Lancaster Corporation Tramways

Early photos suggest that motormen and conductors were issued with double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom, and bearing the full system title and municipal device — see link) and upright collars; the latter carried an employee number — in individual metal numerals — on the bearer's left-hand side, and the system initials — 'L C T' — on the right-hand side (in individual metal letters). Later photos frequently show conductors, as well as the odd motorman, wearing single-breasted jackets with five buttons and upright collars, suggesting that these became the standard issue, though it appears to have been far from rigorously applied.

Caps were initially in a kepi style with a glossy peak and carried a small municipal shield badge, which was worn above a script-lettering grade badge, either Conductor or Motorman; these were probably brass to match the buttons (see link). At some point, probably within the first five years of operation, the kepis were replaced with more modern, military-style caps with tensioned crowns (tops); the insignia however, remained unchanged.

Tramcar staff were also issued with long, double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars. The latter appear to have carried the same insignia as the tunics/jackets worn underneath, but in later years, these were frequently left plain (i.e., without badges of any kind). Conductors and motormen also wore a round municipal licence — possibly brass and bearing a large number in the middle — which was hung by a leather strap from a tunic button on the bearer's left breast. In later years, it is possible that this was replaced by an alloy pattern (see below), though evidence to support this is currently lacking.

Inspectors wore typical tramway inspector garb, namely, a single-breasted jacket with hidden buttons (or an hook and eye affair), with two breast pockets and upright collars, the latter bearing LCT on the bearer's left-hand side, and Inspector on the right-hand side, both in embroidered script lettering. The pockets and edges of the jackets were finished in a finer material than the main body, and the same material was used to embellish the sleeves with chevrons. Caps were probably in the kepi-style initially but were certainly changed to a military style, probably at the same time as the tramcar staff; they bore the grade — Inspector — in embroidered script-lettering on a hat band, above which, the standard municipal shield badge was worn.

Many tramway systems employed women during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services, however, it is currently unclear whether Lancaster Corporation Tramways did likewise.

For a history of Lancaster's tramways, see: 'The Lancaster and Morecambe Tramways' by S Shuttleworth; Oakwood Press (1976).


Motormen and conductors
Lancaster Corporation Tramways Tram No 9 and crew
An early photo of three Lancaster tramcar staff with Tramcar No 9 — photo undated, but probably taken shortly after opening in 1903 or 1904. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.

Lancaster Corporation Tramways tram No 9 and crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the three tramcar staff; all are wearing kepi-style caps bearing script-lettering grade badges and a small municipal shield badge. Each of the men also has a round licence suspended on a leather strap.

Lancaster Corporation Tramways staff photo Thurnham street depot
Staff photo, very probably taken outside the tram shed in Thurnham Street; although undated, it looks to be late Edwardian, and a surviving postcard is date stamped 1st October 1912, so it was certainly taken no later than this. The motorman on the extreme left is probably Bill Gates (see later photo). By this time, the earlier kepi-style caps had clearly been replaced by military-style caps with tensioned crowns (tops). Several of those present are wearing military medals, suggestive of Boer War service. Author's Collection.

Lancaster Corporation Tramways tram driver
A blow-up of the preceding staff photo showing employee No 2, a motorman, in double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunic. The collar insignia, script-lettering grade badge (on the cap) and municipal shield badge are all easily made out. Although the individual depicted is not wearing a municipal licence, one of the men behind him is, and the photo is clear enough to discern a large numeral in the centre of the badge.

Lancaster Corporation Tramways cap badge
Lancaster Corporation Tramways cap badge — nickel. It is unclear what material was actually used, though it was probably brass given that surviving buttons are of this material. This particularly example may well therefore have been used for another municipal department. Author's Collection.

Lancaster Corporation Tramways cap badges
General pattern script-lettering cap badges — Motorman and Conductor — of the type used by Lancaster Corporation Tramways.

Lancaster Corporation Tramways tram conductor
Another blow-up of the staff photo above, this time showing a conductor (Employee No 1), one of three individuals in single-breasted jackets rather than the usual 'lancer-style' tunics.

Lancaster Corporation Tramways one-man operated tram
One-man operated car — photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1920s. Photo courtesy of Duncan Holden.

Lancaster Corporation Tramways motorman
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman, in single-breasted jacket.

Lancaster Corporation Tramways motorman Bill Gates
Motorman William Gates at the controls of an unknown tram, probably taken at the Scotforth Terminus in 1927. With thanks to Lancashire Libraries.

Lancaster Corporation Tramways Motorman William Gates 1927
Another shot which was probably taken in 1927 at the Scotforth terminus, again Motorman William Gates, this time at the controls of Tram No 3. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.

Lancaster Corporation Tramways Motorman William Gates 1927
A blow-up of the above photo show Motorman Gates.

Lancaster corporation tram driver's licence
Lancaster Corporation driver's licence No 57, possibly the pattern issued to tramway motormen in later years, as it does not appear to be a match for the licences seen in the staff photo. It may therefore be a bus driver's licence. Author's Collection.

Senior staff
Lancaster Corporation Tramways Inspector
A blow-up of the staff photo above showing the inspector. The embroidered collar and cap badges are clearly seen, as are the jacket embellishments, including the sleeve chevrons.