Pimlico, Peckham and Greenwich Street Tramways Company

At this distance, it is unfortunately somewhat unclear as to whether the Pimlico, Peckham and Greenwich Street Tramway ever operated as an independent concern. What is clear however, is that plans had evidently long been laid to work the concern, along with the Metropolitan Street Tramways Company, as a single entity under the auspices of a new company — the London Tramways Company - which was duly formed the day after the PP&GStT opened (13th December 1870). Although the LTCo did not formally take the other two companies over until around 1874, it seems highly probable that both were operated as a single concern long before then, and possibly from the outset.

A single photograph has survived that can be reliably dated to before the formal advent of the LTCo, and indeed to the opening day of the tramway. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to know with any degree of certainty, whether any of those depicted are actually tramwaymen, other than perhaps the man holding the reins of the car — presumably the driver — who appears to be wearing informal attire with a top hat, i.e., without a uniform.

On the balance of probability, and knowing the early policy of the London Tramways Company (see link), it seems likely that drivers and conductors wore smart, but informal attire.

For a history of the company, see 'London County Council Tramways Vol 1: South London' by E R Oakley; London Tramways History Group (1989).


Horse tram drivers and conductors
Pimlico, Peckham and Greenwich tramways opening day - 13th December 1870
A rare photograph of a very early tramway opening day cavalcade — the Deptford and Greenwich line of the Pimlico, Peckham and Greenwich Street Tramways - on the 4th March 1871. Although no uniformed employees are in evidence, it is of course possible that they were present, but hidden by the large crowd of enthusiastic dignitaries. However, what is clear, is that the individual holding the reins of the first horsecar is not wearing a uniform, but simply a smart jacket and a top hat. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

Pimlico, Peckham and Greenwich tramways tram
Whilst this lithograph appears to depict a car of the Pimlico, Peckham, and Greenwich Street Tramways Company, there are some grounds to suspect that all is not what it seems. A degree of artistic licence has been used, for example, to make this 'Stephenson-like' product look much larger and sleeker than they actually were in reality. The lithograph is thought to have been produced around 1875, which would actually mean that it depicts a vehicle of the London Tramways Company, not the PP&GStTCo, who they formally took over around 1874. The two uniformed figures — in their US Cavalry-like attire — are therefore probably not representative of 'real life' PPandGTCo drivers and conductors, nor are the two thoroughbreds representative of tramway horses, both of them looking like they would have been more at home at Ascot. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.