Hockey 50 Years Ago

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Genna image British Museum
 
© The Trustees of the British Museum



How are Orthodox Christianity and sport linked within Ethiopian culture?

Created in the late 1940s by an Ethiopian priest, this watercolour painting from the British Museum’s collection depicts two teams of men playing the native stick-and-ball game Genna.

Traditionally played at Christmas, Genna uses curved wooden sticks to strike a wooden ball. According to Ethiopian legend, it was first played by shepherds in celebration of the birth of Jesus. Thereafter, this sport became associated with the Christmas season and religion.

The Christian connection is most obvious from the four angels the priest painted at the top of the painting looking down onto the men playing Genna. Originally part of a book of images, paintings like this one were later used as models for mural paintings.

There is a military connection too: it is painted on Italian military paper – likely a book of military papers – possibly a remnant of Italy’s occupation of East Africa during World War 2.

While this piece may not capture hockey in the modern sense of the game we know of today, its existence shows how religion and sport came together within Addis Ababa culture.

As we approach the quarterfinals (QF) of the Tokyo 2020 hockey tournament, we reflect on a momentous QF back in 1960: Kenya vs Great Britain (GB) at the Rome Olympic Games.

On 5 September 1960, the QF match in Rome became the longest match in the Olympic history (until this record was broken at Mexico 1968 Olympic Games). The match ended as a 1-1 draw at full time. Eight periods of extra time were played before Chris Saunders-Griffiths scored his second goal of the match for Great Britain in the 127th minute to put his team into the semi-finals.

The two nations met again in the group stage of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964. Six of Kenya’s team had played in the match in 1960: Avtar Sohal, Anthony Vaz, Surjeet Panesar, Silu Fernandes, Egbert Fernandes and Alu Mendonca. Harry Cahill, John Neill and Howard Davis of Great Britain had also played in the famous 1960 QF encounter.

Kenya extracted revenge for their 1960 loss winning 1-0 from a penalty corner. The goal was scored by their captain, Avtar Singh Sohal, in the 8th minute in a closely fought game.

The record set by the 1960 QF match was surpassed on 25 October 1968 by the Netherlands vs Spain 5th/6th place play-off in Mexico. Kirk Thole of Netherlands scored the only goal of the match in the 145th minute – 2 hours and 25mins of hockey!

Unsurprisingly, extra time rules were changed after the Mexico Olympic Games.

 

Italian Olympic Committee presentation from Rome 1960
 

A presentation made by the Italian Olympic Committee for the Rome 1960 Olympic Games.

Drawing on the founding myth of the city of Rome, the sculpture depicts Romulus and Remus
suckling on the teats of the female wolf who found and raised the abandoned twins.

An archival document recording an All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA) tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1914, leads The Hockey Museum (THM) Archivist on a journey of discovery to trace a very special match ball with an intriguing social history.

 

Canterbury vs England match ball
 
Canterbury vs England match ball stand
 

The match ball from Canterbury vs England, 12 September 1914.
Images courtesy of the Kaiapoi District Historical Museum.

 

As an archaeologist sifts through layers of dirt to find the treasures of history, so does the archivist. As THM’s Archivist, I (Marcus Wardle) sift through papers to unearth the hidden gems of stories and nuggets of hockey history.

Some weeks ago, I was working my way through a series of archival papers when one surfaced that immediately caught my eye: a paper on the England women’s tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1914 entitled, “See These Brilliant Exponents of the game” The England Women’s Hockey Team Tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1914.

This English tour has long been of interest because it began international hockey for Australia and New Zealand.

At this time the English side did not necessary comprise the nation’s best players, rather, it consisted of those women who could afford to travel half-way around the world and had the leisure time to do so. This tour also took place right at the beginning of the First World War.

It is an interesting tour for its social aspect. Whilst English hockey has always been a reasonably gender-neutral sport, with the men’s and women’s associations founded within a few years of each other, this is an England women’s tour setting out ahead of their male counterparts. In 1913, the Hockey Association of England (HA – men) had declined an invitation to send a touring team because they were worried that the guarantee of expenses for the tour would offend the sensibilities of the amateur players. Another perspective could be that the HA did not want to encourage the idea of professionalisation. Hockey was, and was intended to remain, an amateur game. The AEWHA however – who would have shared the same concerns around ‘amateurism’ – accepted and became the first women to tour internationally.

