Mexborough and Swinton Tramways

Images of the Mexborough and Swinton are relatively uncommon, so what follows is based on a relatively thin photographic record.

Motormen wore double-breasted lancer-style tunics with two rows of buttons (narrowing from top to bottom), and upright collars; the latter possibly carried an employee number on the right-hand side and individual systems initials - probably 'M & S' - on the left-hand side. Conductors on the other hand wore double-breasted jackets with two rows of four closely spaced buttons and lapels; the latter certainly carried insignia of some kind, again probably system initials and an employee number, though this cannot be made out with certainty on the surviving photographs. Caps were in the military style and carried a standard, 'off the shelf', script lettering grade badge, either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor'. It is currently unclear whether the badges and buttons were brass or nickel. Later on in the system's life - probably prior to the Great War - the script-lettering grade badges were replaced with a prominent, nickel cap badge, which took the form of a scalloped shield, within which were the system initials - ' M &. S. T' - and the bearer's grade, in block capitals; 'CONDUCTOR' ihas survived, but presumbaly 'MOTORMAN' or 'DRIVER' existed as well. The curiously placed full stops in the system initials are reproduced exactly as positioned on the surviving badges.

Inspectors wore single-breasted jackets edged in a finer material than the main body, with hidden buttons - or an hook and eye affair - a slit breast pocket and upright collars; the latter carried the designation 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering. Caps were in the military style and carried the designation 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering, possibly on a hat band. The Chief Inspector wore a virtually identical uniform, but without collar designations and with a large oval cap badge that was probably, but not certainly, embroidered with his grade and the system initials.

In common with the vast majority of UK Tramway systems, women were employed during the Great War to replace men lost to the armed services. A single photograph has survived which indicates that conductresses were issued with long, tailored, double-breasted overcoats with high, fold-over collars and epaulettes; the latter certainly bore insignia of some kind, probably an employee number and/or system initials. These ladies were also presumably issued with jackets (worn underneath) but photographs appear not to have survived. so it is currently impossible to say either way. Headgear - at least in summer - appears to have been a dark-coloured straw bonnet which carried a hat band that bore the same large shield badge worn by the men at this time.


Motormen and conductors
Mexborough and Swinton Tramways Tram No 13 and crew
Motorman and conductor with what appears to be a brand new Tramcar No 13 at Swinton Common - photo undated, but probably taken around the time of opening, 1907. The round shape just beneath the conductor's right boot is a Dolter surface contact stud. The system used this form of current collection until 30th July 1908, when it was replaced by overhead wire.

Musselburgh and District Tramways cap badges
General pattern script-lettering cap badges - Motorman and Conductor - of the type used by Mexborough and Swinton Tramways prior to the Great War. It is currently unknown whether they used brass or nickel.

Mexborough and Swinton Tramways Tram No 19 and crew
Conductress and motorman with Tramcar No 19 - photo undated, but almost certainly taken during the Great War.

Mexborough and Swinton Motorman
Blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman. The strange oval shapes on the cap are in fact the lenses of goggles. The badge in the centre, partially obscured by the googles, is almost certainly the large shield-shaped badge that staff were wearing by the time of the Great War. It is possible that the left-hand collar insignia are 'M & S'.

Mexborough and Swinton tram conductor
A very poor-quality photograph, but one which clearly shows the shield shape of the new cap badge. The conductor is clearly wearing a 'lancer-style' tunic rather than the usual double-breasted design, suggesting that the former may possibly have been in short supply. With thanks to the National Tramway Museum.

Mexborough and Swinton Tramways cap badge conductor
Mexborough and Swinton Tramways conductor's cap badge - nickel. This was worn from around the time of the Great War through to closure in 1929. Author's Collection.

Mexborough and Swinton Tramways Tram No 20 and crew
The crew of Tramcar No 20 pose for the cameraman with a service to Rotherham - photo undated, but from the large flat caps, probably taken in the early 1920s. The conductor is wearing the usual style of double-breasted jacket with parallel buttons and lapels. Source unknown.

Senior staff
Mexborough and Swinton Tramways inspectors
Mexborough and Swinton senior staff with two inspectors and an individual who is probably the Chief Inspector (back row, middle) - photo undated, but more than likely taken around the time of opening - 1907. Author's Collection.

Mexborough and Swinton Tramways inspector
A blow-up of the above photo showing one of the inspectors. He is wearing a fairly standard 'tramway' inspector's uniform, with his grade embroidered on the upright collars and the cap.

Mexborough and Swinton Tramways Chief Inspector
Another blow-up of the above photo showing an individual who is probably the Chief Inspector. He is wearing a large oval cap badge, which, by analogy with senior staff on other systems, would probably have been embroidered cloth.

Mexborough and Swinton Tramways Inpsector
A Mexborough and Swinton inspector, with more than a passing resemblance to a well known Georgian dictator, poses rather proprietorially with Tramcar No 8. Another inspector is at the controls (out of shot), suggesting the photo was taken to commemorate a significant event, very likely the conversion to overhead current collection in July 1908. Author's collection.

Female staff
Mexborough and Swinton Tramways Great War conductress
A blow-up of the photograph of Tram No 19 above showing the rather striking looking conductress. She is almost certainly wearing the new shield cap badge.