Lowestoft Corporation Tramways


Summary

The earliest photographs I've seen indicate that tramcar staff wore double-breasted, cross-over style tunics with two rows of five buttons (presumably brass - see link) and upright collars; the latter do not appear to have carried any kind of insignia. Caps were initially railway-like with a glossy peak and a soft convex top, and carried a small brass municipal badge consisting of an angel holding a shield, above the full system title in a ribbon: 'Lowestoft Corporation Tramways'. A standard script-lettering, brass cap badge was worn beneath this badge, which denoted the individual's grade, either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor'. Caps, tunics and trousers were all piped, though the colour remains, for the moment, unknown.

At some point in the early days of operation, a change appears to have been made to kepi-style caps, which is somewhat curious as these could be considered to be somewhat old-fashioned compared to the previous caps. They did not last for long however, as photos of staff wearing them are scarce, and they were eventually replaced by upright, military-style caps with flat tops, which continued to be worn right through to closure. No change was ever made to the cap badges worn throughout the entire life of the tramway.

The style of tunics was also subtly changed over time to include epaulettes - this had certainly taken place by 1910, though they, like the upright collars, appear to have been devoid of insignia. However, later photos clearly show staff wearing a small municipal badge on both collars, as well as what appear to be employee numbers on each epaulette. Staff also frequently wore heavy double-breasted, cross-over style overcoats with high, fold-over collars and epaulettes; both seem to have been devoid of badges.

In common with many tramway systems, women were employed during the First World War - initially as conductors and later as motorwomen - to replace men lost to the armed forces. Female staff were issued with long, tailored, double-breasted, cross-over style coats, with waist belt and high, fold-over collars; the latter carried embroidered 'L C T' initials. At least some of the coats appear to have carried unmarked bakelite or horn buttons rather than the standard marked brass issues. Headgear consisted of a shiny waterproof bonnet with wide brim, which bore the standard 'Lowestoft Corporation Tramways' badge.

Inspectors wore single-breasted jackets with hidden buttons and upright collars; the latter carried the designation 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering. Caps were the same pattern as worn by tramcar staff, with the identical municipal badge, but worn above 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering, as opposed to the standard brass badges worn by conductors and motormen.

I am indebted to David Mackley's 'Lowestoft Tramways' (Middleton Press; 2010) for background information on several of the photos shown below.

Images

Lowestoft Corporation Tramways crew
Conductor and motorman (George Warnes) pose with a tramcar in London Road South, decorated to mark the coronation of King George V in 1911. Both men are wearing cross-over tunics and the piping on the conductor's trousers is clear to see.


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways badge
Cap badge - brass


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways badges
Standard ‘off the shelf’ script-lettering cap badges of the type used by Lowestoft - brass.


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways Crew
Conductor Freddie Reynolds and motorman Harvey Crawford with Tramcar No 10 - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with particular thanks to David Voice.


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways
Motorman and conductor pose besides Lowestoft's official last tramcar in Station Square on 8th May 1931. The collar badges and employee numbers (on the epaulettes) are clearly seen. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with particular thanks to David Voice.


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways
Conductor and motorman in heavy overcoats alongside Tramcar 14 at Belle Vue Park in the last years of operation. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with particular thanks to David Voice.


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways staff
Conductress (Olive Bately) and motorwoman (Louise Shipp) pose with a rather delapidated looking Tramcar No 22 at Pakefield - photo undated, but probably taken during or shortly after World War One.


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways crew
Conductress (Olive Bately) and motorman pose with Tramcar No 1 at the same location as the above photo, but on another day, as Miss Bately's footwear differs. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with particular thanks to David Voice.


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways Inspector
A Lowestoft inspector in 1911, on the occasion of King George V's coronation (see photo above).