There is a strong social, gender equality element to this tour. As documented in the archival paper I came across, in 1914 the members of the Australian and New Zealand Ladies’ Hockey Associations were “educated and economically independent, able to participate in political life”. In New Zealand, women had been granted the vote in 1893 with Australia following suit in 1902. By comparison, similar laws in the UK were not passed until 1918, four years after this tour. As the English women’s hockey team toured a society more progressive than their own, this would have had an impact. Arguably, sport gave women a platform to experience and push the progressive initiatives of the day.

However, as progressive as they may have been in Australasia, this did not extend to the wearing of more suitable playing gear. Long skirts and long-sleeved shirts were still the chosen playing kit for women during this period.

The Hockey Museum holds a skirt from one of the England players from this 1914 tour.

 

Skirt from Englands tour to Australia and New Zealand 1914
 
An original ankle-length skirt from England's 1914 tour to Australia and New Zealand.
The blouse and tie are replicas.

 

During the tour, several of the hockey matches were played after rugby fixtures, which equated the prestige of the games with men’s sports. The reporting of the matches followed in a manner that was on a par with male sports reporting. In some cases, the matches were almost recorded blow-by-blow with a separate column for analysis of the match. Such was the reporting of the matches and the fervour that surrounded the national team in New Zealand that matches were reported as the English Women’s Hockey Team versus the All Blacks. The New Zealand rugby team had earned the moniker ‘The All Blacks’ and association of hockey with that name implied a certain pride and status.

Due to the young age of the New Zealand Ladies’ Hockey Association (founded in 1908), any win against the longer-established AEWHA (founded in 1895) was momentous. On 12 September 1914, Canterbury defeated England 3-2. Contemporary reports detail how two players were carried from the pitch to the pavilion on the backs of the crowd. Amongst this melee, the ball was rescued and presented to the Kaiapoi District Historical Museum where it still resides today. 

The paper about this tour is significant because it has allowed us to trace a special and unique sporting heritage object.

While the match ball itself is a minor footnote in the history of sport in New Zealand and of women’s international hockey, that it was kept and is displayed to chronicle a match where a New Zealand team defeated an English team – the strongest hockey nation of the time – is a significant statement of national sporting pride. It is this object’s relationship to the social history from its period that is most compelling. It is a trans-continental story of sporting gender equality. A story that reveals significant levels of public interest in sport in a socially progressive New Zealand, and which implies a level of prestige for women’s hockey that could have developed further to rival men’s sport.

Regrettably, the progress promised by this tour was immediately disrupted by the outbreak of the First World War.

 

Marcus Wardle
29.07.2021

1908 England Olympic Hockey Team Finalists 300dpi
 
The England hockey team from the 1908 Olympic Final. Louis Baillon is seated furthest left.

 

Louis Charles Baillon is the only Falkland islander to have won an Olympic gold medal. He achieved this feat as a member of the England hockey team that won gold at the 1908 London Olympic Games.

Although born in the Falklands at Fox Bay in 1881 it is unlikely that Louis learned his hockey there. He was clearly a very natural sportsman competing extensively when he came to England in his youth. His father emigrated to the Falkland Islands from the Nottingham area around 1876 to become a sheep farmer. When Louis ‘returned’ to England he chose to live in Northampton, marrying there in 1910. He played hockey for Northampton as a fullback and went on to play for England nine times in that position, including the gold medal match at the White City stadium in the 1908 Olympic Final.

Louis's other sporting activities included football for Wandsworth AFC and he was still in the Northants County Lawn Tennis team at the age of 50 – clearly a very talented all-round sportsman. He also enjoyed some business success becoming a Director of Phipps Brewery in Northampton – a fine example of the age-old link between alcohol and hockey! He continued to live in Northants dying there in 1965 at the age 84.

It is difficult to imagine modern-day Olympic champions being able to lead such a diverse sporting life as well as incorporating a business career; especially when today’s elite performance squads demand such high dedication, both in time and professionalism.

More information on the extended Baillon family can be found here.

 

Louis Baillon hockey memorabilia
 

Louis Charles Baillon's sporting memorabilia resides in the Falkland Islands Museum in Stanley.

Image credit: the Friends of the Falkland Islands Museum.

After the 2014 feature film The Imitation Game and other publicity most people are now aware of the amazing contribution made by Alan Turing and the remarkable team at Bletchley Park during World War 2. It is often said that their efforts helped the Allies to win the war and it most certainly shortened hostilities by a couple of years.

