Liverpool City Tramways

Summary
Following the municipal take-over of the Liverpool United Tramways and Omnibus Company Ltd on 1st January 1897, Liverpool Corporation became a horse tramway operator, continuing horsecar services for another seven years, until the last one ran on the 25th August 1903.

The tramways department issued both horsecar and electric-car staff with smart new uniforms, which comprised: single-breasted jackets with five buttons (bearing the system title, ‘City Tramways’, within a garter, surrounding a Liver Bird - see link) and upright collars; the latter do not appear, at least initially, to have borne any insignia, though later on they certainly bore individual system initials on the bearer's right-hand side, and an employee number on the left. An early photograph has survived on an LCT tramwayman in a greatcoat (see below), which bears an employee number prefixed by a 'D'; this presumably stood for 'Driver'.

The early uniforms are thought to have been of dark blue pilot cloth with light blue piping.

Caps were initially in a kepi-style with a glossy peak and bore a large badge consisting of a garter - containing the words 'City Tramways' - around a Liver Bird, all surrounded by an elaborate wreath (see below). This badge exists in two forms, one with the liver bird on a brass background (within the garter), and the other with the background (within the garter) open. It is currently unclear what the relationship of the two badges is, though they may possibly reflect different periods of issue.

Conductors, horsecar drivers and motormen all wore a round badge on the left breast of their coats/jackets, almost certainly a municipal licence; this was noticeably smaller than the licence worn during the company days (see link). Conductors also wore a leather waist belt with a brass rectangular buckle; this bore a round device incorporating the Liver Bird.

In May 1904, a change was made to the style of the uniforms - motormen and conductors were now issued with double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with red piping, two rows of five buttons, epaulettes (with button fastening) and upright collars. The upright collars now carried a one-piece employee number on the bearer's left-hand side and a one-piece 'LCT' badge on the right-hand side, whilst the epaulettes carried a small 'Liver Bird' badge (all were probably brass to match the buttons). Jackets for both motormen and conductors had no outside pockets, as staff were forbidden to put their hands into any pockets their garments may possess! Licences appear to have been dispensed with at the same time, probably because they were rendered redundant by the introduction of employee numbers on the collars of the jackets and the greatcoats. Around the same time, or possibly shortly beforehand, a more contemporary military style of cap was introduced, which had a tensioned crown (top) and glossy peak; these caps continued to carry the same large cap badge as the kepis they replaced.

Conductors' tunics also had two eyelets on the bearer's right-hand side at waist level, which matched up with two hooks on a belt worn under the jacket; these hooks went through the eyelets to secure the cash bag. Later on, the cash bag was attached to an over-the-shoulder strap. My thanks to Ron Martin for this information.

Following the creation of Liverpool Passenger Transport Board on 10th November 1934, a further change was made to the style of the uniforms, this time to a more modern double-breasted design with two rows of four buttons, lapels (with two buttons) and epaulettes (with button fastening, and possibly carrying Liver Bird badges); the lapels do not appear to have carried any badges initially, with the employee number (a one-piece badge) being moved to the left breast. The uniforms were apparently black with red piping. The cap badge was also changed at this time to reflect the formation of the LCPT - the badge comprised the arms of Liverpool surrounded by a garter containing the title: "Corporation Passenger Transport". Examples exist in both nickel, chrome and gilt. It seems likely that the first issues were in nickel, eventually being superseded by chrome, probably in the late 1930s or early 1940s. The purpose of the gilt badges is currently unclear.

The cap badge was later changed - probably in the late 1940s or early 1950s - to a design which loosely resembled its immediate predecessor, but with 'Passenger Transport' in the garter and a large employee number in the centre, topped by the municipal arms; these badges exist in nickel and chrome, with the latter presumably superseding the former. Around the same time, small 'Liver Bird' badges (almost certainly chrome) were added to the upper lapels of the jackets (both badges facing inward), and chrome system initials - 'LCPT' (within a lozenge-shaped surround) - were added to the epaulettes.

In July 1953, the LCPT introduced new caps, still military in style with a glossy peak, but now soft-topped and bearing a new chrome cap badge; the latter comprised a Liver Bird and an employee number, all within a triangular surround (see below).

Good conduct ('merit') was reflected by the addition of stripes on the cuffs of recipient's jacket sleeves.

