Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways

Summary
Staff working the newly inaugurated electric services were issued with double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons, three waist-level pockets, a breast pocket and lapels; the latter bore embroidered initials on both sides - 'MS&TET'. Caps were in the pillbox style, embellished with piping, and bore a large circular oval cloth cap badge (also piped) comprising the system initials - 'MS&TET' - above the bearer's grade, 'CONDUCTOR', and 'MOTORMAN' (probably). The kepi-style caps appear to have been replaced in the mid-Edwardian era by military-style caps with an unusually wide, tensioned crown (top); the new caps carried standard, 'off-the-shelf', script-lettering grade badges, either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor'. The badges were probably brass, though this is far from proven.

At some point, probably a few years before the Great War, double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics were introduced. These new jackets had two rows of five buttons - narrowing from top to bottom - and upright collars; the latter bore insignia of some kind, though details cannot be made out on surviving photographs. A new, elaborate brass cap badge was also introduced, probably at the same time; this comprised the arms of Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby above the full system title and grade - 'Motorman' or 'Conductor'- within ribbons (see below).

A prominent and strikingly elaborate enamel licence was also worn by both conductors and motormen, with examples of 'Motorman' and 'Driver' having survived (see below); the distinction between these is however unclear.

It is currently unclear what uniform was worn by inspectors, though a photograph shown below indicates that they were issued with double-breasted overcoats with two rows of four buttons and lapels; the latter certainly carried embroidered insignia of some kind. Caps were probably in the same style as those issued to tramcar staff, and in later years, certainly bore braiding of a different colour to the cap. From around 1910 onwards, inspectors were probably issued with the same pattern of elaborate brass cap badge as tramcar crews, but with their grade - 'Inspector' - in the ribbon at the bottom (see below).

In common with many UK tramways sytems, the MS&TET employed female staff during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services. It is unclear what uniform was worn, as the sole survivng photograph shows a driver in a long, and very distinctive double-breasted overcoat with two rows of eight widely spaced buttons and high, fold-over collars; the latter appear not to have carried any insignia. Headgear comprised a baggy cap (possibly leather) that bore the standard three-shield brass cap badge. The surviving photo shows the subject with a markedly different licence than the examples that have survived, suggesting that the enamel licences were superseded in later years.

Images

Motormen and conductors
Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways conductor
A studio portrait of an MS&TET conductor - photo undated, but more than likely taken around the time of opening, i.e. 1898. Author's Collection.


Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways conductor
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the collar insignia. Magnification suggests that the buttons bore script lettering, possibly bearing 'ITCL' initials (see link).


Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways cap badge
Another blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor's pill box cap and elaborate cloth cap badge.


Middlesbrough Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways No 10 at Norton Terminus
The crew of a rather pristine-looking No 10 stand at what appears to have been a favoured location for photographers, the terminus at Norton - photo undated, but given the condition of the tram, probably taken in the late 1890s. Author's Collection.


Middlesbrough Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways Tram No 10 and crew at Norton
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman and conductor, both of whom are wearing thick serge jackets with embroidered collars and enamel licences, along with kepi-style caps.


Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways tram No 15 and crew at Norton
Another shot of a fairly new tram at Norton terminus, this time No 15, with Motorman G E Sidgwick at the helm - photo undated, but probably taken around the turn of the century.


Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways tram No 2 with motorman John Gunn
Motorman John Gunn and his conductor aboard Tramcar No 2 (once again at the Norton Terminus), along with his infant son, also called John - photo taken around 1902. WIth thanks to Janet Allison, grand-daughter of Motorman Gunn.


Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways tram No 21 and crew
The crew of Tramcar No 21 - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid-Edwardian era. Author's collection.


Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways tram driver Tom O'Brien
A blow-up of the above photograph showing the motorman - Tom O'Brien. By this time, the kepi-style caps had been replaced by military-style caps with a wide tensioned crown (top), and the cloth cap badge by a standard, 'off-the-shelf' grade badge.


Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways tram conductor
Another blow-up of the above photo, this time showing the conductor, whose cap, though difficult to discern, also bears a script-lettering grade badge: 'Conductor'.


Musselburgh and District Tramways cap badges
General pattern script-lettering cap badges - 'Motorman' and 'Conductor' - of the type used by the MS&TETCo in the mid-to-late Edwardian era - brass.


Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways tram No 4 and crew
Conductor and motorman pose with Tramcar No 4 - photo undated and uncaptioned, but positively identified through the advertisement on the top deck (not shown) for ‘Winterschladen & Co.’ a local purveyor and importer of wines, spirits and beers. The cap badges cannot be seen on either man, almost certainly due to the unusually wide crown (top) of the military-style caps. The conductor is wearing a large badge of some description on his left lapel, almost certainly of non-standard issue. Author's Collection.


Middlesbrough Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways motorman licence
MS&TET 'Motorman' licence - probably used in the first decade of operation. With thanks to Gary Bayfield.


Middlesbrough Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways driver licence
MS&TET 'Driver' licence - probably used in the first decade of operation.


Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways tram No 54 and conducto
MS&TET conductor George Simpson poses for the cameraman with Tramcar No 54 at the Linthorpe terminus - photo taken circa 1912. The subject is wearing a 'lancer-style' tunic with an elaborate cap badge (see below). Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways cap badge
MS&TET conductor's cap badge - brass. See Ken Sequin's 'The Graphic Art of the Enamel Badge'; Thames and Hudson, 1999. This style of cap badge is similar in overall style to that used by the later Stockton and Thornaby Joint Corporation Tramways (the latter of course omitting the Middlesbrough shield (see link). This style of cap badge appears to have been in use from around 1910 through to municipalisation in 1921.


Middlesbrough Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways motorman's cap badge
MS&TET motorman's cap badge - brass. Author's Collection.


Senior staff
Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways Inspector 1910
Inspector standing in front of Tramcar No 8 at the Norton Terminus in 1910.


Middlesbrough Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways inspector's cap badge
MS&TET inspector's cap badge - brass. This style of cap badge appears to have been in use from around 1910 through to municipalisation in 1921. Author's Collection.


Female staff
Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways Great War tram driver Ethel Atkinson
Ethel Atkinson - MS&TET Driver No 117 - photo undated, but almost certainly taken during or shortly after the Great War. Note the round licence, which is markedly different to the surviving enamel examples shown earlier. With thanks to her grand-daughter, Norma Pearson.