London Tramways Company

Summary
The London Tramways Company came into being in 1870, expressly as a vehicle to amalgamate the Metropolitan Street Tramways Company (see link) and the Pimlico, Peckham and Greenwich Street Tramways Company (see link). Although the LTCo only formally took over these two concerns in 1874, it is likely that it had been operating the two as a single entity — unofficially — for a number of years prior to this. The company ran a large fleet of horse trams, as well as the cable-hauled Kennington to Streatham line, until 1899, when it was taken over by London County Council (LCC).

In common with the vast majority of horse tramways in the UK, drivers were not issued with uniforms, instead simply wearing informal but robust attire: jackets, trousers, waistcoats, shirts and ties, along with leather aprons or blankets. Headgear largely followed the fashion of the day, usually a bowler hat — in its many different forms — and in later years, the straw boater (during summer). No insignia of any kind appears to have been carried on either the jackets or the hats.

It is unclear whether conductors were issued with uniforms during the first two decades of operation — the first three images below variously show a frock-style coat, a double-breasted jacket with lapels and a single-breasted jacket with lapels, all seemingly without insignia. This suggests that the jackets may well have been purchased by the individuals themselves, a policy which many horse tram operators applied. By the 1890s however, photos consistently show conductors wearing double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons and lapels. Although no badges are evident, the upper lapels may well have carried embroidered initials, given that the LTCo's successor — the LCC — copied many of the LTCo's uniform details (jacket, cap and cap badge), and LCC jackets certainly bore these.

Conductors were definitely being issued with squat, soft-topped kepi-style caps from the early 1880s, and may well have been issued with them since the company's inception (photographs appear not to have survived). These caps had a stiff peak and carried a brass cap badge comprising 'LTCo' script initials within a wreath. This style of cap badge was subsequently adopted by the LCC, but with 'LCC' or 'LCCT' replacing 'LTCo' in the centre.

Both conductors and drivers wore enamel Public Carriage Office licences — issued by the Metropolitan Police — whilst on duty (see link), usually on the left breast.

Photographs of inspectors appear not to have survived, and it is currently unclear whether the LTCo employed them or not.

For a history of the company, see: 'London County Council Tramways Vol 1: South London' by E R Oakley; London Tramways History Group (1989).

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
London Tramways Company horse tram and staff
An early photo of an unidentified London Tramways Company horsecar preparing to work the Peckham to St George's Church route — photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1880s from the style of clothing and headgear. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London Tramways Company horse tram and staff
A blow-up of the above photo showing the tramway staff. The conductor (right, foreground) is wearing a frock-style coat, a company-issued cap and badge, and a round PCO licence. The driver is wearing the characteristic tall bowler of the period with upturned brim. The gentleman on the extreme left, in a bowler hat, appears to be wearing a cap badge, so there is a possibility that he is in fact an inspector.


London Tramways Co tram No 895 and crew
Horsecar No 895 at an unidentified depot with a Camberwell Green to Vauxhall Bridge service — photo undated, but probably taken in the 1880s or early 1890s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London Tramways Co tram No 895 and crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and driver; the former is probably wearing a self-bought jacket, but definitely has a company-issued soft-topped cap and cap badge. The driver meanwhile, is wearing a leather apron or possibly a sturdy blanket wrapped around his entire torso.


London Tramways Company conductor's cap badge
Conductor's cap badge — brass/gilt. Following the take-over of the LTCo, this pattern of badge went on to be used by London County Council Tramways (right up until 1933), but with 'LCC' or 'LCCT' initials replacing 'LTCo' (see link).


London Tramways Company horse tram and crew
An unidentified horse tram and crew bound for the Greenwich and Waterloo Station route — photo undated, but probably taken in the 1890s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice


London Tramways Co tram No 271 and crew
Another depot photograph, this time of Horsecar No 271, used on the Camberwell Green to St Georges Church route — photo undated, but probably taken not long before the LCC take-over in 1899. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


London Tramways Co tram No 271 and crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crew, both of whom are wearing enamel PCO licences.


London Tramways Company tram No 191 and crew
Conductor and driver pose for the camera with Horsecar No 191 on the Clapham Common to Blackfriars Bridge route — photo undated, but very probably taken in the late 1890s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice


London Tramways Company tram No 191 and crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crew. Both men are wearing PCO licences, with the driver sporting a straw boater. The top deck appears to be largely populated by tramway staff, suggesting that this was an official trip of some description.


Cable tram drivers and conductors
London Tramways Company cable tram no 41 and crew
The crew of a Streatham cable tractor (No 41) and horse car trailer pose for the camera — photo undated, but probably taken around 1895 when the line was extended. Photograph courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


London Tramways Company cable tram conductor streatham
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor. He is wearing the standard LTCo horse tram conductor uniform.