London Southern Tramways Company

The London Southern Tramways Company operated horse trams from 1883 to its takeover — by London County Council — in 1906, just under 23 years in total. Despite this, it is however fair to say that it is relatively poorly represented photographically. What has survived indicates that LTSCo drivers, in common with the vast majority of Victorian horse tramway concerns, simply wore smart but informal attire, including jacket, shirt and tie, and bowler hat, the latter being a particularly favourite of horse tram drivers. Conductors probably wore informal attire too (photographs do not show reflective buttons), though by the turn of the century, this was supplemented by a soft-topped military-style of cap with a glossy peak; the caps bore a badge of some description, the precise form of which is unknown.

When in service, drivers and conductors would have been required to wear an enamel Public Carriage Office licence, which issued by the Metropolitan Police (see link), and usually hung from a jacket button, or, in the case of conductors, from the cash-bag strap.

A single shot has survived (see below) which would appear to show an inspector. The photo suggests that inspectors may have been issued with single-breasted jackets with lapels, though given the poor quality of the photo, it could well be a self-purchased jacket. They were however, issued with kepi-style caps, which certainly bore a badge of some description, though precisely what form this took is unknown.

For a history of the company, see: 'London County Council Tramways Volume 1: South London' by E R Oakley; London Tramways History Group (1989).


Horse tram drivers and conductors
London Southern Tramways horse tram
An unidentified LSTCo horsecar on a Vauxhall to Norwood service — photo undated, but probably taken in the 1890s. The driver is in informal attire and is wearing a tall bowler hat. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

London Southern Tramways horse trams at West Norwood
Horsecar No 37 and one of its unidentified sister cars standing at West Norwood — photo undated, but thought to have been taken in the early 1900s. John Law Collection.

LSTCo trams at West Norwood
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crew of the right-hand vehicle. The driver is in informal attire with a tall bowler and a Metropolitan Police licence, whilst the conductor is wearing a single-breasted jacket and a soft-topped, military-style cap with a badge.

London Southern Tramways trams at West Norwood
Another blow-up of the first photo above, this time showing the other crew. The two drivers are very similarly attired (on the right) with prominent Metropolitan Police licences. The man in the soft-topped cap on the platform of No 37 is almost certainly the conductor, whilst the figure between the trams, in a kepi-style cap, is probably an inspector.

Senior staff
London Southern - 22 INSP
A blow-up of the first West Norwood photo above, showing an individual who is possibly an inspector. Unlike the other two uniformed figures in the main photo, he is wearing a kepi-style cap.