Leicester City Tramways / Corporation Tramways

Owner Leicester Corporation
Took over
1st July 1901 (Leicester Tramways [horse])
Operator Leicester Corporation
First electric route 18th May 1904
Last horse service 31st October 1904
Took over (ownership) 4th August 1921 (St Helens Corporation) - 0.5 miles of track between Prescott and Brook Bridge
Name changed 1935 - to Leicester City Transport
Closed 9th November 1949
Length 22.74 miles
Gauge 4ft 8½ins

Button description (Pattern 1) Title (‘LEICESTER CORPORATION’) surrounding a municipal device (a shield with a cinquefoil, surmounted by a wyvern)
Materials known Brass
Button Line reference [None]

Button description (Pattern 2) Title (‘LEICESTER CITY TRAMWAYS’) surrounding a municipal device (a shield with a cinquefoil, surmounted by a wyvern)
Materials known Nickel; chrome; black horn
Button Line reference [113/38]

Button description (Pattern 3) Title (‘LEICESTER CITY TRANSPORT’) surrounding municipal arms (a shield with cinquefoil, surmounted by a helmet and wyvern, with lion supporters) above the motto: ‘SEMPER EADEM’ (ever the same)
Materials known Nickel; chrome
Button Line reference [None]

Comment It is interesting to note that Leicester was only granted city status in 1919, though strictly speaking, this was actually a ‘restoration’, as Leicester had once been a city in Saxon times. Tramcars only carried the legend ‘Leicester City Tramways’ after this date, previously carrying the title ‘Leicester Corporation Tramways'. In view of this, it seems highly likely that the Pattern 2 button was only issued from 1919 onwards, and that prior to this date another button was used, but without the designation 'City'; in the absence of marked tramway buttons, this was in all probability the Pattern 1 button shown above.

The municipal enterprise was re-named 'Leicester City Transport' in 1935, with newly painted tramcars bearing the new fleet name appearing that year. During the last 10 or so years of the tramway, tramcar crews would therefore have been issued with uniforms bearing Pattern 3 buttons.

The supporters to the arms, which were used on tramway cap badges — and ’transport-era’ buttons — were not officially granted until 1926, though they may of course have been used by the city unofficially prior to this.

For those interested, a cinquefoil is a 5-petalled flower and a torse is a twisted roll of fabric that was wound around the top of the helm and crest to hold the mantle in place.