Very sadly, Alan Turing’s ground-breaking computer science work in the early 1940s was not properly appreciated in his lifetime, partly because of the Official Secrets Act but mainly because of the social prejudices of that period – Turing was a gay man. That he was not properly recognised in his own lifetime is a mortal sin but at least in these more enlightened times he is receiving the appreciation and awards for his contribution to the world we now enjoy.

Part of this recognition has come with Alan Turing’s appearance on the new £50 polymer bank note. With only four bank note denominations in circulation in England this is a very rare and welcome honour. Interestingly, in issuing these new notes the Bank of England have stated that demand has never been higher for notes and that the £50 note represents 13% of the notes in circulation.

 Alan Turing 50

 

Turing The Hockey Player

Our research has revealed he played hockey at Sherborne School as a boy. Courtesy of Sherborne School Archives, we have a copy of a drawing by his mother, Ethel Sara Turing, of Alan ‘participating’ in a school hockey match. Turing is recorded by The Hockey Museum as a hockey player and in due course he will feature in Hockey’s Military Stories, one of our on-going research projects.

One final twist in the tale relevant to The Hockey Museum in Woking: following his death in 1954 Alan Turing was cremated at Woking Crematorium.

 

Hockey or Watching the daisies Grow by Mrs Ethel Sara Turing 1923 courtesy of Sherborne School Archives LOW RES
 

Hockey or Watching the daisies Grow by Mrs Ethel Sara Turing, 1923.

Image courtesy of Sherborne School Archives.

 

Banking On Your Support

Alan Turing drawing detailWith the launch of the Alan Turing £50 note, we are asking you to please consider donating a similar sum to The Hockey Museum. Your donation will help us to research new stories, continue to grow – like young Alan and his distracting daisies – and become better-known in the hockey world ... less of an Enigma if you will!

If you can't give £50 we will gratefully receive donations of any size.

Please click here to visit our online donation page make a one-off donation by card or PayPal.

Very many thanks from The Hockey Museum team.

 

Christs Hospital WW1 Fundraiser 04 BW

 

These photographs tell the story of a convivial charity match involving Christ's Hospital school (CH) during World War One (WW1). They were unearthed by staff at Christ’s Hospital Museum and shared with The Hockey Museum.

 

Christs Hospital WW1 Fundraiser 01 BW     Christs Hospital WW1 Fundraiser 02 BW
     
Photographs of the hockey match fundraiser, 1917. Reproduced with permission of Christ’s Hospital Museum.

 

CH is an independent charity school with a core aim to offer children from humble backgrounds the chance of a better education. It enjoys a strong hockey-playing history and these photographs are a particularly fun example, albeit with a sincere background that might easily be overlooked.

They are from a 1917 charity hockey match between Christ's Hospital Hertford girls and Regent Street Polytechnic in aid of The Star and Garter Home for Disabled Sailors and Soldiers in Richmond, Greater London. The match took place at Paddington Recreation Ground.

 

Star and Garter Hotel over Thames postcard 1890s
 
Postcard, 1890s. The Star and Garter had previously been a renowned hotel (pictured above)
until it closed in 1906. It was used as a military hospital during WW1.

 

Despite the comic attire you’ll notice that oversized footwear was quite sensibly snubbed, otherwise the penalty corner count would have been far higher!

For more information on the history and various guises of The Star and Garter, click here.

I was delighted and honoured to be invited as one of the Guests of Honour at a virtual conference for Kenyan hockey Olympians on Sunday 30 May 2021. The invitation was extended by Hilary Fernandes, Kenya’s triple Olympian, and Raphael Fernandes, a Kenyan Los Angeles 1984 Olympian.

Raphael co-ordinated the event bringing together players from different parts of the world – no small feat with the time zones. For those in Calgary it was a 07:00 start; in Toronto and USA it was 09:00; United Kingdom 14:00; Kenya 16:00; Pakistan 18:00pm and a very late 23:00 start for those attendees in Australia!

The conference was attended by around 20 Olympians and ran for 3.5 hours.

Kenyan Olympians 2
 

Slide from Dil Bahra's presentation showing the location of Kenya's Olympic hockey exploits since 1956.

 

Presenting on Kenya’s Olympic history, I heard first-hand about their recollections of the Games. We were all delighted that Reynold D’Souza, who played at Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games, was with us and he was able to tell us how the game was played in those days and the long-lasting friendships made with other athletes. Reynold told us that although he did not play at Rome 1960, he still went to the Olympic Games and four years later he was selected for Tokyo. He mentioned meeting the players who had played in Melbourne.

