Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways
Uniforms were late arriving, so for the opening of the system in 1903, and for a short time afterwards, staff simply wore informal attire. The new uniforms were perhaps worth the wait, as photographs suggest that they were of high quality, with the sleeves of conductors' jacket even being embellished with braid, something usually reserved for inspectors on other systems, and even then far from ubiquitously so. The uniforms consisted of single-breasted jackets with five unmarked buttons (see link), two breast pockets (with button closures) and upright collars; the latter carried an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side and individual system initials - 'K C T' - on the right-hand side. It is currently unclear whether the badges were brass or nickel. Caps were military in style and carried a standard, off-the-shelf, script-lettering grade badge, either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor'. The grade badges remained in use until the end of the system, though they were supplemented with a small, shield-shaped cap badge - probably a municipal device - shortly after the Great War; this was worn above the script-lettering grade badges.
Uniforms remained unchanged - stylistically - until the mid 1920s. After this, conductors continued to be issued with single-breasted jackets, but of a more modern cut with lapels and epaulettes (with button closures); motormen on the other hand were issued with double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons and lapels. Neither style of jacket carried badges of any description.
Tramcar crews were also issued with long, double-breasted overcoats with high, fold-over collars, once again, completely devoid of insignia.
In the early 1920s, inspectors were certainly wearing single-breasted jackets with black buttons (probably plain) and lapels which bore the grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered script lettering; it is likely that this style of jacket was worn from the outset, though confirmation must await the discovery of photographic evidence from the Edwardian and Great War eras. Caps were military in style with a glossy peak and a hat band of a lighter colour (very like the nearby Wemyss system - see link), upon which the grade - 'Inspector' - was embroidered in script lettering. The style of jacket was changed in the mid 1920s to a double-breasted design virtually identical to those issued to motormen, similarly without insignia. Inspectors were also issued with single-breasted overcoats which carried 'Inspector' on both lapels in embroidered script lettering.
As with many tramway systems, Kirkcaldy employed ladies during the Great War to cover for tramwaymen lost to the armed forces, initially as conductresses, but subsequently as drivers, as well as an inspectress (a Miss Brown). Female staff were issued with long double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five plain black buttons, two waist and two breast pockets, high fold-over collars and epaulettes; the entire coat was devoid of insignia. A photo has survived of a conductress without the long coat, revealing the jacket worn underneath to have been single-breasted with two waist pockets, lapels and epaulettes, the entire ensemble once again devoid of insiginia. Caps were initially in a baggy cloth style but these were later replaced by issues identical to those worn by the men. Both caps carried standard, off-the-shelf, script-lettering grade badges. The lady inspector wore a uniform identical to the female tramcar crew, but with an embroidered 'Inspector' badge on the cap rather then the standard metal issues.
For a detailed account of the tramway, see 'The Tramways of Kirkcaldy' by Alan W Brotchie (N B Traction; 1978).
Motormen and conductors
An excellent studio portrait of Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways motorman J Gillies (Employee No 5) and his conductor, A Balfour (Employee No 2). Photo undated, but given the fact that this is a studio portrait, the employee numbers are low, and the uniforms look pristine, it seems highly likely that it was taken around the time of opening (1903). Note the braiding above Conductor Balfour's cuff, an elaborate adornment normally reserved for inspectors on other systems.
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the conductor's uniform, including the plain, scalloped rim buttons (see link).
General pattern script-lettering cap badges - Motorman and Conductor - of the type used by Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways. It is currently unknown whether Kirkcaldy used brass or nickel badges.
The crew of Tramcar No 6 pose at the Dysart terminus with Inspector Kidd, not long after opening (1911).
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman. The overcoat is completely devoid of insignia, including the buttons, which appear to be black horn.
The crew of Tramcar No 19 at Links St terminus - photo undated, but probably taken in the years before the Great War.
Motorman and conductress - photo undated, but probably taken during the Great War or shortly afterwards.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the shield-shaped cap badge introduced around the end of the Great War - this was presumably some kind of municipal device.
Another shot showing the shield-shaped badge, this time of a motorman (Employee No 8) aboard the front platform steps of Tramcar No 24. Photo undated, but given the style of uniform and the medal ribbon, probably taken shortly after the Great War or in the early 1920s.
Inspector and conductor with an unidentified tram at the Dysart terminus looking east - photo undated, but probably taken in the mid 1920s. Note the new style of uniforms with lapels.
Blow up of the above photo showing details of the conductor's uniform, including the shield-shaped cap badge. Note the underlined grade badge, a fairly unusual pattern for a British tramway.
The crew of Tramcar No 22 pose for the cameraman near the Gallowtown terminus - photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman, who is clearly wearing a small badge above his 'Motorman' grade badge.
A blow-up of the Dysart photograph above showing Inspector Kidd - circa 1911. Although blurred, it does reveal the light-coloured hat band and the embroidered 'Inspector' badges on the collars.
A staff photo which, judging by the medal ribbons and the trilbies, was almost certainly taken in the early 1920s. The two inspectors - seated either side of the dapper gentleman on the front row, are wearing single-breasted jackets with the usual 'Inspector' designation embroidered on the collars.
A blow-up of one of the earlier photos showing a 1920s inspector in double-breasted jacket with lapels. With thanks to Alan Brotchie.
A studio portrait of eight Kirkcaldy Great War conductresses and a lady inspector.
Blow-up of the above portrait showing one of the conductresses. Save for the cap, the uniform is completely devoid of insignia. The cap carries a standard script-lettering cap badge, above which is almost certainly a regimental sweetheart badge, a common means of showing support for a loved one away with the armed services.
Another blow-up of the staff photo above showing the lady inspector, almost certainly a Miss Brown. The style of coat is identical to that worn by the conductresses, as is the baggy cap, though this clearly carries an embroidered 'Inspector' badge.
A blow-up of the earlier crew shot showing a conductress in jacket rather than long overcoat. The cap badge is almost certainly a regimental sweetheart badge.