Jarrow and District Electric Tramway

Summary
The Jarrow and District Electric Traction Co Ltd was a subsidiary of the much larger British Electric Traction Company Ltd (BET), a concern which at its zenith either owned, part-owned or leased almost 50 tramway concerns across the British Isles. J&DET staff were issued with the familiar and largely regulation BET uniform. Although jackets appeared to vary somewhat between BET systems, as well as across the decades, the cap badges, collar designations and buttons invariably followed a standard pattern.

Conductors and motormen were issued with double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom, and of the standard BET pattern - see link), and upright collars. The collars carried an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side - in individual brass numerals - and system initials on the right-hand side, in individual brass letters. Although the latter cannot be made out with certainty on surviving photographs, by analogy with other BET systems, they were almost certainly either 'J D E T' or 'J D T'. Caps were military in style with a glossy peak, and carried the standard brass BET ‘Magnet & Wheel’ cap badge (see below) above an employee number.

Tramcar staff were also issued with long, double-breasted great coats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars; other than the buttons, these garments appear to have been devoid of insignia.

inspectors wore single-breasted jackets edged in material of a finer quality than the main jacket, with hidden buttons (or an hook and eye affair), two waist pockets, two breast pockets and upright collars, the latter almost certainly carrying the designation ‘Inspector’ in embroidered script lettering. Caps were similar to those worn by tramcar staff, but probably bore an embroidered script-lettering ‘Inspector’ badge, which, by analogy with nearby Gateshead (also a BET company), was worn along with the standard BET 'Magnet & Wheel' cap badge.

In common with most UK tramway operators, the J&DET employed female staff (as conductresses) during the Great War, to replace men lost to the armed services. Unfortunately, only a single photograph of one of these ladies appears to have survived (see below), and this only reveals the sketchiest of uniform details. The lady in question is wearing a double-breasted overcoat with lapels, seemingly devoid of insignia, and a light coloured scarf. Headgear consisted of a baggy cap with a stiff glossy peak, which almost certainly bore the standard BET 'Magnet & Wheel' cap badge. The cap, overcoat and scarf are very reminiscent of the J&DET's near neighbour and sister company - Gateshead and District Tramways - so in all likelihood, the J&DET also issued its ladies with single-breasted, tailored jackets with five buttons, hip pockets, lapels, and a belt with two buttons, all without badges of any kind (see link).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Jarrow and District Electric Tramways Tram No 35
Conductor and motorman pose with Tramcar No 35 outside the Royal Oak Hotel in Jarrow circa 1910. Tramcar No 35 was part of the Gateshead & District Tramways fleet (another local BET subsidiary) and was initially borrowed by the J&DET and then purchased in 1911, becoming J&DET No 10. Image kindly supplied by Beamish Museum Limited (see link), image copyright Beamish Museum Limited.


Jarrow and District Electric Tramways conductor
A blow-up of the above photo showing the rather nonchalent-looking conductor. He is wearing the standard BET 'Magnet & Wheel' cap badge above an employee number. His left-hand collar also carries an employee number, with the right-hand side bearing system initials, of which only the 'T' can be seen.


Jarrow and District Electric Tramways conductor
Another blow-up of the above photo, this time showing the motorman. He appears to be wearing large mitts, an absolutely necessity one would imagine for driving an open platfrom tram in northeast winters.


Jarrow and District Electric Tramways cap badge
Standard British Electric Traction Company ‘Magnet & Wheel’ cap badge - brass


Jarrow and District Electric Tramways Tram No 9
Motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 9 in Swinburn Street circa 1927. With thanks to Malcolm Fraser.



Conductor (left) and motorman (right) on the platform of Tramcar No 2 at Tyne Dock circa 1928. With thanks to Malcolm Fraser.


Senior staff
Jarrow and District Electric Tramways Tram
Ex-Gravesend and Northfleet Electric Tramways bogie tram at Jarrow Slake on a Wesleyan Chapel outing around 1909. With thanks to Malcolm Fraser.


Jarrow and District Electric Tramways Tram inspector
A blow-up of the above photo showing the inspector, who appears to be wearing fairly standard BET inspector garb.


Female staff
Jarrow and District Electric Tramways Great War conductress
A rather poor photograph, but the only one I'm aware of that depicts a Jarrow Great War conductress. The conductress and motorman are pictured with Tramcar No 8 in Western Rd circa 1916. With thanks to Malcolm Fraser.