Gravesend and Northfleet Electric Tramways
The Gravesend and Northfleet Electric Tramways Limited were a subsidiary of the much larger British Electric Traction Company Ltd (BET), a concern which at its zenith either owned, part-owned or leased almost 50 tramway concerns across the British Isles. The photos below show Gravesend staff wearing the familiar and largely regulation BET uniform. Although jackets appeared to vary somewhat between BET systems, as well as across the decades, the cap badges, collar designations and buttons invariably followed a standard pattern.
The earliest tunics appear to have been double-breasted, with two rows of five buttons and lapels; the latter probably carrying embroidered initials on both the left-hand side and the right-hand side.
Caps were military in style with a glossy peak, and carried a standard brass BET ‘Magnet & Wheel’ badge (see below) above an employee number.
These tunics appear to have been relatively quickly superseded by a double-breasted, cross-over design with two rows of five buttons and upright collars. The right-hand collar carried individual metal letters, either ‘G & N E T’ or ‘G & N T’ (presumably in brass) whilst the left-hand collar most probably carried an employee number, though photographic evidence is currently lacking.
At some point, probably just prior to the First World War, conductors jackets were changed to a single-breasted design with five buttons, a single breast pocket and upright collars. Motormen continued to wear the double-breasted cross-over tunics.
Inspectors wore a single-breasted jacket with hidden buttons and upright collars, almost certainly bearing ‘Inspector’ in embroidered script lettering. The standard ‘Magnet & Wheel’ cap badge was worn, but with a script-lettering ‘Inspector’ badge in place of the usual employee number.
A view of Gravesend’s famous ’shrimp’ car (Tramcar No 1) - photo undated but probably taken just before the advent of the First World War. The tramcar advertised Russell’s ‘Shrimp Brand’ Brewery, being extensively adorned with promotional material (inside and out), including a large shrimp on the dash! The view shows an inspector (second left), conductor (third left) and motorman (fourth left). With thanks to Richard Rosa.
Blow up of the above photo showing details of the uniforms, All staff are wearing the standard British Electric Traction Company 'Magnet & Wheel' cap badge; above an ‘inspector’ badge in the case of the inspector, and above employee numbers in the case of the conductor and motorman. The collar badges appear to be a mixture of 'G&NT' and G&NET’.
Standard British Electric Traction Company ‘Magnet & Wheel’ cap badge - brass
Motorman and conductor pose with Tramcar No 16 - photo undated but certainly taken before the early 1920s when this car was fitted with a top cover. With thanks to Richard Rosa.
Blow up of the above photo, showing details of the uniform.