Staff were also issued with long, double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars. In the early horse-drawn era, the buttons appear to have narrowed slightly from top to bottom ('lancer-style), and the garments appear not to have carried any insignia. At some point, probably in the early Edwardian era, the style of the greatcoats was altered; although still double-breasted, they now had parallel buttons, epaulettes and upright collars; the latter carried an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side (in individual brass numerals) and system initials on the right-hand side, again in individual letters. Although photographic evidence is elusive, it seems highly likely that the collar insignia were changed to one-piece construction at the same time as the main 1904 uniform change. In later decades, it is likely that further changes were made to the general style and insignia of the greatcoats, but photographc proof of this remains elusive.

At various times, the LCT also employed the services of Points Boys and Trolley Boys, the former being quite numerous until the advent of electric points in 1914, whilst the latter were only taken on in 1920 (a total of 30 individuals on city services) though by 1925 no more were being taken on. It is currently unclear what uniform these grades wore.

As a war-time measure, Liverpool City Passenger Transport employed Volunteer Auxiliary Conductors from the 3rd November 1941 through to 1st August 1946. These were regular passengers who helped the conductor in loading the cars and ringing the bell, in exchange for which, they were allowed to travel for free; they wore their own clothing, but were issued with armbands, which presumably conferred a degree of authority.

In the early decades, Liverpool had several types of inspector, amongst which were: Time Keeper, Ticket Inspector, Point Inspector and the most senior grade, District Inspector, of which there were five in 1905. Good quality photographs of LCT inspectors are however rare, so what follows is based on rather sparse photographic evidence. Details of the uniforms worn in the early years of municipal ownership are unclear, though one surviving photograph suggests that some of the jackets were open-necked, requiring a shirt and tie to be worn, more than likely the more senior grades such as District Inspector. Ordinary inspectors were certainly issued with single-breasted jackets with hidden buttons (or an hook and eye affair), with a slit breast pocket, epaulettes and upright collars, all edged in a finer material than the main jacket; the bearer's left-hand collar appears to have borne systems initials, 'L C T', possibly embroidered. Headgear took the form of a kepi-style cap; this bore a badge that was very similar in design to the standard motorman/conductor badge, but overlain with a ribbon containing the grade, inlaid with blue enamel (see below for an example). Currently only 'Ticket Inspector' is known. Around the same time as tramcar staff were issued with military-style caps, inspectors kepi-style caps were probably also replaced (by military-style caps).

It is important to note that it is impossible to know which grade of inspector is depicted in each of the surviving photographs, so differences in the uniform and badges probably reflect differences in the grade rather than a simple chronological progression from one badge/uniform style to another, at least up until 1934 (see later). Indeed, photographs have survived which show inspectors wearing standard inspector jackets, but with elaborate collar badges, along with caps bearing equally elaborate badges - with 'L C T' at the top. Unfortunately, examples of either badge have not survived, so the precise form, whether they were metal or embroidered, or indeed the grade of the wearer, remain unknown.

Inspectors' uniforms were radically changed in 1934, and were essentially identical to those issued to tramcar staff (double-breasted with lapels and epaulettes) though they appear not to have carried any insignia, at least initially. Caps were military in style and now carried a new style of cap badge which was approximately square (but with a curved base) and comprised a frame containing the new enterprise title and the bearer's grade - 'CORPORATION PASSENGER TRANSPORT INSPECTOR' - surrounding an open centre containing the city's arms. Although several chrome examples of these badges have survived, it is unclear whether they were initially issued in nickel.

Inspectors were issued with chrome epaulette badges some time in late 1940s or early 1950s, probably at the same time that chrome epaulette badges were issued to motormen and conductors; this badge comprised the system initials ('LCPT'), above the grade ('INSPECTOR'), all within an unusually shaped surround, the top being convex and the bottom flat. In the late 1930s Liverpool had the following grades of senior staff: Chief Inspector (there were several of them), District Inspector (11), Inspector (usually called 'Road Inspectors', of which there were 131), Depot Inspector (of which there were 56) and Checker. In June 1945, the senior grades were reorganised as follows: Chief Inspector (just one), District Inspectors (9), Chief Depot Inspector (1), Relief Distirct Inspector (1), Chief Driving Instructor and Mechanical Inspector (1), Depot Inspector (56), Inspector (131) and Checker.

It is possible, but far from certain, that inspectors cap badges were changed to a triangular design in July 1953, at the same time they were issued to motormen, bus drivers and conductors. Gilt examples of these badges are known, but with 'LCPT' instead of the usual employee number. Whether they were used for more senior staff remains a possibility, but at the moment, it is just that.

