Liverpool City Tramways

Summary
Following the municipal take-over of the Liverpool United Tramways and Omnibus Company Ltd on 1st January 1897, the corporation became a horse tramway operator, continuing horsecar services for another seven years, until 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, surrounded by a Liver Bird - see link) and upright collars; the latter do not appear to have borne any insignia. These first uniforms are thought to have been of dark blue pilot cloth with light blue piping. 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. Conductors also wore a leather waist belt with a brass rectangular buckle; this bore a round device incorporating the Liver Bird. Caps were in a kepi-style with a glossy peak and bore a large badge consisting of a circlet - containing the words 'City Tramways' - around a Liver Bird, all surrounded by an elaborate wreath (see below).

In the May 1904 , a change was made to the style of the uniforms - motormen and conductors now wore double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with red piping, two rows of five buttons, epaulettes (with button fastening) and upright collars. The upright collars carried an employee number in individual metal numerals on the 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). Some photographs show the employee number prefixed by a 'D', which presumably stood for 'Driver' though why this would be done for motormen and not for conductors is unclear. At the same time, 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. Licences appear to have been dispensed with at this same time, probably because they were rendered redundant by the introduction of employee numbers on the collars of the jackets and the greatcoats.

In 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, epaulettes (with button fastening) and lapels (with two buttons); the latter do not appear to have carried any badges, with the employee number (a one-piece badge) being moved to the left breast. The cap badge was also changed at this time to reflect the formation of Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport Department - the badge comprised the arms of Liverpool surrounded by a garter containing the title: "Corporation Passenger Transport". The cap badge was later changed - probably in the late 1940s or early 1950s - to a design broadly similar to its immediate predecessor, but with 'Passenger Transport' in the garter and a large employee number in the centre, topped by the municipal arms. Small 'Liver Bird' badges were worn on each upper lapel.

Staff were also issued with long, double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars. In the 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. However, and coincident with the general changes to the uniform introduced during the early Edwardian period, the style of the greatcoats was also changed, and though 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, though in contrast to the jackets worn underneath, these were in individual brass letters rather than a badge of one-piece construction. 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.

Liverpool had several types of inspector (apparently commonly referred to as 'checkers'), 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, but those which have survived indicate that they wore single-breasted jackets edged in a finer material than the main jacket, with hidden buttons, epaulettes and upright collars; the latter possibly bore the designation 'Inspector' in embroidered script-lettering - photographic evidence is however currently lacking. Caps were in the same style as those worn by tramcar staff, and bore a similar badge, but with a blue enamel scroll stating the grade; although only 'Ticket Inspector' is currently known (see below), others, such as 'Time Keeper' may have existed. Inspectors' uniforms undoubtedly changed significantly over the years, but further details must await the discovery of better photographs.

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 solitary example from the second conflict, details are rather sparse. Some documentary evidence does 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, conductresses were issued with a single-breasted, tailored jackets with four buttons, lapels and epaulettes. Headgear appears to have been a soft peaked cap, which bore the identical cap badge to that worn by male employees.

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 drive 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). The driver is Herbert Wagner of Litherland and this car formed the last horse-drawn service to run in Liverpool on 25th August 1903.


Liverpool City Tramways Horse Tram No 330
LCT driver in a heavy double-breasted overcoat 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.


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
Conductor (?), motorman and inspector with Tramcar No 123 - photo undated, but probably taken in the early Edwardian era. 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 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. Author's Collection.


Liverpool City Tramways tram driver No 529 Edwardian
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the collar insignia. In contrast to the uniform jackets, the system initials are made up of individual letters rather than being of one-piece construction. The significance of the 'D' prefix to the employee number is unclear, but may well denote that the bearer was a driver (i.e. a motorman). The epaulettes appear to carry the standard 'Liver Bird' badge.



Liverpool City Tramways cap badge
Motorman/Conductor cap badge - brass. This badge 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.


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 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.


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
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 Stephen Howarth.


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 conductress and motorman
Conductress and motorman pose on the platform of Tramcar No 34 on 28th August 1942. Note the more modern looking double-breasted jacket with lapels. Photographer, T Wurm. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Liverpool Corporation Tramways cap badge
A blow-up of the above photo showing the new cap badge (see below).


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport cap badge
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport Department cap badge - nickel. This badge was intorduced in 1934. 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 fiorst used in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Author's collection.


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 Tramwaymen 1950s
Motorman (Employee 2357) and conductor (Employee 2447?) pose with their tramcar - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1950s. Note the new 'numbered' cap badges. Author's collection.


Liverpool Tram Conductor
Blow-up of the above photo showing details of the numbered cap badge and the small 'Liver Bird' epaulette badges.


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport cap badge
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport numbered cap badge - chrome. These were probably introduced in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Author's collection.


Liver Bird badge chrome
'Liver Bird' lapel badge - chrome.


Liverpool City Tramways Belt buckle
Liverpool City Tramways belt buckel - chrome.


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).


Senior staff

Liverpool City Tramways 914
Motorman with Tramcar No 914 on 24th June 1951. Note the numbered cap badge. Photographer, D W K Jones. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.


Liverpool City Tramways
Motorman and conductor pose with Tramcar No 933 outside Garston Depot with Service 8 for 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 crew
A rather poor quality photograph, but one which does show an inspector (far right). The scene is of First Class Tramcar No 549, so certainly taken no earlier than 1908. Author's collection.


Liverpool City Tramways Ticket Inspector cap badge gilded brass
LCT Ticket Inspector cap badge - brass and blue enamel. Author's Collection.


Liverpool City Tramways Tram 230
This photograph is something of a mystery - it was taken in June 1904 just after the top cover (not shown) had been added. Although it appears to show a motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 230, the cap badge, which appears to depict the arms of Liverpool, is completely different to those seen in all other photos, from whichever era. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


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