Gloucester Corporation Tramways
(Gloucester Corporation Light Railways)

History
Although Gloucester Corporation formally took over the assets of the City of Gloucester Tramways Company on 30th September 1902, it initially allowed the company to continue working the services until the end of the year. From 1st January 1903 however, the Corporation took over operation, working the horse trams for some 14 months before the last of them was withdrawn as electrification progressed towards completion. Photographs which unequivocally stem from this period of Corporation operation have yet to surface, so it is currently impossible to state whether uniforms were worn; however, and on the balance of probability, it is likely that the Corporation was content for staff to continue wearing the unmarked uniforms that they had worn under the company's jurisdiction (see link).

Uniforms
Staff working the electric services were issued with smart new uniforms: motormen wore double-breasted, 'lancer-style' style tunics with five pairs of buttons (bearing the city's coat of arms — see link — and narrowing from top to bottom), with upright collars; the latter bore an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side, and system initials — 'G C L R' on the right-hand side. Conductors on the other hand, wore single-breasted jackets with five buttons, two breast pockets (with button closures), epaulettes and upright collars; the latter bore the same insignia as the motormen's collars. Caps were initially in a kepi style and bore script-lettering grade badges — either Motorman or Conductor — above which an unmarked Gloucester municipal arms cap badge was worn (see below); it is currently unclear whether the badges were brass or nickel, as buttons exist in both materials.

The style of uniforms, and the distinction made between motormen and conductors, does not appear to have altered at all during the entire lifetime of the tramway (from the first electric service in 1904 through to closure in 1933), the only change made being a switch to a more modern, military-style of cap with a tensioned crown (top), probably in the mid-to-late Edwardian era. These new caps continued to carry the same badges as worn previously.

Tramcar staff were also issued with long double-breasted greatcoats with five pairs of buttons, high fold-over collars and epaulettes; the latter were fastened at the neck end with a button, and possibly bore an employee number. The collars were left unadorned.

Although detailed photographs of inspectors are yet to surface, a good quality photograph of the tramway's chief inspector has survived, from which information about inspectors' uniforms can be inferred. Inspectors were probably therefore issued with double-breasted jackets with four pairs of buttons, two waist pockets (with flap closures) and lapels; the upper part of the latter (the collars) probably carried the grade — Inspector — in embroidered script-lettering. Caps were in a military style with a tensioned crown, though given the paucity of images, kepis may well have been used in the earlier years of the tramway. The caps bore the grade — Inspector — in embroidered script lettering upon a hat band.

The Chief Inspector wore a very similar style of jacket to inspectors, but with piped chevrons on the sleeve cuffs, as well as an embellishment just above these which may have been a monogram of the system initials (GCLR), though this is just speculation. The collars and the cap bore the grade — Chief Inspector — in embroidered script-lettering, the latter, on a hatband with a piped border.

In 1912, the tramway employed one chief inspector, three inspectors, thirty-four motormen and thirty-six conductors.

The GCLR — like many other tramway operators — may have employed women during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services. However, there is currently no documentary or photographic evidence to confirm this either way.

Further reading
For more information on this system see: 'Gloucester Corporation Light Railways' by S E Webb, in the Tramway Review, Nos 112 (p236-242) and 113 (p3-24); Light Rail Transit Association (1982/3).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Gloucester Corporation Tramways Tram No 7 and driver
A brand-new lookingTramcar No 7 stands in the middle of a busy thoroughfare with its motorman seemingly interested in something to the left of the tramcar — photo undated, but probably taken in 1904. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Gloucester Corporation Tramways Tram No 7 and driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing a rather unusual 'side on' profile of the motorman; he is wearing a double-breasted 'lancer-style' tunic and kepi-style cap.


Gloucester Corporation Tramways Tram No 30 and driver
Another poor quality photograph, but one which clearly shows a motorman — at the controls of Tramcar No 30 — wearing a double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunic — photo undated, but given the immaculate condition of the vehicle, probably taken soon after its delivery in 1904. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Gloucester Corporation Tramways Tram No 10 and crew
The crew of Tramcar No 10, working a service to Tuffley and Cross, pose for the cameraman — photo undated, but probably taken in the mid-to-late Edwardian era. By this time, military-style caps had clearly superseded the earlier kepis. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Gloucester Corporation Tramways Edwardian tram driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman (Employee No 7), in 'lancer-style' tunic and military-style cap, the latter bearing a municipal arms cap badge and a Motorman grade badge.


Gloucester Tramways tram conductor Edwardian
Another blow-up of the photo of No 10, this time showing the conductor, in single-breasted jacket and with a cap bearing a municipal cap badge and a Conductor grade badge. His right-hand collar clearly bears the letter 'R', presumably the last initial of the official system title — 'G C L R' - Gloucester Corporation Light Railways. He is possible Employee No 30.


Gloucester Corporation Tramways cap badge
Gloucester Corporation Tramways municipal 'coat of arms' cap badge — nickel. Author's Collection.


Gloucester Corporation Tramways cap badges
Standard 'off-the-shelf' script-lettering grade badges of the type worn by Gloucester Corporation Tramways staff — nickel. Author's Collection.


Gloucester Corporation Tramways Tram No 12 and conductor
Tramcar No 12, at the Hucclecote terminus, some time in the late 1920s. The tramcars were apparently painted in this rather unflattering all-over-grey livery from around 1915 onwards. Whilst many systems were forced into such exigencies by paint shortages during the Great War, most reverted to their original livery as soon as supplies permitted. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.



Gloucester Corporation Tramways Tram No 12 and conductor
A blow-up of the above photograph, which though blurred, does show a conductor in a single-breasted jacket with breast pockets and epaulettes, indicating that the uniforms remained unchanged right through to the demise of the tramway.


Gloucester Corporation Tramways Tram No 10 and crew
The crew of Tramcar No 10 pose for the camera of Dr H Nicol — photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Glouceter Corporation Tramways conductor
A blow up of the above photo showing the conductor, whose script-lettering Conductor and municipal coat of arms cap badges can clearly be seen.


Gloucester Corporation Tramways motorman
A blow up of the first photo above showing the motorman showing his script-lettering Motorman and municipal coat of arms cap badges.


Motormen and conductors
Gloucester Corporation Tramways decorated tram 1911
An unidentified GCLR tramcar, decorated to mark the coronation of King George V, which took place on the 22nd June 1911. The man in the foreground is the GCLR's chief inspector. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Gloucester Corporation Tramways Chief Inspector 1911
A blow-up of the above photo showing the chief inspector. His jacket sleeve bears piped chevrons, as well as an embellishment which may comprise the system's initials. Both the cap and the collars bear the grade — Chief Inspector — in embroidered script lettering.