Manchester Carriage and Tramways Company
Photographs depicting staff of the Manchester Carriage Company (1870-1880) - operators of Manchester and Salford Tramways - are relatively rare, but those that do exist indicate that employees wore informal attire consisting of jackets, shirts and bowler hats. Fortunately, there is a much larger body of photographic evidence covering its later incarnation (the Manchester Carriage and Tramways Company), so we are able state with some confidence what tramcar staff wore from 1880 onwards, though precise dating always remains a challenge.
The 'MC&TCo' clearly enforced a strict policy with respect to staff attiire, and though formal uniforms were not issued, staff were expected to wear smart jackets (with white hankerchiefs), white shirts and bowler hats (without a badge). In later years, when straw boaters became fashionable, conductors and drivers often wore these in summertime, clearly with the blessing of the company. A few photographs do however exist, which show staff wearing flat caps, and generally looking somewhat less smart; it is possible, but far from certain, that company rules in respect of attire were relaxed in the period leading up to the municipal takeover, and that these photographs stem from the last months/years of operation.
Overcoats and blankets were also worn, presumably during the colder months, but once again, there appears to have been no standard issue. The use of informal attire was common practice amongst horse tramway operators, many of them never seeing fit to issue uniforms or insignia of any kind. Drivers and conductors did however wear a large round licence with a broad rim, invariably affixed to the cashbag strap in the case of the conductor.
I am indebted to Ted Gray for high resolution copies of photos from his collection, many of which were first published in book form to celebrate the centenary of the company (Gray, Edward , 'The Manchester Carriage and Tramways Company', Manchester Transport Museum Society). I would also like to acknowledge Jayne Shrimpton for her expertise in dating photos based upon clothing and headwear styles.
Driver and conductor with Horsecar P-4 (a Starbuck car based at Pendleton Depot) outside Eccles Station - photo undated, but probably taken in either 1889 and 1890. With thanks to Ted Gray.
Driver and conductor with Horsecar H-2 (a Hulme Depot car) at Trafford Bar on a short working to Old Trafford - photo undated, but from the style of clothing, very probably taken in the late 1880s or early 1890s. Although no uniform or badges are in evidence, both men are very smartly dressed, suggesting that this was a company rule/requirement. With thanks to Ted Gray.
Conductor and driver pose with Horsecar P-14 (a Pendleton Depot car) with a service from Pendlebury, just poised to turn into Chorley Rd, Swinton - photo taken in 1898 when the Pendlebury route was opened. The photographer was a Mr E Yates, whose chemist shop is behind the tramcar. A round licence is once again clearly visible on the conductor's cashbag strap. With thanks to Ted Gray.
Photo of a Weaste-based horsecar in Heyworth Street at the side entrance to Weaste Depot about to depart on a service to Cross Lane - photo undated, but from the bowler hats, probably taken between the mid 1880s and mid 1890s. Once again, licences are clearly in evidence. With thanks to Ted Gray.
Driver and conductor pose with Horsecar O-54 (an Oldham and Openshaw car) on Ashton Old Road with a working to Gorton Lane - photo dated 1888 to 1889. It was evidently winter as the conductor is wearing a long overcoat, whilst the driver is wrapped up to his chest in a woollen blanket. Note the round licence, clearly visible on the conductor's cashbag strap. With thanks to Ted Gray.
Another shot of Horsecar O-54 in Ashton Old Rd on a service to Gorton Lane, with a rather sullen looking platform passenger - photo undated. The conductor's coat is identical to that in the previous photo, raising the possibility that they were a company issue. With thanks to Ted Gray.
Tramway company staff pose with what is possibly Horsecar HY-14 (a Harpurhey car) outside the Farmyard Hotel at Barnes Green, the terminus of the Harpurhey route - photo undated, but from the style of clothing, probably taken in the late 1890s or early 1900s. Both the driver and conductor appear to be wearing round licences, whilst the conductor sports a straw boater indicating that it was summertime. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with particular thanks to David Voice.
Another photo taken outside the Farmyard Hotel, but this time of Horsecar HY-30 - photo undated, but from the style of the clothing, possibly taken between mid 1880s to mid 1890s. Once again, both the driver and conductor are wearing round licences. With thanks to Ted Gray.
A summertime photo of Weaste-based horsecar W-35 in Eccles New Rd, Salford, on a Peel Green service in May 1894. The flags are to celebrate Queen Victoria's opening of the Manchester Ship Canal. With thanks to Ted Gray.
Horsecar B-1 (a Broughton car) and crew in Great Cheetham Street - photo undated, but probably mid-to-late 1890s. With thanks to Ted Gray.
Crew of Horsecar O-4 pose with their charge - photo undated, but probably taken around the turn of the century. Note the detachable lamp, which was normally mounted on the front offside bulkhead when in use. With thanks to Ted Gray.
The conductor of Horsecar H-93 strides purposefully towards the front of his car, points iron in hand, in Piccadilly on 8th May 1902; the horsecar in the background is L-23. Photographer H Baddeley. With thanks to Ted Gray.
Horsecar 0-35 on the Openshaw route on the last day of its operation, 21st March 1903. The driver is believe to be Henry Wheatley (thanks to his grandaughter Adele Langstaff for this information). Note that the conductor is wearing a soft cap. With thanks to Ted Gray.
Conductor and driver pose with Horsecar L-68 (a Longsight car) on a Princess Rd to Exchange service, taken in Oxford Rd on 30th November 1903; this was allegedly the last horsecar operated in Manchester. Both men seem especially smartly turned out in jackets, with white hankerchiefs and shirts, and tall bowler hats. With thanks to Ted Gray.
Licence - possibly of the pattern issued to horsecar staff.