Tynemouth and District Electric Tramways

The Tyneside and District Electric Traction Co Ltd was 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 clearly show Tynemouth 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.

Photos of the early years are scarce, but certainly by the Great War, and possibly from the system's inception, staff were issued with double-breasted, cross-over style tunics, with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom) and upright collars; the latter carried individual letters on the right-hand side (’T & D T’) and an employee number on the left, all presumably brass to match the buttons (see link).

Caps were in an upright military style with a glossy peak, and carried a standard BET ‘Magnet & Wheel’ badge (see below) above an employee number, all almost certainly in brass.

Inspectors most probably wore a single-breasted jacket with hidden buttons (or a hook and eye affair) and upright collars; the latter probably bore ‘Inspector’ in embrodiered script lettering. The standard ‘Magnet & Wheel’ cap badge was probably worn, but with a script-lettering ‘Inspector’ badge in place of the usual employee number.

In common with many tramway systems, the Tynemouth and District Electric Traction Company employed female staff uring the Great War to replace male employees lost to the armed services. The ladies were probably issued with tailored single-breasted jackets with five buttons and a waist belt (with button fastening), along with a long matching skirt. Headgear was a baggy cap with a glossy peak; these carried standard BET 'Magnet & Wheel' cap badges, but seemingly without an employee number. Female staff were also issued with long, single-breasted overcoats with lapels and epaulettes; the latter had a button fastening but appear to have been otherwise devoid of insignia. Unlike the vast majority of UK tramway systems, female staff appear to have continued in employment for at least a couple of years after 1918.


Motormen and conductors
Tynemouth and District Tramways crew with Tramcar No 3
Conductor and motorman posing with Tramcar No 3 at Whitley Bay in 1915. Image kindly supplied by Beamish Museum Limited (see link), image copyright Beamish Museum Limited.

Tynemouth and District Tramways motorman circa 1918
Motorman (possible Employee No 11 or 12) at the controls of Tramcar No 5 - probably taken at Whitley Bay in or just after the Great War. His cap bears the standard British Electric Traction Company 'Magnet & Wheel' cap badge and an employee number (possibly either 11 or 12), whilst his right-hand collar bears individual 'T&DT' initials. Author's collection.

British Electric Traction Company 'Magnet and Wheel' cap badge
Standard British Electric Traction Company ‘Magnet & Wheel’ cap badge - brass

Tynemouth and District Tramways tramcar crew
Conductor and Motorman (No 3) posing on the steps of their tramcar - date unknown. Note that the conductor is not wearing an employee number on either his cap or his left-hand collar; instead, the latter bears a standard BET ‘Magnet & Wheel’ badge. Image kindly supplied by Beamish Museum Limited (see link), image copyright Beamish Museum Limited.

Female staff
Tynemouth and District Tramways conductress circa 1918
Conductress poses for the cameraman with Tramcar No 5, from the same photo as the motorman above, circa 1918. Although her baggy cap bears a 'Magnet & Wheel' cap badge, it has no employee number. Author's collection.