Maidstone Corporation Tramways

Summary
The style of uniform issued to motormen and conductors remained the same for the entire life of the system, from the inauguration of electric services in 1904 through to their replacement by trolleybuses in 1930. Jackets were single-breasted with five buttons (bearing the corporation shield - see link), two breast pockets (with button closures) and upright collars; the latter bore an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side, in individual numerals, and systems initials - 'M C T' - on the right-hand side, in individual letters. All insignia were brass. Caps were in a military style with a glossy peak and a tensioned crown (top); they bore a standard, 'off-the-shelf', script-lettering grade badge - either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor' - above which a municipal shield badge (see below) was mounted.

Tramcar crews were also issued with double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars; the latter bore identical insignia to the jackets worn underneath, i.e. an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side and systems initials on the right.

Photographs of inspectors are yet to come to light, so it is currently unclear what uniforms they wore.

In common with the majority of UK tramways systems, Maidstone employed female staff during the Great War - both as conductresses and motorwomen - to replace male staff lost to the armed services. These ladies were issued with tailored, single-breasted jackets with five buttons, two breast pockets (with button closures) upright collars and long matching skirts; the collars carried the same insignia as the jackets worn by their male colleagues. The caps were military in style with a tensioned crown (top), though the latter appears to have been somewhat larger then the corresponding crown on the male caps. The caps carried the standard grade and municipal shield badges.

The ladies were also issued with long, double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons and high fold-over collars. They do not appear to have carried any insiginia, and from the cut, may possibly have been re-purposed male issues.

For a history of Maidstone Corporation Tramways, see: 'The Tramways of Kent - Volume 1, West Kent' by Invicta; The Light Railway Transport League (1971).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Maidstone Corporation Tramways Tram No 10 at Loose
The crew of Tramcar No 10 at the Loose terminus - photo undated, but judging by the relatively good condition of the vehicle, probably taken in the late Edwardian era.


Maidstone Corporation Tramways conductor and motorman
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and motorman, both of whom are wearing greatcoats. The collars have an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side and individual systems initials - 'M C T' - on the right-hand side. The caps are military in style and bear a grade badge, above which is a municipal shield.


Maidstone Corporation Tramways cap badge
Maidstone Corporation Tramways municipal shield cap badge - brass.


Musselburgh and District Tramways cap badges
'Off-the-shelf', script-lettering grade badges - 'Motorman' and 'Conductor' - of the type used by Maidstone Corporation Tramways - brass.


Maidstone Corporation Tramways No 9 and Great War Conductress
Motorman and conductress with Tramcar No 9 on the Barming route, probably along Tonbridge Rd - photo undated, but almost certainly taken during the Great War.


Maidstone Corporation Tramways motorman
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman. His cap bears a script-lettering grade badge - 'Motorman' - and the standard municipal shield badge, whilst his right-hand collar bears system initials, ' M C T'.


Maidstone Corporation Tramways collar badges
Maidstone Corporation Tramways collar badges - brass. With thanks to the Stephen Howarth Collection.


Maidstone Corporation Tramways tram driver 1920s
An MCT motorman in double-breasted greatcoat aboard the platform of an unidentified car, in the depot yard in 1929. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Maidstone Corporation Tramways Tram No 17 Loose Road
The motorman of Tramcar No 17 leans rather wearily on his dash in Loose Rd - photo undated, but almost certainly taken in the late 1920s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Female staff
Maidstone Corporation Tramways Great War conductress
A blow-up of the Great War shot of Tramcar No 9 above, showing the conductress.