Harrow Road and Paddington Tramways

Despite operating in the capital city for around 18 years (1888 to 1904), photographs of the Harrow Rd and Paddington Tramways are extremely rare. Fortunately, a reasonably good shot of a horsecar and its crew has survived (see below), and this indicates that drivers and conductors wore informal but robust attire — trousers, overcoats, jackets, waistcoats, shirts and ties. Although drivers appear to have worn the ubiquitous bowler hat (a favourite of the profession), conductors were seemingly issued with a company kepi-style cap, which bore a large badge, probably of pressed metal. The precise form of this badge is unclear, as none are known to have survived.

Both drivers and conductors wore Public Carriage Office licences when in service, which were issued by the Metropolitan Police (see link). These were large oval enamel badges with a unique number, and were usually suspended from the bearer's jacket, overcoat or cash bag, by a leather strap.

For a history of the Harrow Road and Paddington Tramways, see: 'Metropolitan Electric Tramways, Origins to 1920, Volume 1' by C S Smeeton; Light Rail Transit Association (1984).


Horse tram drivers and conductors
Harrow Road & Paddington tramways tramcar No 17
The crew of Harrow Rd and Paddington Tramways Horsecar No 17 pose for the camera with a service for Kensal Green — photo undated, but probably taken in the 1890s or early 1900s. Although the nearer horse appears slightly emaciated by modern standards, this seems to have been far from unusual for late Victorian tramway horses. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.

A commemorative postcard of what appears to be Horsecar No 8 (bought in 1889), and very probably taken around that period, given the early livery and the complete absence of advertising. All present are wearing workman-like attire. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with particular thanks to David Voice.
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and driver. The conductor is wearing a kepi-style cap, which bears a large cap badge, probably of pressed metal, whilst the driver sports the fashionable headgear of the time, the bowler hat. Both men are wearing prominent PCO licences, though neither appears to be wearing a formally issued jacket or overcoat; the conductor's licence is suspended from his cash-bag strap.