Liverpool employed women in considerable numbers in both world wars to replace male staff lost to the armed services; however, as I have yet to see any photographs of the Great War ladies (engaged as conductresses from November 1915 through to June 1919), and only a two examples from the second conflict, details are rather sparse. Some documentary evidence does however exist in relation to the Great War, which indicates that these ladies were issued with serge skirts (and presumably jackets too), gaiters and large floppy hats, as well as an unknown design of hat for summer wear.

In the Second World War, Liverpool once again employed the services of women as conductresses to cover for the absence of men, three of whom later on rose to the rank of 'checker'. The conductresses were issued with single-breasted, tailored jackets with four buttons, lapels and epaulettes; headgear took the form of a soft-topped peaked cap, which bore the identical cap badge to that worn by male employees. Although the last of these women were released in 1946, Liverpool was eventually forced to recruit conductresses in the 1950s due to platform staff shortages (both on the buses and trams), with some 253 being taken on in 1954. Female checkers apparently wore black uniforms without piping, and could choose between skirts and slacks.

For a history of Liverpool's tramways, see: 'Liverpool Transport' by J B Horne and T B Maund (several volumes and various publishers).

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
Liverpool City Tramways horse tram crew 1903
Conductor and driver pose with Horsecar No 330 in Litherland - photograph purportedly taken on 8th August 1903. The driver is Herbert Wagner of Litherland and this car formed the last horse-drawn service to run in Liverpool on 25th August 1903. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Liverpool City Tramways horse tram crew 1903
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and driver in more detail. Both men are wearing single-breasted jackets with upright collars, along with 'pillbox' style kepis; the jackets bear a licence which appears to be smaller than that worn in company days, whilst the caps now carry the standard LCT cap badge (see later).


Liverpool City Tramways Horse Tram No 330
LCT driver with Horsecar No 330 again, and a very new-looking electric tramcar (No 38) in the background - photo undated, but definitely taken between 1900 and 1903. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Liverpool City Tramways driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver in double-breasted greatcoat and kepi-style cap.


Liverpool City Tramways 330
Yet another shot of Horsecar 330, possibly taken on the last day of service, given the plethora of uniformed staff in attendance. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Liverpool City Tramways motorman No D529
Studio portrait of Liverpool tramwayman No D529, by Hamnett of 59 St James Place Liverpool - photo undated, but more than likely early Edwardian given the military-style cap and collar insignia (individual letters/numerals rather than one-piece badges). Author's Collection.


Liverpool City Tramways tram driver No 529 Edwardian
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the collar insignia. The significance of the 'D' prefix to the employee number is unclear, but probably indicates that the bearer was a horse tram driver. The epaulettes appear to carry the standard 'Liver Bird' badge.


Motormen and conductors
Liverpool City Tramways Trams No 400 and 401  1898
German-built Tramcar No 400 and Trailer No 401 standing outside Dingle depot shortly after delivery in early 1898. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Liverpool City Tramways crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman and conductor, both wearing long, double-breasted overcoats with high, fold-over collars.


Liverpool City Tramways 123
A motorman and another individual on the platform of Tramcar No 123, along with an inspector (standing to the right) - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid Edwardian era. The second man on the platform is very probably a driving instructor as conductors were not allowed on the driving platform in Liverpool at this time. Although all present appear to be wearing military-style caps, rather than kepis, the uniform style remains unchanged from that issued at the corporation take-over; note also, the absence of licences. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Liverpool City Tramways miniature tram
A rather unusual shot of a miniature Liverpool tram, along with a small child in full LCT uniform, but with full-size cap and cap badge. The occasion is unknown, as is the date, though it is almost certainly early-to-mid Edwardian given the single-breasted jacket (see figure second from left). Author's Collection.


Liverpool City Tramways tramwayman
A blow-up of the above photo showing the uniformed figure on the left. He is wearing the early style of single-breasted jacket, but with the newer military-style cap.


Liverpool City Tramways cap badge
Driver/motorman/conductor cap badge - brass. This badge actually belonged to John Gleave, who worked as an LCT conductor from 1933 until 1952. He was based at Linacre Road Tram Shed, working the Number 28 from Seaforth to the Pier Head. Author's Collection. Curiously, all staff photos where this type cap badge can be clearly made out show them to be of this 'open' pattern, whereas, the vast majority of badges that have been sold in recent times have a solid centre (see below).


Liverpool City Tramways
Motorman/conductor cap badge - brass - but with the centre of the badge solid and seemingly with finer detail. Photo courtesy of the Alan Robson Collection.


