Perth and District Tramways

The Perth and District Tramways Company was essentially a replacement of an existing and profitable bus service operated by the Scone and Perth Omnibus Company Limited. The P&DTCo was formed in 1892, and formally took over the assets of the bus company — including many of its employees — on the 8th of May 1894. The new 3ft 6ins gauge tramway was initially intended to be electric, but in the end was worked by horses; it opened on the 17th September 1895, which by any standards, was very late in the day to be building a new horse tramway.

The company regularly returned respectable dividends to its shareholders, and even started to voice its thoughts on conversion to electric traction, though this appears merely to have spurred Perth Corporation on to develop its own plans. The corporation formally acquired the company — as a prelude to rebuilding it for electric traction — on the 7th October 1903, taking over operation 5 days later on the 12th October.

Documentary evidence indicates that the P&DTCo issued its tramcar staff with uniforms from May 1896; these were apparently claret with scarlet facings. Unfortunately, early photographs with tramcar crews are rare, and those that have survived show the men (or rather boys) wearing heavy-duty greatcoats, which effectively obscure whatever uniform jackets were worn underneath. The greatcoats bore plain, non-metallic buttons, without insignia of any kind, so they may well have been self-purchased rather than company issues, though this is mere speculation. Company-issued kepi-style caps were certainly provided, and these bore individual 'P & D T Co' initials, which would probably have been brass.

At some point, probably in the early 1900s, uniforms appear to have been dispensed with, as photographs clearly show company employees wearing informal attire (without kepis), along with the fashionable headgear of the day, e.g., the straw boater or the flat cap.

Further reading
For a full history of the Perth and District Tramways Company, see: 'Perth's Trams and Early Buses' by Alan W Brotchie; Stenlake Publishing Limited (2019).


Horse tram drivers and conductors
Perth and District Tramways Horse Tram No 3 Scone
A very youthful conductor (Tom Inglis) and his barely older driver (John Bruce) pose with Horsecar No 3 at the Scone terminus outside the depot — photo undated, but probably taken circa 1896.

Perth and District Tramways horse tram driver John Bruce
A blow-up of the above photograph, showing Driver John Bruce, who eventually rose to become an inspector with Perth Corporation Tramways (see link). The only officially issued clothing on view is the kepi-style cap, which bears individual metal initials: 'P&DTCo', and possibly the greatcoat, though this may well have been self-purchased.

Perth and District Tramways horse tram conductor Tom Inglis
Another blow-up of the above photo, this time showing the Tom Inglis. He bears an identical cap to his driver, and possibly the same style of greatcoat, again devoid of markings.

Perth and District Tramways horse tram at South Street Port 1903
Unfortunately blurred, but a shot which nevertheless clearly shows that staff working the company horse trams in their latter days wore informal attire — taken at South Street Port around 1903, the last year of company operation.