Leeds Tramways Company

Summary
The Leeds Tramways Company began operating horse trams on 16th September 1871, gradually expanding, and eventually leasing the corporation's new lines as they were built. Steam-hauled services were introduced from 17th June 1880 onwards, with the entire concern finally succumbing to municipalisation on 2nd February 1894.

In common with the majority of horse tramway operators in the UK, Leeds Tramways Company drivers wore informal but smart attire — trousers, overcoats, jackets, waistcoats, shirts and ties, often supplemented with leather aprons. Headgear appears to have largely followed the fashion of the day, predominantly the bowler hat; no badges of any kind were worn on either the jackets or the hats. Conductors on the other hand appear to have worn long jackets, and company-issued kepi-style caps. Although the coats do not appear to have carried any insignia, and were probably not formal issues (several styles are seen in photographs, implying that they were purchased by the employee), the caps certainly carried a prominent metal cap badge, which appears to have been oblong in form, with a semi-circular protrusion at the top. Unfortunately, an example appears not to have survived.

Steam tram drivers (and stokers) wore typical railway footplate attire (heavy cotton jackets and trousers, light in colour) with grease-top or cloth caps (without badges). Conductors working the steam services wore identical attire to their horse-tram counterparts.

Photographs of LTCo horse or steam tram inspectors appear not to have survived, and it may well be that the company chose not to employ them.

For more information on Leeds Tramways Company, see: 'Leeds Transport Volume 1, 1830-1902' by J Soper; Leeds Transport Historical Society (1985) and 'A History of the British Steam Tram, Volume 3 by David Gladwin; Adam Gordon (2007).

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
Leeds Tramway Company horse tra
A poor quality but early photograph of an unidentified horse tram standing outside the Headingley depot, around 1880. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Leeds Tramway Company horse tram
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver and conductor. The driver is wearing a bowler hat with upturned brim, typical of the period, whilst the conductor sports a kepi-style cap.


Leeds Tramway Company Horse car No 1 and crew
The crew of Horsecar No 1 (the second vehicle to carry that number) pose for the camera outside the Woodpecker Inn at the terminus of the York Rd route — photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1880s or early 1890s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Leeds Tramway Company Horse car No 1 and crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the assembled individuals in more detail. The driver (left) is smartly but informally attired, whilst the conductor is wearing a kepi-style cap with prominent metal cap badge; it is unclear whether his coat was company issued, but in all likelihood it was bought by the individual himself. The occupation of the individual in the centre of the photograph is unclear; although he could possibly be an inspector, he may well not be a tramway employee at all.


Leeds Tramway Company Horse car No 58 and driver
Eades reversible car No 58 stands outside the Woodman Hotel in Otley Rd, Headingley — photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1890s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Leeds Tramway Company Horse car No 58 and driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver, in a bowler hat and wearing a leather apron.


Leeds Tramway Company Horse car No 58 and conductor
Another blow-up of the photo above, this time showing the conductor, who is holding the trace horse. He is wearing a company-issued kepi-style cap with its prominent metal cap badge.


Steam tram drivers and conductors
Leeds Tramways Company Steam Tram No 11
The crew of Steam Tram No 11 (Kitson T192 of 1885) pose for the cameraman outside the Crown Inn terminus at New Wortley — photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1890s.


Leeds Tramways Company Steam tram driver and conductor
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and driver; although blurred, the latter is clearly wearing light-coloured cotton footplate attire, whilst the former has a short single-breasted jacket and kepi-style cap with prominent metal cap badge.


Leeds Tramway Company steam tram No 16 with crew
Driver and conductor with Steam Tram No 16 (Kitson T212 of 1886) on a service for Wortley — photo undated, but probably taken around 1890. Author's Collection.


Leeds Tramway Company steam tram No 16 with crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver and conductor. Whilst the driver is in railway footplate-like attire, the conductor is wearing a long jacket and a kepi-style cap with cap badge, the latter almost certainly the same pattern as that worn by horse tram conductors. Author's Collection.


Leeds Tramways Company Steam Tram No 23 T Green
Leeds Tramways Company Steam Tram No 23 ( a Thomas Green product) and Milnes trailer, both delivered in 1889, pictured at Headingley — photo undated, but probably taken not long after delivery, so circa 1890.


Leeds Tramways Company steam tram crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor (in kepi-style cap with prominent cap badge) and driver (in railway footplate-like attire).