London-area Public Carriage Office licences


From the earliest days of London's tramways, drivers and conductors were required to wear Public Carriage Office licences whilst on duty. These took the form of an enamelled oval disc on a leather strap, which was either hung directly from the bearer's tunic (via a button) or was attached to some other item of staff paraphernalia such as a cash-bag strap.

Up until 1930, these badges were issued by the Metropolitan Police, but following the passing of the 1930 Road Traffic Act, this responsibility passed to a new regional licensing authority (the 'Metropolitan Licensing Authority' in the case of London). In 1935, licence badges were standardised right across the country to the now familiar small circular variety, initially made of 'Metrovick Traffolyte', but subsequently 'Formica'.

The following images are from my collection, and are not intended to be exhaustive. For more information on Public Service Vehicle licence badges, including non-London issues, pay a visit to the following web sites: Stephen Howarth's (see link); Peter Rigarlsford (see link).


Conductors
Public Service Vehicle PSV C2 badge
Public Carriage Office licence — 'Conductor' — probably issued to tram (and bus) conductors between 1850 and 1906 (note that the last horse tram in London ran in 1912). 'M P' stands for 'Metropolitan Police'. Size = 105 mm x 95 mm.


Public Service Vehicle PSV C3 badge
Public Carriage Office licence — 'Conductor' — probably issued to tram (and bus) conductors between 1906 and 1931. Size = 993 mm3mm x 82 mm.


Horse tram drivers
Public Service Vehicle PSV DA3 badge
Public Carriage Office licence — 'Stage Driver' — probably issued to drivers of horse trams (and buses) between 1906 and 1907. Size = 105 mm x 95 mm.


Motormen
Public Service Vehicle PSV DM2 badge
Public Carriage Office licence — 'Stage Driver Mechanical Power' — probably issued to drivers of electric trams (and buses) between 190? and 1909. Size =105 mm 105 mm x 95 mm.


Public Service Vehicle PSV DM? badge
Public Carriage Office licence — 'Stage Driver Mechanical Power' — probably issued to drivers of electric trams (and buses) between 1909 and ? Size = 93 mm x 82 mm.


Public Service Vehicle PSV DM5 badge
Public Service Vehicle badge - Driver - issued to drivers (buses) between 1931 and 1935. It is currently unclear whether these were issued to tram and trolleybus drivers, as trams/trolleybuses were not considered to be Public Service Vehicles. The Area Code 'N' is for the Metropolitan Licensing Authority. Size = 93 mm x 80 mm.


Public Service Vehicle PSV T badge
Not a PSV badge per se, but a Metropolitan Stage Carriage Badge - Driver - issued to drivers of electric trams (and trolleybuses) between 1935 and 1952. The 'T' was not a PSV Traffic Commissioners area code, but rather stood for 'Trams and Trolleybuses'. The circumference colour is actually lilac (faded on this example).