Avtar Sohal, Hilary Fernandes and Silu Fernandes recalled the quarter final match at the Rome Olympic Games which went into extra time. They played eight periods of extra time with Great Britain scoring the winning goal in the 127th minute.

Sohal, Hilary, Silu, Edgar Fernandes and Reynold D’Souza all played in the famous match in Jabalpur in India on 26 April 1964 when Kenya defeated India 3-0 during Kenya’s tour of India. In so doing they inflicted India’s biggest defeat in 184 international matches. Hilary remembered the goal scorers after 57 years. Three months later India won the gold medal at Tokyo. Avtar, Hilary and Silu also recalled when Kenya defeated Pakistan 3-1 in Nairobi before Pakistan went on to win gold in Rome.

Silu Fernandes showed the Olympic Diploma the Kenya team were awarded for finishing sixth at Tokyo Olympic Games and proudly showed everyone his collection of memorabilia in three framed display panels for each of the Olympic Games he played in.

Ajmal Malik was able to recall the last pool match against Pakistan in Mexico. He mentioned that Kenya only needed a draw to go into the semi-finals of Mexico Olympic Games in 1968 but lost by the odd goal, forcing a pool play-off match against Australia. His colleagues in that match, Hilary and Silu agreed that they should have won this match and still progressed to the semis. Another missed opportunity.

The tone for the afternoon was set and the presentation covered each of the seven Olympic Games that Kenya had participated in with everyone contributing their recollections.

Kenyan Olympians 1
 
Slide from Dil Bahra's presentation showing the Kenya Olympic Team bus from the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games.

 

The conference participants included:

From the UK: Reynold D’Souza – Melbourne 1956 and Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games; Brajinder Daved – Munich 1972 and Los Angeles 1984; Surjit Singh Rihal, Harvinderpal Singh Sibia and Jagmel Singh Rooprai – Munich 1972; and Manjeet Singh Panesar – Los Angeles 1984.

From Kenya: Avtar Singh Sohal – Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964 (captain), Mexico 1968 (captain) and Munich 1972 (captain).

From Australia: Edgar Fernandes – Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964.

From Canada: Hilary Fernandes and Silu Fernandes – Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964 and Mexico 1968; Amar Singh Mangat – Tokyo 1964; Raphael Fernandes – Los Angeles 1984.

From Pakistan: Ajmal Malik – Mexico 1968 and Munich 1972.

From the USA: Ranjit Singh Sehmi – Munich 1972.

There were other Guests of Honour including Shuaib Adam (General Secretary of Kenya Olympic Association), Norman Da Costa (Canada) and Cyprian Fernandes (Australia). The latter two guests were both distinguished hockey journalists in Kenya during Kenya’s heyday.

 

An Absent Friend

Parminder (Kake) Singh Saini, who played for Kenya at Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988 Olympic Games had confirmed his attendance at this conference. Sadly, he passed away in Kenya that evening, some three hours after the conference had ended. None of us were aware of this and only found out afterwards.

Kake played for Slough Hockey Club from 1976-79 and is the younger brother of former England international, Bal Saini.

Click here to read his obituary.

 

By Dil Bahra
1 June 2021

Please note: Interested parties can view the majority of Dil Bahra’s presentation on Kenya’s hockey Olympians on Cyprian Fernandes’s personal blog. Please click here.

Punch Almanack 1903
 

Cartoon from the Punch Almanack, 1903. The caption reads:
"We had a scratch game with the 'Black and Blue' Club yesterday, but had an awful job to get any men. Enid's brother and a friend of his turned up at the last moment; but they didn't do much except call 'offside' or 'foul' every other minute, and they were both as nervous as cats!"

 

Hockey rarely gets a mention on mainstream television outside of an Olympic year, and virtually never in the context of a drama series.

But the sport popped up in a most unexpected place on 9 May, when it was referenced in the BBC’s new Sunday night costume drama, The Pursuit of Love.

In the adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s bestselling novel about an upper-class English family between the first and second World Wars, domineering patriarch Lord Alconleigh informs his bookish niece Fanny that he does not believe in education for women, claiming it makes them lose their social graces and develop “thighs like gateposts” from playing hockey!

Granted, it’s not the most flattering of references – but it does throw a light on the prejudices that women of the time had to overcome to take part in their sport. In real life, similar sentiments had been voiced by critics of female athleticism – both men and women – from the moment women first picked up a stick.

Sections of Victorian and Edwardian society regularly warned about the dire consequences that playing hockey would have on women’s femininity and chances of motherhood, and newspapers of the day began referencing a creature known as 'The Hockey Girl'.

