Keighley Corporation Tramways

Although Keighley Corporation took over the tracks of the Keighley Tramways Company in 1896, it leased the operation of these back to the company, only taking over itself in 1901. Photographs taken during the period when the corporation worked the horse car services are extremely rare, though those that have survived suggest that they continued the company practice of allowing tramcar staff to wear informal attire.

Good quality photographs of the electric era depicting tramcar staff are also unfortunately rare, perhaps reflecting its short life (20 years), Keighley being the first UK municipality to close its tramway. On the introduction of electric services, staff were issued with double-breasted jackets with two rows of five buttons (bearing the full system title - see link), and lapels; the latter bore insignia of some kind, though this cannot be made out on surviving photographs. Caps were military in style with a glossy peak, and carried script-lettering grade badges - either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor' - above which was worn a small round badge of unknown pattern, though it very probably depicted the municipal arms.

Tramcar staff were also issued with long double-breasted overcoats with high, fold-over collars; the latter bore insignia of some kind; once again, surviving photographs do not show these in sufficient detail.

Inspectors - at least prior to the Great War - wore single-breasted jackets with hidden buttons (or an hook and eye affair) and upright collars; the latter probably carried 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering. Caps were in the kepi style and probably bore 'Inspector', again in enbroidered script lettering.

Photographs of female staff (employed during the Great War to replace men lost to the armed services) have yet to come to light, so it is currently impossible to state what form their uniforms took.

For a detailed hisotry of the system, see: Keighley Corporation transport by J S King; The Advertiser Press Limited (1964).


Motormen and conductors
Keighley Corporation Tramways Tram No 11
The crew of Tramcar No 10 pose for the camera - photo undated, but given the vehicle's pristine condition, probably taken not long after it was placed in service in 1905. Both men appear to be wearing a small round badge above their script-lettering grade badges. Author's Collection.

Keighley Corporation Tramways cap badges
General pattern script-lettering cap badges - Motorman and Conductor - of the type used by Keighley Corporation Tramways.

Keighley Corporation Tramways Tram No 12 at Cliffe Castle
Motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 12 outside the entrance to Cliffe Castle in 1906. Photo courtesy of Duncan Holden.

Keighley Corporation Tramways Tram No 8
Tramcar No 8 outside the Institute in 1922. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Keighley Corporation tramways motorman driver
Blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman, though precious little of his uniform can be seen.