Liverpool City Tramways cap badge
Motorman/conductor cap badge - white metal. Given the unusual material and the immaculate condition of this badge, I strongly suspect that it is a pattern book example, and that
all badges issued were in fact made of brass. Author's Collection.


Liverpool City Tramways chrome cap badge
Motorman/conductor cap badge - chrome. Given that this style of cap badge was replaced in 1934 (see below), and the use of chrome as a badge material only came into use around this time (see link), it is possible that the new material was introduced shortly before the style of badge was changed. Photo courtesy of the Alan Robson Collection.


Liverpool City Tramways employee 638
A studio portrait of LCT tramwayman No 638 - photograph undated, but probably taken in the late Edwardian era or just prior to the Great War. Author's Collection.


Liverpool City Tramways employee
LCT tramwayman, seemingly Employee No 872, though the last digit is uncertain - photograph undated, but probably taken just prior to the Great War. Given the pristine condition of the uniform, it is tempting to speculate that the photo was taken to mark the subject's elevation to a new job/position. Clearly passengers were somewhat unruly in Liverpool! Author's Collection.


Liverpool City Tramways employee
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the uniform insignia. Note the one-piece 'LCT' collar badge, as well as the 'Liver Bird' badge worn on the epaulettes.


Liverpool Corporation Tramways liver bird epaultte badge
LCT epaulette 'Liver Bird' badge - brass. Author's Collection.


Liverpool City Tramways Tram No 384A and conductor
LCT Conductor No 1393 stands with Tramcar No 384 - photo undated, but probably early Edwardian. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.


Liverpool City Tramwaymen
Liverpool City Tramways conductor and motorman pose with a First Class car - photo undated, but certainly taken in or after 1908, when these cars were first introduced. With thanks to the Stephen Howarth Collection.


Liverpool CIty Tramways Tram No 70 and driver 1914
Motorman No 1503 poses for the camera of the City Engineer and Surveyor's Dept on the 14th October 1914, evidently a cold day given that he is wearing thick mitts. The tramcar (No 70) was ostensibly on a 6A service bound for the Pierhead, though whether this was really the case is unclear, given that the photo was almost certainly taken to record something of interest to the City Engineer's Dept. Author's Collection.


Liverpool City Tramways World War Two conductress and motorman
Conductress and motorman pose on the platform of Tramcar No 34 on 28th August 1942. Photographer, T Wurm. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Liverpool Corporation Tramways World War Two tram driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the new double-breasted jacket introduced in 1934, along with the new style of cap badge (see below).


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport cap badge
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport Department cap badge - nickel. This type of badge was first introduced in 1934, but was itself succeeded by a similar but numbered version in the late 1940s (see below). With thanks to Stephen Howarth.


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport cap badge
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport Department cap badge - chrome. It seems likely that this material was first used in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Author's Collection.


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport cap badge
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport Department cap badge - gilt. It is unclear when this badge was used (though certainly between 1934 and the late 1940s) or indeed whether it was issued to certain grades only. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.



Liverpool City Tramways 683
Motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 683 on a Number 1 service to the Pierhead - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1940s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Liverpool City Tramways 914
Motorman with Tramcar No 914 on 24th June 1951. The subject is wearing a new style of cap badge which appears to have been introduced in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Photographer, D W K Jones; with thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Liverpool Tramwaymen 1950s
Motorman (Employee 2357) and conductor (Employee 2447?) pose with their tramcar - photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1950s. Both men are wearing the new 'numbered' cap badges, which are thought to have been introduced in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Author's Collection.


Liverpool Tram Conductor
Blow-up of the above photo showing details of the numbered cap badge and the small 'Liver Bird' collar badges. The epaulettes bear a badge of some description at the shoulder end, very probably the lozenge-shaped badge shown below.


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport cap badge
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport numbered cap badge - nickel. These badges are thought to have been introduced in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Photo courtesy of the Alan Robson Collection.


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport cap badge
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport numbered cap badge - chrome. It seems likely that the badges were first issued in nickel, eventually being superseded by chrome. Author's Collection.


Liver Bird badge chrome
'Liver Bird' collar badge - chrome. These badges are thought to have been introduced in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Author's Collection.


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport epaulette badge 1940s
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport epaulette badge - chrome. These were probably worn from the late 1940s or early 1950s to well beyond the closure of the tramway system in 1957. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.


A J Huddy Liverpool City Tramways driver 1950
An evocative shot of A J Huddy (centre) and workmates relaxing at Penny Lane depot around 1950. Mr Huddy started out as a cleaner at Garston depot before progressing to conducting and driving (on the trams), then to driving buses, ending his career as a garage shunter at Garston. Photo with kind permission of William Huddy (A J Huddy's son). Collar and epaulette insignia appear to be completely absent in this shot, though this may be because they are wearing their greatcoats.


