Liverpool City Tramways
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 included a single-breasted jacket with five buttons and upright collars; the latter do not appear to have borne any insignia. The buttons were almost certainly identical to those known to have been issued from Edwardian times onwards (see link). 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 the kepi-style with a glossy peak and bore a large badge incorporating a wreath. It seems highly likely that this badge was identical to that worn in later years by electric car staff (see below).
In the Edwardian era, a change was made to the style of the uniforms - motormen and conductors now wore double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with 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 as these changes were made, a more contemporary military style of cap was introduced which had a tensioned crown (top) and glossy peak; they carried a large brass cap badge consisting of a circlet - containing the words 'City Tramways' - around a Liver Bird, all surrounded by an elaborate wreath. Licences appear to have been dispensed with at about 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 the late 1920s or early 1930s, 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. 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.
Good quality photographs of inspectors appear to be surprisingly 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 'Traffic Inspector' may have existed. Inspectors' uniforms undoubtedly changed significantly over the years, but further details must await the discovery of better photographs.
Liverpool undoubtedly 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, and only a solitary example from the second conflict, details are therefore sparse. In the Second World War, conductresses were issued with a single-breasted, tailored jacket 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.
Horse tram drivers and conductors
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.
LCT driver in a heavy double-breasted overcoat with what is likely to be Horsecar No 330, very probably taken in 1903. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
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.
Motorman and conductor with German-built Tramcar No 400 (with trailer) - photo undated, but probably taken in 1898 to mark the inauguration of electric services (it was withdrawn in 1901). Both men are wearing long, double-breasted overcoats with high, fold-over collars. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
Probable Liverpool tram driver's licence - brass. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.
Motormen and conductors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
LCT epaulette 'liver bird' badge - brass. Author's collection.
LCT Conductor No 1393 stands with Tramcar No 384 - photo undated, but probably late Edwardian. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.
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.
Motorman (with heavy-duty mitts) at the controls of Tramcar No 70 on a 6A service bound for the Pierhead - photo dated 14th October 1914. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.
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.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the new cap badge (see below).
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport Department cap badge - nickel. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport Department cap badge - chrome. Author's collection.
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.
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.
Blow-up of the above photo showing details of the numbered cap badge and the small 'Liver Bird' epaulette badges.
Liverpool Corporation Passenger Transport numbered cap badge - chrome. These were probably introduced in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Author's collection.
'Liver Bird' lapel badge - chrome.
Liverpool City Tramways belt buckel - chrome.
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).
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.
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.
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.
LCT Ticket Inspector cap badge - brass and blue enamel. Author's Collection.
This photograph is something of a mystery - it is undated, but has a strong pre-Great War feel it to it. 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.
LCPT DIstrict Inspector cap badge - gilded brass. It is currently unclear whether this was worn during the 'tramway' era. Author's collection.