Staffordshire Potteries Street Railway

Despite its early date (1862), and provincial location, a reasonably good photograph of a Staffordshire Potteries Street Railway horse tram and crew has survived. This photo reveals that conductors wore single-breasted jackets with metal buttons and tall kepi-style caps; the latter possibly carrying a large metal badge. The situation with drivers is less clear, though the photo below seems to suggest that an overcoat or coachman's coat was worn, along with a tall kepi-style cap.

The line was promoted by American entrepreneur George Francis Train, the man behind the first true street tramway in the British Isles (Birkenhead Street Railway), as well as three separate lines in London (Marble Arch Street Railway; Surrey Side Street Railway; Westminster Street Railway) and one in Darlington (Darlington Street Railway). Staff working all these lines are known to have worn uniforms (likened by contemporary commentators to those worn by the Rifle Brigade), so the photograph below is entirely consistent with Train's approach to staff uniforms on the other systems he was involved in.

For a detailed history of early street railways, including the Staffordshire Potteries, see: 'Pioneers of the Street Railway in the USA, Street Tramways in the UK…and elsewhere' by John R Stevens and Alan W Brotchie; Stenlake Publishing Ltd (2014).


Horse tram drivers and conductors
Staffordshire Potteries Street Railway tram 'Queen'
The crew of the tramcar 'Queen' pose for the camera along with a host of individuals in work attire, suggesting that they may be stable/workshop staff. The photo is undated, but given the pristine condition of the tram, very probably taken in the 1860s. It is unclear what the '15' denotes, possibly a licence, as the SPSR only ever had a maximum of three vehicles.

Staffordshire Potteries Street Railway conductor
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor, who is clearly wearing a military-style uniform with a tall kepi-style cap.