Belfast Corporation Tramways



Owner Belfast Corporation
Opened 1900 (horse) - extensions to the existing company system
Operator (lessee) Belfast Street Tramways Company
Took over 1st January 1905 (Belfast Street Tramways Company)
Took over 1st January 1905 (Belfast and County Down Railway spur to Queen's Quay Station [horse])
Operator Belfast Corporation
Last horse service December 1905?
First electric route 30th November 1905
Took over 1st June 1911 (Cavehill and Whitewell Tramway [electric])
Named changed 1st January 1929 (Belfast Corporation Tramways and Motors Department)
Closed 10th February 1954
Length 51.45 miles
Gauge 4ft 9ins

Button description (Pattern 1)
Stylised monogram ‘BTC’ (overlaid initials)
Materials known Brass; chrome; nickel
Button Line reference [113/14]

Button description (Pattern 2) Title (‘Belfast Corporation') surrounding arms (halved shield with a bell and triangular wall device above and a sailing ship on waves below), surmounted by a seahorse on a torse, with seahorse and chained-wolf supporters, all above motto ‘Pro tanto quid retribuamus’ (What return shall we make for so much)
Materials known Chrome; brass; black
Button Line reference [None]

Comment It would seem highly probable that the Pattern 1 button was used from the earliest days of the system, and that this continued in use, by both the Tramways and Transport Departments throughout their entire existence, up until the demise of the latter in 1973. There are two distinct variants of this button (see photos), with the rimless variant having the look and feel of an earlier button. Tentative support for this assumption comes from the fact that it is only known (at least by me) to exist in brass, whereas the 'with rim' variant also exists in chrome, a material which did not come into use until the late 1920s (at the very earliest).

Notes kept with a Pattern 2 button at Crich (National Tramway Museum) imply that these buttons were also issued to tramway staff, however, evidence for this is completely lacking. Although they may indeed have been issued to senior staff such as inspectors, this is completely unproven.