-up gaiters (later on the skirt was somewhat shorter and boots were worn); the jacket lapels bore 'LUT' in prominent embroidered script letters. Headgear took the form of a dark-coloured, wide-brimmed straw bonnet, to which a standard LUT conductor badge was possibly affixed (on a hat band), though photographic evidence has proven elusive. A photograph has however survived of an LUT conductress wearing a waterproof bonnet with a standard British Electric Traction Company 'Magnet & Wheel' cap badge (see link); the BETCo were also part of the L&STCo, so whether LUT badges were in short supply, and this was simply an expedient measure, we will probably never know. Conductresses were also issued with long, single-breasted overcoats with fold-over collars, the latter bearing 'L U T' in individual metal letters; the buttons were however plain (and non-metallic).

For a general history of the LUT, see 'London United Tramways - A History 1894-1933' by G WIlson; George Allen and Unwin (1971).

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
London United Tramways horse tram 1897
Conductor and drive pose with their horsecar on the occasion of Queen Victoria's jubilee in 1897. The conductor is wearing a kepi-style cap, which bears an unidentified cap badge. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London United Tramways horsecar No 36
LUT Horsecar No 36 on the Uxbridge Rd to Acton route - photo undated, but probably taken around the turn of the century. The driver is wearing a kepi-style cap that bears an unidentified cap badge, possibly embroidered cloth. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London United Tramways Horsecar No 22
Driver and conductor pose for the camera with the LUT's last horse car (No 22), which was used to work its isolated Kew to Richmond line. The photo is undated, but was almost certainly taken in the last years of operation. Note that both men are wearing military-style caps with the LUT's London coat of arms badge. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London United Tramwys Horsecar 22
Another shot of Horsecar No 22, this time taken outside Richmond Depot, very possibly on the last day of operation (20th April 1912). Note that both crewmen are wearing double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics identical to those worn by their electric tramcar counterparts. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Motormen and conductors
London United Tramways crew with Tramcar 90
Conductor and motorman pose for the camera at Chiswick Depot with what is evidently a brand-new vehicle, almost certainly taken prior to the inauguration of electric services in 1901. Author's collection.


London United Tramways conductor
Blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor. The badges on the upper lapels appear to be embroidered initials, either 'LUET' or 'LUTL'.


London United Tramways crew with Tram 107
Conductor, motorman and inspector (?) pose with Tramcar No 107 on the Uxbridge Rd route. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London United Tramways tram 336 and motorman
A motorman stands next to Tramcar No 336 outside the Duke of Wellington pub on the New Malden line - photo dated 1901. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London United Tramways Tram No 123 with crew
A motorman watches whilst two passengers rush to board a Hanwell-bound car, whilst an inspector or regulator (in all probability) oversees proceedings. Note the latter's hat and cuff bands which appear to be in a different material (and possibly colour) than the main uniform. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


ondon United Tramawys conductor Charles Richards circa 1910
LUET conductor Charles Richards, photographed around 1910 when he would have been circa 27 years old; he was probably living at 25th Luther Rd, Teddington, which is where he was recorded in the census of the following year. The collar initials are easily made out, as is the new cap badge - based on the arms of London - which is in fact missing the crest on the top (see below), presumably having been accidentally snapped off. Photo courtesy of the Rose Family Collection.


London United Tramways Conductor badge
Late-Edwardian period LUT conductor cap badge - brass.


London United Tramways Motorman badge
Late-Edwardian period LUT motorman cap badge - brass


London United Electric Tramways uniform collar initials
LUET collar initials. Photo courtesy of London Transport Auctions.


London United Tramways tram No 109 and motorman
Motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 109 outside a depot - photo undated, but probably taken during the late Edwardian era. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London United Tramways tram No 263 with crew
Conductor and motorman pose with Tramcar No 263 in late Edwardian-period uniforms at the Tooting Terminus. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London United Tramways Tram No 259 and crew on No 89 service to Hanwell
Two crews pose for the camera of H Nicol with a very smartly turned out Tramcar No 259 on a No 89 service to Hanwell - photo probably taken in 1929. Image courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


London United Tramways conductor
A blow-up of the above image showing one of the conductors, and a rather stylish motorman, complete with goggles. The conductor's Underground Group 'bullseye' cap badge and one-piece 'LUT' collar badges are easily seen.


London United Tramways tram driver
Another blow-up of the above photo, this time showing the other motorman, PSV badge holder No 1187.


London United Tramways bullseye cap badge
London United Tramways 'bullseye' cap badge (Underground Group era; 1918-ish to 1933) - nickel and blue enamel.



London United Tramways collar badge
LUT one-piece collar badge - brass.


London United Tramways motorman
London United Tramways motorman poses for the camera in Boston Rd, Hanwell - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The later Underground Group 'bullseye' cap badge, as well as the ubiquitous Mechanical Power PSV badge, are clear to see. Photographer, H Nichol, with thanks to the National Tramway Museum.



London United Tramways conductor
LUT ticket collector (?) - photo undated, but probably taken shortly after the Great War. The one-piece LUT collar initials are clearly seen.



London United Tramways collar badge
LUT collar/lapel initials badge with lozenge-shaped surround - brass. It is unclear when this was worn. Author's collection.



Official's badge - nickel
(with acknowledgement to 'Wheels of London', Times Newspapers Ltd, 1972)



General 'Underground Group' Tramways cap badge - nickel



General 'Underground Group' Tramways collar badge - brass



Embroided LUT initials, probably from a summer dust jacket. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.



Senior staff

Inspector cap badge - brass. With thanks to the LCC Tramways Trust Collection.


London United Tramways District Inpsector cap badge
District Inspector cap badge - brass and blue enamel. Author's collection.


Female staff
London United Tramways Great War tram conductress
A rare studio portrait of a London United Tramways Great War tram conductress. Photo courtesy of the Geoff Caulton Collection.


London United Tramways Great War tram conductress
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the uniform. The embroidered 'LUT' system initials on the collar are clear to see, as are the plain jacket buttons. The situation with respect to a cap badge is less clear, as if one is being worn, it is unfortunately being obscured by the brim of the subject's bonnet.