Preston Corporation Tramways

Summary
Preston Corporation was a horse tramway owner from 1882 when it opened its first line, through to closure of the horse system on the last day of 1903; however, for this entire period, the corporation chose to lease operation of the services to a private company - W Harding and Co Ltd - rather than working the system themselves. Although numerous photos of horse tram crews have survived, these are predominantly from the last seven or so years of operation, so what follows below is based largely upon that evidence; however, given that these photos clearly show that horsecar crews did not wear uniforms, there is currently no reason to think that this was any different in earlier years (1880s and early 1890s). Both drivers and conductors wore smart but informal attire, namely: jacket, trousers, shirt and tie, along with the fashionable headgear of the day, predominantly the bowler hat, but also the flat cap. The latter was presumably a development of the mid-to-late 1890s, when these came into vogue. Drivers sometimes also wore leather aprons. No insignia of any kind appears to have been worn, including municipal licences.

Early photographs indicate that uniforms had not been delivered (or ordered) in time for the inaugural services, so crewmen simply wore informal but smart attire, invariably topped off with a flat cap. However, relatively soon after services began, uniforms were introduced; these consisted of double-breasted 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom, and presumably in brass — see link), epaulettes and upright collars; whilst the collars carried an employee number (in individual numerals) on both sides, presumably in brass to match the buttons, the epaulettes appear to have been left plain, though some photographs suggest that they may have borne individual system initials, 'P C T'. Caps were in a military style with a tensioned crown (top) and a glossy peak; they bore script-lettering grade badges (again presumably brass), either Driver or Conductor. The style of uniform does not appear to have changed at all over the entire 30-year history of the electric system.

Tramcar staff were also issued with long, double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars; the latter carried employee numbers on both sides, again presumably in brass.

Inspectors were probably issued with single-breasted jackets with hidden buttons (or more likely a hook and eye affair) and upright collars, with the jacket and pockets edged in a finer material then the main body. Caps were in a military style, like those of tramcar staff, and carried the bearer's grade - Inspector - on a hat band, in embroidered script lettering.

In common with the vast majority of UK tramway systems, Preston employed women during the Great War to replace male staff lost to the armed services. Female staff were issued with single-breasted, tailored jackets with four pockets (with button closures), epaulettes and upright collars, along with a long matching skirt; the collars carried an employee number on both sides. Caps were identical to those worn by male staff and carried the same script-lettering grade badges.

For a history of the system, see: 'The Tramway Review' Nos 67 (p67-77/92), 68 (p99-124), 69 (p131-146), 70 (p163-167/181-191), 71 (p207-212) and 77 (p154-160) by G W Heywood; Light Railway Transport League (1971, 1972, and 1974).

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
Preston Corporation Horse tram No 27
Horsecar No 27 stands in Newton Road Ashton - photo undated, but from the style of the bowler hats (with upturned brims), possibly taken in the early-to-mid 1890s. Photo courtesy of Barbara Quinn via the Preston Digital Archive (see link).


Preston Corporation Tramways horse tram crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crew, both of whom are wearing bowler hats typical for the early 1890s. Both men are wearing informal attire with no evidence if badges or licences.


Preston Corporation Tramways horse tram Lancaster Road
A horsecar driver and conductor pose for the camera outside the Excelsior Art Studio on the Lancaster Rd to Fulwood Barracks route — photo undated, but given the conductor's flat cap, probably taken in the mid-to-late 1890s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Preston Corporation Tramways horse tram
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver, in long coat and the conductor in an informal jacket; the former is wearing a bowler hat and the latter, a flat cap.


reston horse tram outside Cemetery Gates 1900
A driver and conductor at Cemetery Gates — photo undated, but probably turn of the century. Photo courtesy of Preston Digital Archive (see link).


Preston horse tram driver and horse in Fishergate 1903
A driver and his helper (possibly a stable lad or trace-horse boy), change their horse around at the bottom of Fishergate, possibly in 1903. The driver is wearing a leather apron. Photo courtesy of Preston Digital Archive (see link).


Preston horse tram and crew 1903
A horse tram driver and conductor with an unidentified horse car near Fulwood Barracks in late 1903. Photo courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Preston Horse Tramways driver 1903
A blow up of the above photo showing the driver. The poster on the tram advertises the coming sale of 80 horses on January 5th, presumably 1904 given that W A Harding & Co's lease was terminated on the last day of 1903.



Preston Horse Tramways crew 1903
A rather charming photo of a Preston horse tram driver, conductor and young boy, possibly the conductor's son — photo taken near Fulwood Barracks in late 1903. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Preston Horse Tramways crew 1903
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver (with blanket and bowler hat) and the conductor (in smart informal jacket and a flat cap).


