Middlesbrough and Stockton Tramways

The Middlesbrough and Stockton Tramways Company Ltd had ambitions to connect the townships of Middlesbrough, South Stockton (later known as Thornaby), Stockton and Norton, but due to opposition from Stockton, it was only authorised to build a standard-gauge line from Middlesbrough southwestwards to South Stockton (on the south side of the River Tees and in a different county to Stockton). In fact, the tramway never got further westwards than Clarence St, Newport, still some 2 miles distant from South Stockton. The first services, which were horse-drawn, commenced on the 20th January 1875.

Two new lines were subsequently built in Middlesbrough — one southwards to Linthorpe and the other northwards to Clarence Ferry, further expansion being seriously hampered by the local railways, several of which would have had to be crossed on the level. At its maximum, the system totalled 2.59 miles.

The tramway was taken over in 1878 by the grandly titled Imperial Tramways Company Ltd, which began life that year — as a London-based company — with the purchase of several tramway systems (in places as diverse as Dublin and Reading) and eventually had a railway interest as well (Corris Railway). In the 1890s, the ITCo developed plans for an electric system that would connect Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby, and with this aim in mind, it purchased another local concern, the Stockton and District Tramways Company in 1896. The tramway was closed on the 24th December 1897 as a precursor to reconstruction as a 3ft 7in-gauge electric tramway (Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Electric Tramways).

Only a single photograph appears to have survived which depicts a tramwayman from this concern; unfortunately, it is of rather poor quality, though it is good enough to discern that the subject is wearing a single-breasted jacket with reflective buttons (i.e., of metal), suggesting that a uniform is indeed being worn. The subject is also wearing a licence (oval in shape and light coloured, so more than likely white enamel) indicating that tram drivers (at least) were licenced by the local authority.

Further reading
For a short history of the company, see ''A History of the British Steam Tram, Volume 5 by David Gladwin; Adam Gordon (2008).


Horse tram drivers and conductors
Darlington Tramways Horse Tram No 2
M&ST Horsecar No 2 captured in Imperial Tramways Company days — date unknown. 'Touched up' does not even begin to describe the artistic enhancement that the image has been subjected to, however, it is the only image, to the best of my knowledge, that shows a tramwayman from this system in anything like close up. The driver was apparently called Teddy Brown and the location is Newport Landing in Middlesbrough. The reflective buttons suggest that Driver Brown was wearing a uniform, along with a licence (clearly visible in the centre of his jacket). Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.