Musselburgh and District Tramways

Motormen and conductors were issued with double-breasted 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of buttons (narrowing from top to bottom), and upright collars; the latter carried an employee number on the left-hand side (in individual metal numerals), and systems initials — 'M E T' (standing for Musselburgh Electric Tramways) — on the right-hand side (in individual metal initials). Caps were in a military style with a tensioned crown (top) and carried a standard, 'off the shelf' script-lettering grade badge, either Motorman or Conductor, seemingly worn on a coloured hat band. The badges and buttons were probably brass. Later on in the system's life — probably after the Great War - conductors were issued with single-breasted jackets with five buttons, two breast pockets, two waist pockets, and upright collars; the latter probably carried the same insignia as previously.

Inspectors wore single-breasted jackets with hidden buttons — or a hook and eye affair — a slit breast pocket and upright collars; the latter carried the designation Inspector in embroidered script lettering. The jackets were edged in a finer material than the main body, with a chevron (in the same material) on the cuff of each sleeve. Caps were in the same style as those issued to tramcar staff, but carrying the designation Inspector in embroidered script lettering, probably on a hat band. The Chief Inspector wore a virtually identical uniform, but with Chief Inspector replacing the Inspector badges.

Musselburgh also employed the services of a Traffic Superintendent. This gentleman was issued with a double-breasted jacket with plain buttons and lapels; the upper part of the latter (collars) carried the full grade designation — Traffic Superintendent — in embroidered script lettering. His cap was in the same military style as worn by ordinary tramwaymen, possibly slightly taller, and with the grade Traffic Superintendent.

In common with the vast majority of UK Tramway systems, women were employed during the Great War to replace men lost to the armed services, both as conductresses and motorwomen, the first batch being appointed in 1915. A hand-coloured studio portrait (see below) shows that motorwomen, and probably conductresses too, were issued with single-breasted jackets with two breast pockets, high fold-over collars and epaulettes; both the breast pockets and the epaulettes had button closures, whilst the collars were plain. Although the photo has been hand coloured, and may therefore have been subjected to a little artistic embellishment, it does seem to suggest that the edge of the jackets were piped in red, with a similar coloured strip adorning the epaulettes. Caps were baggy with a stiff glossy peak, and bore script-lettering grade badges, either Motorman or Conductor.

My grateful thanks go to Alan Brotchie for help with photographs and background information.

For a history of Musselburgh's tramways, see: 'Edinburgh's Transport - Volume 1, The Early Years' by D L G Hunter; The Mercat Press (1992).


Motormen and conductors
Musselburgh and District Tramways staff photo circa 1912
Staff photo, probably taken around 1912. Note the second tramcar from the right with 'Miners Only' in the indicator box, a reminder of two long-gone pits served by the tramway.

Musselburgh and District Tramways motorman and conductor circa 1912
A blow-up of the above photo showing a motorman and a conductor, both in 'lancer-style' tunics. The collars clearly bear 'M E T' initials on the right-hand side and an employee number on the left-hand side. Caps badges are standard, 'off the shelf' script-lettering grade badges.

Musselburgh and District Tramways cap badges
General pattern script-lettering cap badges — Motorman and Conductor — of the type used by Musselburgh and District Tramways, though it is currently unknown whether they used brass or nickel.

Musselburgh and District Tramways tram No 5 and crew
Conductor and motorman pose for the cameraman with Tramcar No 5 on a Joppa-Levenhall service — photo undated, but probably taken between 1910 and 1915. Note the creels on the platform, almost certainly belonging to fishwives from Fisherrow, who usually had to travel on the rear platform due to objections from other passengers! Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.

Musselburgh and District Tramways tram No 5 and crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman and conductor, the former in a double-breasted greatcoat and the latter in a double-breasted 'lancer-style' tunic.

Musselburgh and District Tramways tram No 8 and crew
Inspector, motorman and conductor with Tramcar No 8. The car is in two shades of green livery with the title initials on the waist panel, dating the photo to after 24 June 1923 when this livery was first applied to Musselburgh tramcars operating into Edinburgh Waterloo Place.

Musselburgh and District Tramways tram No 8, conductor tram driver and inspector
A blow-up of the above photo, showing the inspector, motorman and conductor. The latter is wearing a single-breasted jacket rather than the 'lancer-style' tunics seen in earlier photos.

Senior staff
Musselburgh and District Tramways inspectors
Two inspectors and a chief inspector (right), taken from the staff photo above. All are wearing typical 'tramway inspector' jackets with their grades embroidered on both upright collars and their caps, and chevron embellishments on their sleeves.

Musselburgh and District Tramways Chief Inspector and Traffic Superintendent
Chief Inspector and Traffic Superintendent. Whilst the former is wearing a uniform seemingly identical to those worn by inspectors (with the exception of the grade badges), the traffic superintendent is wearing a smart double-breasted jacket with lapels and unmarked buttons; his full grade is carried — in embroidered script lettering — on both of the upper lapels, as well as his cap.

Female staff
Musselburgh and Distirct Trawmays Great War tram lady driver Annie Moffat
Musselburgh and District Tramways Great War motorwoman, Annie McGeechan — photo taken in 1917. Annie was born on 17th January 1898, married husband George Moffatt in 1920, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1927. Although the photo has been hand coloured, and may therefore have been subjected to a degree of artistic licence, the form of the buttons strongly suggests that they were plain with a scalloped rim (see link). Photo kindly provided by her grandson, Wayne Black.