Preston Corporation horse tram 1903
A driver and conductor with their rather battered-looking charge at the bottom of Fishergate Hill — photo purportedly taken on the last day of operation, 31st December 1903. Photo courtesy of Preston Digital Archive (see link).


Preston Corproation driver's licence armband
Preston licence badge — brass. There is no photographic evidence to support this type of licence ever being issued to horsecar drivers, so in all likelihood, it was for private hire and/or horse bus drivers. With thanks to Chris Gardiner.


Motormen and conductors
Preston Corporation Tramways tram No 6 and crew 1904
Two conductors and a motorman with what would appear to be a brand new Tramcar No 6 on a service for Fulwood Barracks — photo undated, but almost certainly taken in June 1904 when this route opened. Photo copyright of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston; courtesy of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston (see link).


Preston Corporation Tramways tram No 6 and crew 1904
A blow-up of the above photograph showing the two conductors, both of whom are wearing informal attire.


Preston Corporation Tramways motorman
Another blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman. His overcoat collars bear some form of initials, whilst his soft-topped cap appears to be devoid of insignia.


Preston Corporation Tramways Tram No 6 and crew 1904
Tramcar No 6 again, clearly in pristine condition, and in revenue-earning service — photo undated, but almost certainly taken in 1904. Richard Rosa Collection.


Preston Corporation Tramways tram crew 1904
A blow-up of the above photo showing the crew, who are both wearing informal attire, inclusive of cloth caps.


Preston Corporation Tramways Tram No 15 104
Motorman R Watton at the controls of Tramcar No 15 in Tulketh Road — photo dated 1904. Photo copyright of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston; courtesy of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston (see link).


Preston Corporation Tramways Tram No 15 Motorman R Watton
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and motorman, both in smart new uniforms with military-style caps bearing their grades - Conductor and Driver.


Preston Corporation Tramways cap badges
General pattern script-lettering cap badges of the type used by Preston Corporation Tramways - brass. Author's Collection.


Preston Corporation Tramways Tram No 16 and crew
Inspector, motorman and conductor pose with Tramcar No 16 — photo undated, but probably taken in the mid-to-late Edwardian era. Photo copyright of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston; courtesy of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston (see link).


Preston Corporation Tramways conductor
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor (possibly Employee No 89) in his double-breasted greatcoat.


Preston Corporation Tramways motorman
PCT motorman (employee No 35) — photo undated, but from the moustache, probably Edwardian. Photo courtesy of Graham Willans, via the Preston Digital Archive (see link).


Preston Corporation Tramways motorman
A rather youthful-looking PCT conductor (employee No 119). Whilst his collars clearly display his employee number, the epaulettes would appear to have system initials, 'P C T'. Photo courtesy of Graham Willans, via the Preston Digital Archive (see link).


Preston Corporation Tramways conductor No 141
Preston Corporation Tramways conductor (Employee No 141) in his 'lancer-style' tunic — photo undated, but possibly taken in the 1920s. Author's Collection.


Preston Corporation Tramways motorman Tram No 27
A Preston motorman at the controls of Tramcar No 27 with a service bound for the football ground — photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1930s. Photo by M J O'Connor, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Preston Corporation Tramways motorman Tram No 6
A motorman poses for the cameraman at the controls of Tramcar No 6 at the Ribbleton terminus with a service for Penwortham — photo undated, but probably taken not long before the latter closed in July 1932. Photo courtesy of Preston Digital Archive (see link).


Preston Corporation Tramways motorman Tram No 6
A blow-up of the above photo, revealing the motorman to be Employee No 24.


Preston Corporation Tramways last tram at Fulwood 1935
A conductor and driver amongst the throng at Fulwood celebrating the last Preston tram on the 15th December 1935 . Photo courtesy of Preston Digital Archive (see link).


Senior staff
Preston Corporation Tramways Inspector
A blow up of the photo of Tramcar No 16 (mid-to-late Edwardian) showing an Inspector. He is wearing an unmarked overcoat, but clearly has his grade — Inspector — on a hat band on his military-style cap.


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Although of poor quality, this photograph of Preston Corporation Band does show an inspector (seated behind the drum). He is wearing typical tramway inspector garb. Photo by Frederick Constantine Buckley, courtesy of Preston Digital Archive (see link).


Female staff
Preston Corporation Tramways Great War conductresses
A group of conductresses pose alongside Tramcar No 39 — photo undated, but almost certainly taken during the Great War or shortly afterwards. Photo courtesy of Preston Digital Archive (see link).