Liverpool Tramways
(Liverpool Tramways Company / Liverpool United Tramways and Omnibus Company)

Summary
Photographs depicting staff of the Liverpool Tramways Company (1869-1876) are virtually non-existent, certainly none showing them in anything like close up; however, those of its successor, the Liverpool Tramways and Omnibus Company Ltd (1876 to 1897) are relatively common. These show that horsecar drivers wore informal but heavy duty attire comprising jacket, shirt and tie, along with the almost ubiquitous bowler hat, though in later years, flat caps also made an appearance. Conductors on the other hand - at least by the late 1880s, and certainly thoughout the 1890s - appear to have been issued with single-breasted, calf-length jackets; photos suggest that they did not carry metal buttons, though this is far from certain. Headgear consisted of a soft-topped, kepi-style cap with a shiny peak, vaguely reminiscent of the forage caps worn by both sides during the American civil war. These carried a large cap badge, which appears to have been oval in form. There is some evidence to suggest that this style of cap may have been replaced by a more upright 'pillbox' style in the 1890s, though photographic evidence is far from conclusive.

Drivers and conductors both wore a large round brass licence on the left breast of their jackets.

Photographs of inspectors are unknown, and it is entirely possible that the two companies never made use of them.

Although a pattern book example of a 'Liverpool United Tramways' cap badge has survived, there is considerable doubt as to whether a badge of this type was ever issued by the LUT&OCoLtd, as no used examples have ever been found, and furthermore, the badge is round rather than the oval shape seen in the photos. The badge is also identical in form to that later used by the corporation, with only the lettering differing ('United' rather than 'City'); given that most corporations were at great pains to differentiate themselves from the previous owners of the tramways they took over, most of whom were running rather decrepit operations by the end of their lives, this would rank as a curious decision it it were true.

For a history of Liverpool's horse tramways, see: 'Liverpool Transport, Volcume 1, 1830-1900' by J B Horne and T B Maund; Senior Publications (1975).

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
Liverpool Horse Tram 69
A postcard of Horsecar No 69 outside St George's Hall in Lime St - photo undated, but thought to have been taken around 1885. The driver sports a large round licence, whilst the conductor can just be glimpsed on the back platform. The lack of advertisements suggests that the vehicle, an Eades reversible patent (Type C) car, may have been brand new. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Liverpool Horse Tram
The driver of a tartan-liveried horsecar (possibly a Type B) guides his charge across the swing bridge over George's Dock Passage - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1880s. The driver's large round licence is easily seen. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Liverpool horse tram licence
Probable Liverpool horse tram driver's licence - brass. With thanks to Stephen Howarth.


Liverpool Tramways and Omnibus Company Horse Tram
An Ashburys-built horsecar of the Eades reversible patent variety, termed Type C in Liverpool, laden with advertisements and working the Wavertree to Exchange route - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1880s. The driver and conductor seem almost oblivious to the presence of the photographer, who has managed to capture the latter side on, revealing the squat kepi-style cap and cut-away jacket. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Liverpool Tramways and Omnibus Company Horse Tram
Another unidentified Type C horsecar, turned out with four immaculately groomed horses on what was possibly May Day - photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1890s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Liverpool Tramways and Omnibus Company Horse Tram conductor and driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and driver, both of whom are wearing licences. The oval form of the conductor's cap badge is easily made out.


Liverpool United Tramways and Omnibus Co Ltd No 4
Although the conductor is heavily shaded by the canopy of his vehicle (Horsecar No 4), the photo does show very clearly the large size of the licence, which appears to be fully 6 or 7 inches across. Photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1890s. Photograph courtesy of the Alan Brotchie collection.


Liverpool Tramways and Omnibus Company Horse Tram
Conductor and driver with Type B horsecar No 49 in the village square at West Derby - photo purportedly taken in the 1890s. The cut-away nature of the conductor's jacket is clearly evident, as is the low profile of the cap, with its prominent badge. Both men are wearing the usual round licences, though these are not easy to see. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Liverpool Tramways and Omnibus Company Horse Tram
The driver of Type F horsecar - working the Seaforth Sands route - concentrates as his heavily laden vehicle passes some roadworks at Derby Bridges on the 25th May 1894. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Liverpool Tramways and Omnibus Company Horse Tram Dingle
An unidentified Type B horsecar stands at the terminus at Dingle - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1890s. The figure holding the trace horse on the left is wearing a 'pillbox' style of kepi cap, suggesting that the soft-topped kepis may have been superseded in later years. However, his precise grade is unclear, as his cap does not have a badge, and neither does he have the standard accoutrements of a conductor, i.e. a licence and cash bag. Photo courtesy of Rob Jones.




Cap badge - nickel. It is unclear if a badge of this pattern was ever issued as surviving photo clearly show that conductors wore an oval rather than a round badge. The example shown here is almost certainly a pattern book example, given its pristine condition and the unusual material - white metal. It was perhaps made for consideration by the company at some point, but presumably not accepted. With thanks to Talisman Auctions)