London Street Tramways Company

The London Street Tramways Company operated horse trams from 1871 through to 1897. In common with the vast majority of horse tramways in the UK, drivers were not issued with uniforms, simply wearing informal but robust attire — trousers, jackets, waistcoats, shirts and ties, along with heavy overcoats for more inclement weather. Headgear appears to have largely followed the fashion of the day, initially the ubiquitous bowler hat, but in later years, the flat cap. No insignia of any kind appears to have been carried on either the jackets or the hats.

Photographs of conductors are unfortunately very rare (non-existent in fact), so it is currently not possible to say whether or not they were issued with uniforms. However, a photo taken outside the LSTCo's offices, does show an individual wearing a frock-style coat and a kepi cap with a small cap badge; it seems likely that this individual is a senior staff member (for example a Chief Inspector), which suggests that conductors may also have had uniforms. Confirmation must however await the discovery of photographic evidence.

When in service, drivers and conductors would have been required to wear an enamel Public Carriage Office licence, which was issued by the Metropolitan Police (see link), and was usually hung from a jacket button, or, in the case of conductors, from the cash-bag strap.

For a history of the London Street Tramways Company, see: 'London County Council Tramways Volume 2, North London' by E R Oakley; The London Tramways History Group (1991).


Horse tram drivers and conductors
London Street Tramways Horse tram No 3
Horsecar No 32 in service on the Archway Tavern to Euston Road route — photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1880s or early 1890s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

London Street Tramways Horsecar No 32
An enlargement of the above photograph showing the smartly dressed driver, John Durrant Crisp, who is wearing a typical bowler hat of the period with upturned brim. John Durrant Crisp was born in Friston, East Suffolk in 1865, and moved to London (Upper Holloway) in the late 1880s, where he became a horse-tram driver. He is thought to have remained in the transport industry until his retirement in 1930, whereupon he moved back to the village of his birth, dying there in 1958. With thanks to Mike Crisp (John's great grandson) for the background information.

London Street Tramways Horse Tram
An unidentified horsecar on the Hampstead to Euston service — photo undated, but probably taken in the second half of the 1890s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

London Street Tramways Horse Tram
A blow-up of the above photo showing the flat-capped driver. The round object on his left breast is more than likely a PCO licence.

London Street Tramways Staff
Photo taken outside the London Street Tramways Company's offices — photo undated. The figure on the left is probably a senior member of staff such as a Chief Inspector; he is wearing a kepi-style cap with a small badge. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice