Southend-on-Sea Corporation Tramways



Owner Southend-on-Sea Corporation
Opened 19th July 1901 (electric)
Operator Southend-on-Sea Corporation
Closed 8th April 1942
Length 9.22 miles
Gauge 3ft 6ins

Button description (Pattern 1) Title (‘Borough of Southend-on-Sea’) within a border, surrounding a sailing ship
Materials known Nickel
Button Line reference [None]

Button description (Pattern 2) Title (‘Southend-on-Sea Corporation Transport’) within a border, surrounding arms (shield with an anchor, vase, grid iron and trefoil, surmounted by a mast head emerging from a mural crown) with fisherman and monk supporters, all above motto: ‘Per Mare Per Ecclesiam’ (Through the sea through the church)
Materials known Nickel; chrome
Button Line reference [None]

Comment At the opening of the tramway system in 1901, Southend was a municipal borough, with the official grant of arms, crest and motto only being made on the 1st January 1915, following Southend's elevation to 'County Borough' status (this occurred in 1914). Prior to this time, an 'unofficial' device was used, which appeared on tramcar waist panels and probably on the staff cap badges too. Titled buttons however, appear to have only been introduced during the 'transport' era (Pattern 2), a name which probably wasn't used until the 1930s; the standard municipal button (Pattern 1) was therefore used for the first 30 years or so of the system's existence. Supporting evidence for this comes from a photo of a Great War conductress, where the buttons can be discerned (see link), as well as from the National Tramway Museum collection, which was given a small collection of uniform items in 2007 - from an ex-Southend tramway employee - which included both types of buttons.