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 the last one 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, surrounded by 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. 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 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. At some point, a switch was made to military-style caps, possibly around 1903.

In the 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). 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.

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, epaulettes (with button fastening, and probably carrying Liver Bird badges) and lapels (with two buttons); 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 cap badge was also changed at this time to reflect the formation of Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport Department (LCPT) - 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. In later years, small 'Liver Bird' badges - probably chrome - were worn on each upper lapel. 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.

Liverpool had several types of inspector (apparently commonly referred to as 'checkers' in Liverpool), 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 whatever jackets were worn, they were open-necked, requiring a shirt and tie to be worn; other than this, no further details are known. Headgear probably took the form of a kepi-style cap, possibly changing to a military-style cap at the same time as the tramcar staff; the caps appear to have borne a badge that was very similar in design to the standard motorman/conductor badge, but overlaid with a ribbon containing the grade, inlaid with blue enamel (see below for an example). Currently only 'Ticket Inspector' is known. At some point, possibly in 1904, inspectors uniforms were changes to a single-breasted design 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 collars bore an elaborate badge of unknown pattern on both sides; whether these badges were metallic or embroidered cloth is currently unclear. Caps were in a military-style with a tensioned crown (top), and bore in prominent cap badge - possibly with 'L C T' at the top, though the precise form remains unknown. Inspectors' uniforms were radically changed in 1934, and were essentially identical to those issued to tramcar staff (double-breasted with lapels and epaulettes; the jackets appear not to have carried any insignia. 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 the new enterprise title and grade - 'CORPORATION PASSENGER TRANSPORT INSPECTOR' - surrounding an open centre containing the city's arms. Although chrome examples of these badges exist, it is unclear whether they were initially chome or nickel.

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.


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
Conductor (?), motorman and inspector with Tramcar No 123 - photo undated, but probably taken in the early-to-mid 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 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 the 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 seems likely 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
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 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 introduced 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 first 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. 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' epaulette badges.


Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport cap badge
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport numbered cap badge - chrome. These badges are thought to have been introduced in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Author's Collection.


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


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.


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).


Liverpool City Tramways 914
Motorman with Tramcar No 914 on 24th June 1951. 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.


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


Liverpool City Tramways Ticket Inspector cap badge gilded brass
LCT Ticket Inspector cap badge - brass and blue enamel. It is unclear when these were in use, but possibly only in the early days (1897 through to 1904). Author's Collection.


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; 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 an 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 badge tram
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport inspector's cap badge - chrome - issued from 1934 onwards. Photo courtesy of the Alan Robson Collection.


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.