Liverpool City Tramways
Motorman and conductor pose with Tramcar No 933 outside Garston Depot with Service 8 for the Pier Head and Myrtle St on 5th June 1953. The conductor also appears to be wearing a round PSV badge, suggesting that he may also have worked on the buses. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Liverpool City Tramways motorman 1950s Tram No 766
A poor quality photograph, but the only one I've been able to find that shows a Liverpool tramwayman (a motorman) wearing the 1953-issue triangular cap badge (see below). Although the photo is undated, it must have been taken between 1953 and 1957. With thanks to John Cox.


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport cap badge 1953
LCPT cap badge, Employee No 3623 - chrome. This type of badge was introduced in 1953, and would have been worn through to closure in 1957. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport cap badge gilt
LCPT cap badge - gilt. Badges of this general type were introduced in 1953, though the precise purpose of these gilt, unnumbered issues is unclear; they may have been for senior staff, though this is merely speculation. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.


Liverpool City Tramways Belt buckle
Liverpool City Tramways belt buckel - chrome. Photos taken after the uniform change of 1934, when chrome would have begun to be introduced, show that conductors no longer wore belt buckles. The only photos from this period (i.e. after 1934) which show tramwaymen wearing a belt with a prominent buckle are in fact of the Tramways Band, so it seems more than likely that this example was for that purpose rather than general issue. Author's Collection.


Senior staff
LIverpool City Tramways Tram No 334.
Tramcar No 334 posed for the cameraman, and looking to be in pristine condition, which would date the photograph to 1900. Author's Collection.


LIverpool City Tramways tram inspector
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and an inspector. The man on the platform is probably a driving instructor, with the motorman being 'under tuition'. The inspector is wearing typical tramway inspector garb, and his left-hand collar would appear to have three-letter insignia, presumably 'L C T'. His kepi-style cap carries a badge which is virtually identical in form to the conductor's, though presumably carrying his grade in an enamel-inlaid ribbon.


Liverpool City Tramways Ticket Inspector cap badge gilded brass
LCT Ticket Inspector cap badge - gilt and blue enamel. It is unclear when these were in use, but possibly from the early days though to 1934, though this is far from certain due to the paucity of photographs. Author's Collection.


Liverpool City Tramways inspector Edwardian
A blow-up of the early-Edwardian photograph of Tramcar No 123 above showing an individual who clearly has an open-necked jacket under his overcoat, requiring him to wear a shirt and tie, and suggesting that he may in fact have been a more senior grade. His cap would appear to bear a badge of approximately the same size and shape as that issued to tramcar crews.


Liverpool City Tramways Inspector Edwardian
A blow-up of the Edwardian 'miniature tram' photo above showing an inspector. He is wearing a typical tramway inspector jacket with upright collars that bear a prominent badge; furthermore, the cap badge is noticeably different in shape than the pattern issued to tramcar staff.


Liverpool City Tramways Tram 230
This photograph was taken in June 1904, just after the top cover (not shown) had been added to this vehicle. Although it appears to show a motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 230, the cap badge is completely different to those issued to motormen and conductors, so in all probability, the man depicted is some type of inspector. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Liverpool City Tramways inspector
A rather poor quality photograph, but one which does show an inspector without an overcoat (far right). The scene is of First Class Tramcar No 549, so certainly taken no earlier than 1908. Author's Collection.


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport Inspector's cap badge nickel
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport inspector's cap badge - nickel - probably in use from 1934 until its replacement by chrome, possibly in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport Inspector badge tram
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport inspector's cap badge - chrome - probably issued from the late 1930s or early 1940s through to 1953. Photo courtesy of the Alan Robson Collection.


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport Inspector epaulette badge
LCPT Inspector's epaulette badge - chrome. These were probably worn from the late 1940s or early 1950s onwards. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport District Inspector cap badge
LCPT DIstrict Inspector cap badge - gilt. It is currently unclear whether this was worn during the 'tramway' era. Author's Collection.


Liverpool Inspector Lapel liver birds
Liver Bird lapel badges - gilt. These were possibly worn by more senior grades, though exactly when remains unclear. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.


Female staff
p_00001_3607-16-2 CROP3
A blow-up of the 1942 photograph above showing the conductress. She is wearing a single-breasted jacket with lapels, along with a matching knee-length skirt and a cap.