Leamington and Warwick Tramways

Summary
Although photographs of the early horse-tram era (1881 to 1890) appear not to have survived, those from later years — i.e. the last years of the Leamington and Warwick Tramways and Omnibus Company (up until 1898), and the seven years of horse-drawn operation by the British Electric Traction Company (1898 to 1905) — clearly show staff wearing informal attire: trousers, jacket, shirt and tie, along with the fashionable headgear of the day, either the bowler hat or the flat cap. No badges or licences were worn.

Electrification took place under the auspices of the Leamington and Warwick Electrical Company, a subsidiary of the much larger British Electric Traction Company Ltd (BETCo), a concern which, over the course of its history, either owned, part-owned or leased almost 50 tramway concerns across the British Isles. The photos below show Leamington and Warwick Electrical Tramways staff wearing the familiar and largely regulation BETCo uniform. Although jackets appeared to vary somewhat between BETCo systems, as well as across the decades, the cap badges, collar designations and buttons invariably followed a standard pattern.

For the inauguration of services, staff wore informal attire, as it would appear that the uniforms were late arriving; it is currently unclear when they were eventually issued, but this was probably not long after services commenced. Uniforms comprised double-breasted 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom, and presumably of the standard BETCo pattern — see link) and upright collars; the latter bore an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side (in individual brass numerals) and system initials — 'L & W T' (in individual brass letters) — on the right-hand side. Caps were military in style with a glossy peak and tensioned crown (top); they bore the standard BETCo 'Magnet and Wheel' cap badge in brass, above an employee number (in individual brass numerals).

Close-up photographs of staff taken after the Balfour Beatty take-over of 1912 are yet to come to light, so details of the uniforms remain unknown; however, by analogy with other Balfour-Beatty systems, it is likely that the buttons were plain and the caps badges were standard, 'off-the-shelf', script-lettering grade badges. Confirmation must however await the discovery of new photographic evidence.

Photographs of inspectors, either from the horse, BETCo or BB eras, appear not to have survived, so details of the uniforms worn remain unknown.

In common with the vast majority of UK tramway systems, women were employed as conductresses during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services. These ladies were issued with tailored, single-breasted jackets with lapels, epaulettes, two breast and two hip pockets (with button closures), a waist belt and an ankle-length matching skirt; the jacket was completely devoid of insignia. Headgear took the form of a felt bonnet with a hat band, to which a standard, script-lettering grade badge was affixed.

For a history of tramway, see: 'The Leamington & Warwick Tramways' by S L Swingle and K Turner; The Oakwood Press (1978).

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
Leamington and Warwick Horse Tram No 7 at Leamington terminus
Leamington and Warwick Horse Tram No 7, which appears to be a Falcon Engine and Car Works product (delivered in 1895), at the Leamington terminus — photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1890s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Leamington and Warwick Tramways horse tram crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and driver, both of whom are in informal attire.


Leamington and Warwick Tramways Tram No 1
A rather battered looking Leamington and Warwick Horse Tram No 1 (certainly not the original car with that number) — photo undated, but probably taken around the turn of the century. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Leamington and Warwick Tramways Tram No 1
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crew, both of whom are wearing informal attire.


Motormen and conductors
Leamington and Warwick Electric Tramways Tram No 2 and crew
What appears to be a brand new Tramcar No 2 at the Warwick terminus, seemingly without company markings — photo almost certainly taken in summer 1905. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Leamington and Warwick Electric Tramways tramcar crew 1905
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crew, both of whom are wearing informal attire.


Leamington and Warwick Electric Tramways Tram No 3
Conductor and motorman with Tramcar No 3 in BETCo days, i.e., sometime between 1905 and 1912. Author's Collection.


Leamington and Wariwck Tramways crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crewmen, both of whom are wearing standard BETCo insignia: 'Magnet & Wheel' cap badge above employee number, with employee number on the bearer's left-hand collar and 'L & W T' initials on the right-hand collar.


Leamington and Warwick Electric Tramways cap badge
Standard British Electric Traction Company ‘Magnet & Wheel’ cap badge — brass. Author's Collection.


Leamington and Warwick Tramways staff
An array of staff and four trams — photo probably taken just after the Balfour Beatty take-over, as though the first tram still bears the BETCo's 'Magnet & Wheel' device, one of the staff is wearing a script-lettering grade badge.


Female staff
Leamington and Warwick Electric Tramways Great War Tram conductress Nel Hewitt
Leamington and Warwick Electric Tramways conductress Nel Hewitt — photo undated, but almost certainly taken during the Great War. Photo courtesy of the Allan Jennings Collection.


Leamington and Warwick Electric Tramways Great War Tram conductress Nel Hewitt
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the uniform and cap. The photo is sharp enough to discern the buttons, which were plain with a scalloped rim, a type known to have been used on several other Balfour-Beatty systems (Dunfermline and District Tramways; Falkirk and District Tramways; Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway; Wemyss and District Tramways).