Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways

Uniforms were late arriving, so for the opening of the system in 1903, and for a short time afterwards, staff simply wore informal attire. The new uniforms were perhaps worth the wait, as photographs suggest that they were of high quality, with the sleeves of conductors' jackets even being embellished with braid, something usually reserved for inspectors on other systems, and even then far from ubiquitously so. The uniforms comprised single-breasted jackets with five unmarked buttons (see link), two breast pockets (with button closures) and upright collars; the latter carried an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side and individual system initials — 'K C T' — on the right-hand side. It is currently unclear whether the badges were brass or nickel. Caps were military in style with a tensioned crown (top) and carried a standard, off-the-shelf, script-lettering grade badge, either Motorman or Conductor. The grade badges remained in use until the end of the system in 1931, though they were supplemented with a small, shield-shaped cap badge — probably a municipal device — shortly after the Great War; this was worn above the script-lettering grade badges.

Uniforms remained unchanged — stylistically — until the mid 1920s. After this, conductors continued to be issued with single-breasted jackets, but of a more modern cut with lapels and epaulettes (with button closures); motormen on the other hand were issued with double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons and lapels. Neither style of jacket carried badges of any description.

Tramcar crews were also issued with long, double-breasted greatcoats with high, fold-over collars — once again, completely devoid of insignia.

In the early 1920s, inspectors were certainly wearing single-breasted jackets with black buttons (probably plain) and lapels that bore the grade — Inspector — in embroidered script lettering; it is likely that this style of jacket was worn from the outset, though confirmation must await the discovery of better photographic evidence from earlier eras. Caps were military in style with a tensioned crown and a hat band of a lighter colour (very like the nearby Wemyss system — see link), upon which the grade — Inspector — was embroidered in script lettering. The style of jacket was changed in the mid 1920s to a double-breasted design virtually identical to those issued to motormen, similarly without insignia. Inspectors were also issued with single-breasted overcoats which carried Inspector on both lapels in embroidered script lettering.

As with many tramway systems, Kirkcaldy employed women during the Great War to cover for tramwaymen lost to the armed forces, initially as conductresses, but subsequently as motorwomen, as well as an inspectress (a Miss Brown). Female staff were issued with long double-breasted coats with two rows of five plain black buttons, two waist and two breast pockets, high fold-over collars and epaulettes; the entire coat was devoid of insignia. A photo has survived of a conductress without the long coat, revealing the jacket worn underneath to have been single-breasted with two waist pockets, lapels and epaulettes, the entire ensemble once again devoid of insignia. Caps were initially in a baggy cloth style but these were later replaced by issues identical to those worn by the men. Both caps carried standard, off-the-shelf, script-lettering grade badges. The lady inspector wore a uniform identical to the female tramcar crew, but with an embroidered Inspector badge on the cap rather than the standard metal issues.

For a detailed account of the tramway, see 'The Tramways of Kirkcaldy' by Alan W Brotchie (N B Traction; 1978).


Motormen and conductors
Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways motorman and conductor
An excellent studio portrait of Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways motorman J Gillies (Employee No 5) and his conductor, A Balfour (Employee No 2). Photo undated, but given the fact that this is a studio portrait, the employee numbers are low, and the uniforms look to be pristine, it seems highly likely that it was taken around the time of opening (1903). Note the braiding above Conductor Balfour's cuff, an elaborate adornment normally reserved for inspectors on other systems.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways conductor A Balfour
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the conductor's uniform, including the plain, scalloped rim buttons (see link).

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways cap badges
General pattern script-lettering cap badges — Motorman and Conductor — of the type used by Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways. It is currently unknown whether Kirkcaldy used brass or nickel badges.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways crew at Dysart in 1911
The crew of Tramcar No 6 pose at the Dysart terminus with Inspector Kidd, not long after opening of this section (1911).

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways motorman 1911
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman. The greatcoat is completely devoid of insignia, including the buttons, which appear to be black horn.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways Tram N0 19 and crew at Links St terminus
The crew of Tramcar No 19 at Links St terminus — photo undated, but probably taken in the years before the Great War.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways motorman and conductress
Motorman and conductress — photo undated, but probably taken during the Great War or shortly afterwards.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways motorman
A blow-up of the above photo showing the shield-shaped cap badge introduced around the end of the Great War — this was presumably some kind of municipal device.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways motorman No 8
Another shot showing the shield-shaped badge, this time of a motorman (Employee No 8) aboard the front platform steps of Tramcar No 24. Photo undated, but given the style of uniform and the medal ribbon, probably taken shortly after the Great War or in the early 1920s.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways inspector and conductor
Inspector and conductor with an unidentified tram at the Dysart terminus looking east — photo undated, but probably taken in the mid 1920s. Note the new style of uniforms with lapels.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways conductor 1920s
A blow up of the above photo showing details of the conductor's uniform, including the shield-shaped cap badge. Note the underlined grade badge, a fairly unusual pattern for a British tramway.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways Tram No 22 and crew
The crew of Tramcar No 22 pose for the cameraman near the Gallowtown terminus — photo undated, but probably taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways motorman
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman, who is clearly wearing a small badge above his Motorman grade badge.

Senior staff
Kirkcaldy sCorporation Tramways Inspecotr Kidd 1911
A blow-up of the Dysart photograph above showing Inspector Kidd — circa 1911. Although blurred, it does reveal the light-coloured hat band and the embroidered Inspector badges on the collars.

KirkcaldyCorporation Tramways staff photo 1920s
A staff photo which, judging by the medal ribbons and the trilbies, was almost certainly taken in the early 1920s. The two inspectors — seated either side of the dapper gentleman on the front row, are wearing single-breasted jackets with the usual Inspector designation embroidered on the collars.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways Inspector
A blow-up of one of the earlier photos showing a 1920s inspector in double-breasted jacket with lapels. With thanks to Alan Brotchie.

Female staff
Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways Great War conductresses
A studio portrait of eight Kirkcaldy Great War conductresses and a lady inspector.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways Great War conductress
A blow-up of the above portrait showing one of the conductresses. Save for the cap, the uniform is completely devoid of insignia. The cap carries a standard script-lettering cap badge, above which is almost certainly a regimental sweetheart badge, a common means of showing support for a loved one away with the armed services.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways Great War lady inspector Miss Brown
Another blow-up of the staff photo above showing the lady inspector, almost certainly a Miss Brown. The style of coat is identical to that worn by the conductresses, as is the baggy cap, though this clearly carries an embroidered 'Inspector' badge.

Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramways conductress
A blow-up of the earlier crew shot showing a conductress in jacket rather than long overcoat. The cap badge is almost certainly a regimental sweetheart badge.