Stockport and Hazel Grove Carriage and Tramway Company Limited

History
The Stockport and Hazel Grove Carriage and Tramway Company commenced services on its horse-drawn, standard-gauge tramway on the 4th April 1890. This small system totalled 3.45 miles, comprising a main line running from St Peter's Square, Stockport, southeastwards along Wellington Rd South to the Bulls Head at Torkington Rd in Hazel Grove, with a short branch line running roughly westwards from Wellington Rd South along Castle St to Edgeley. The tracks of the S&HGC&TCo were connected to those of the horse-drawn Manchester Carriage and Tramways Company in St Petersgate, Stockport, but no through running ever took place.

The company appears to have been a prosperous one, but by 1899, when Stockport Corporation acquired powers to construct and operate its own overhead electric tramway, its days were clearly numbered. The latter opened its first electric line on the 26th August 1901, and had effectively completed its planned network — with the exception of the lines to Hazel Grove and Edgeley — by early 1903. The company was however in a strong position, as the local authorities through which its lines ran, could not compulsorily purchase the undertaking until 1910. The corporation had first approached the tramway around 1900, but had baulked at the price quoted, so left it until August 1903 before making another. This time the company adopted a much more realistic position with respect to its valuation, and after a series of offers and counter offers, a price was finally agreed.

The corporation took possession of the tramway on the 24th January 1905, commencing reconstruction on the 13th April. The horse tramway continued to run during this phase — presumably operated by the corporation (this is not clear) — with the last horse tram running on the 4th July 1905. This was in fact the last horse tram of all to run in the modern Greater Manchester area.

Uniforms
A surprising number of photos exist showing staff of the S&HGC&TCo over its modest 15-year existence. These clearly show that drivers and conductors wore a variety of informal attire, ranging from the relatively smart (jacket with tie or overcoat and bowler hat) to the more mundane and workmanlike (heavy jackets and flat caps). The use of informal attire was common practice amongst horse tramway operators, many of them never seeing fit to issue uniforms or insignia of any kind.

Drivers and conductors did however wear a large round licence suspended on a leather strap, usually from a jacket button or a cash-bag strap. This was more than likely issued by Stockport Borough/Corporation, though an example has yet to come to light.

Photos which unequivocally date from the period when the corporation operated the trams — 24th January to the 4th July 1905 — are yet to come to light, so it is not possible to say with certainty what attire the crews would have worn. However, it seems reasonably likely that they continued to wear informal attire.

Given that there is no documentary of photographic evidence of inspectors, it may well be that the S&HGC&TCoLtd never employed them.

I am indebted to Jayne Shrimpton for her expertise in dating the photos below based upon clothing and headwear styles.

Further reading
For a short history of this system, see: 'Stockport Corporation Tramways' by Maurice Marshall; Manchester Transport Museum Society (1975).

Images

Horse tram drivers and conductors
Stockport and Hazel Grove Carriage and Tramway Co horse tram
Conductor and driver pose with Horsecar No 14 — location and date unknown, but probably taken in either the mid-to-late 1890s or the early 1900s based on the clothing. Both men are wearing what appear to be round licences. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Stockport and Hazel Grove Carriage and Tramway Co driver and conductor
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and driver, both of whom are wearing informal attire, along with round licences.


Stockport and Hazel Grove Carriage and Tramway Co No 4
A driver and conductor pose alongside Horsecar No 4 at the Bulls Head terminus in Hazel Grove — photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1890s or early 1900s based on the headwear. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Stockport and Hazel Grove Carriage and Tramways Co Ltd driver and conductor
A blow-up of the above photo showing the bowler-hatted driver and flat-capped conductor. The latter appears to be wearing a large licence on a leather strap, possibly suspended from a button on his coat. The oil lamp was a distinctive feature of Manchester-area horse cars in the latter years of operation, possibly introduced on night-time services as the result of legislation (thanks to Ted Ray for his thoughts on these lamps).


Stockport and Hazel Grove Carriage and Tramways Co Ltd driver and conductor
A virtually identical scene to that shown previously (at the Bulls Head terminus), but this time with Horsecar H-101 — photo undated, but probably taken between 1903 and 1905. The photo can be reasonably accurately dated from the style of clothes, as well as from the tramcar itself. The latter is a former vehicle of the Manchester Carriage and Tramways Co Ltd (H stands for Hulme Depot); it was almost certainly purchased from the 'MC&TCoLtd' some time between 1901 and 1903 (the last 'MC&TCoLtd' horsecar service), and is still in the livery of the 'MC&TCoLtd'. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Stockport and Hazel Grove Carriage and Tramway Company tram driver and conductor
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver and conductor, both in informal attire with flat caps, Although the conductor's licence appears to be oval, this is almost certainly due to the angle it is being viewed from (slightly oblique).


Stockport and Hazel Grove Carriage and Tramway Company tram driver and conductor
A driver, conductor and passengers with Horsecar H-70 - probably in Edgeley some time between 1903 and 1905. Once again, the photo can be reasonably accurately dated from the style of clothes, as well as from the horsecar itself, again a former vehicle of the Manchester Carriage and Tramways Co Ltd. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Stockport and Hazel Grove Carriage and Tramway Co Ltd
A blow-up of the previous photo showing the driver and conductor, neither of whom appear to be wearing a licence.


Stockport and Hazel Grove Carriage and Tramway Co Ltd
Another view of an ex-'MC&TCoLtd' horsecar at the Bulls Head terminus, this time H-94. Photo undated, but probably taken between 1903 and 1905. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Stockport and Hazel Grove Carriage and Tramway Co
A blow up of the above photo showing the driver and conductor, neither of whom are wearing a licence.