Middlesbrough and Stockton Tramways

The Middlesbrough and Stockton Tramways Company Ltd had ambitions to connect the townships of Middlesbrough, South Stockton (later known as Thornaby), Stockton and Norton, but due to opposition from Stockton, it was only authorised to build a line from Middlesbrough to South Stockton (on the south side of the River Tees and in a different county than Stockton); the first horse services, which were standard gauge, commenced on the 20th January 1875. A few new lines were built in Middlesbrough, but expansion was seriously hampered by the local railways, several of which would have had to be crossed on the level.

The tramway was taken over in 1878 by the grandly titled Imperial Tramways Company Ltd, which began life that year — as a London-based company — with the purchase of several tramway systems (in places as diverse as Dublin and Middlesbrough) and eventually had a railway interest as well (Corris Railway). In the 1890s, the ITCoLtd developed plans for an electric system that would connect the aforementioned towns, it purchased another local concern in 1896, the Stockton and District Tramways Company. The Middlesbrough and Stockton Tramways were finally closed on the 24th December 1897 as a precursor to reconstruction as a 3ft 7in gauge electric tramway (Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways).

Only a single photograph appears to have survived which depicts a tramwayman from this concern; unfortunately, it is of rather poor quality, though it is good enough to discern that the subject is wearing a single-breasted jacket with reflective buttons (i.e., of metal), suggesting that a uniform is indeed being worn. The subject is also wearing a licence (oval in shape and light coloured, so more than likely white enamel) indicating that tram drivers (at least) were licenced by the local authority.

For a short history of the company, see ''A History of the British Steam Tram, Volume 5 by David Gladwin; Adam Gordon (2008).


Horse tram drivers and conductors
Darlington Tramways Horse Tram No 2
M&ST Horsecar No 2 captured in Imperial Tramways Company days — date unknown. 'Touched up' does not even begin to describe the artistic enhancement that the image has been subjected to, however, it is the only image, to the best of my knowledge, that shows a tramwayman from this system in anything like close up. The driver was apparently called Teddy Brown and the location is Newport Landing in Middlesbrough. The reflective buttons suggest that Mr Brown is indeed wearing a uniform, along with a licence (clearly visible in the centre of his jacket). Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.