This creature was invariably a “muscular, hard-faced, tan-complexioned Amazon”, of “strapping proportions” and “a sturdy vigorous air”. She had, the critics said, a “hockey voice” (loud), “hockey elbows” (sharp) and a “hockey stride” (determined).

She was even charged with killing romance by one regional newspaper, which declared that to see female hockey players returning from a match was “to receive an object lesson in how not to walk and move. The ugly swing of the hips, the masculine stride, the waving arms… the voice… piercing and strident… it is difficult to believe that these beings belong to the feminine sex”.

A dance and calisthenics (gymnastic exercises) teacher, perhaps sensing her opportunity to drum up some trade, wrote to the London Evening Standard in 1905: “I shudder to think of the next decade. The hockey girl of today will then have become a nondescript woman, awkward in gait, clumsy in manner, muscular, masculine, and generally objectionable. It will take twenty years of devotion to the minuet [a two-person dance of French origin] to… bring back to English social and domestic life the graceful girlhood of the past.”

Luckily, there were at least as many supporters of women playing hockey as there were detractors. One father – writing in 1899, but infinitely more enlightened than Mitford’s Lord Alconleigh – said: “When my daughters come home on their bicycles from a match or practice looking rosy and bright, their mother and I are rather pleased than otherwise… We certainly prefer this to the ‘pallor and anaemia’ which… was so much admired by the decadents of a few years ago.”

A mother whose daughters were also “smitten with the hockey craze” agreed: “I am truly rejoiced to think that the girls of the present day are being educated in a more sensible manner, both physically and mentally, than formerly, and will, therefore, be better fitted to make their way in the world.”

Fortunately, this line of reasoning won out – leaving future generations of girls and women to enjoy The Pursuit of Hockey!

 

Punch 09121936 1      Punch 09121936
     
Cartoons from Punch magazine, 1903.

Cartoons from the British satirical magazine Punch or The London Charivari reflecting the impression of hockey as an unladylike game during the early part of the twentieth century. Punch magazine helped to coin the term "cartoon" in its modern sense as a humorous illustration. These cartoons explored societal perceptions amongst, for the most part, male high society groups, However, perceptions like the hockey-related ones of this article were not exclusively held by men – there were plenty of conservative women of the era happy to uphold such views, just as there were women who opposed to the campaign to give women the vote.

 

 

By Dr Jo Halpin

Sources: Daily Mirror, The Tatler, Midland Counties Tribune, Dublin Daily Express.

When Janet Smallwood (later Mrs Macklin) was awarded her first international cap for Scotland in 1951 she was not the first member of her family to have an international sporting honour – her father, Alistair Smallwood, was selected to play for England Rugby in the 1920s. Alistair was born in Scotland but moved down to England and then went to Cambridge University from where he made his international debut in 1920, going on to win a further 24 caps. Not to be outdone, Janet, who was educated at Bedford Grammar School went to Edinburgh University in 1948 to study history. From there her hockey talents were recognised and she was selected for the East of Scotland and then Scotland where she debuted in 1951 as a ‘left inner’ (inside left in modern terms), a position she played for the whole of her career.

Janet, now a fit 92-year-old living in Devon, has spoken to THM about some of her memories of her hockey career and her family.

Scotland team photo
 
Scotland women's team of 1951.
Janet Macklin is standing back row, second from the right.

 

The Festival of Britain

Festival of Britain programme 1951By an amazing coincidence the venue for Janet’s first international match was Twickenham Rugby Stadium – the home of England Rugby where her father would have played on many occasions. The match was part of the 1951 Festival of Britain’s Grand International Hockey Tournament organised principally by The Hockey Association (HA) and England women invited Scotland to play them as part of this special event on Saturday 12 May 1951.

Janet’s memories of the Festival match were the size of the crowd (over 6,000 spectators), full of screaming schoolgirls and of the awful pitch – rugby pitches were clearly not ideal for hockey! Janet recalled a competitive match and while Scotland were on the losing end of a 6-1 defeat, the team played well and she scored the only goal.

Hockey Field magazine reported that after being 4-0 down at half time “Scotland kept on attacking but were inclined to fail in front of goal, probably due to the close marking of their opponents. Their reward came at last when Smallwood put in a shot past Dale from a centre by Gibson. Inspired by this, the left wing pair swept down the field again but were checked by Barnes who had a sound and brilliant game”.

To read more about the Festival of Britain hockey tournament and to watch an extract of Janet’s interview with The Hockey Museum, click here.

 

Touring the USA

That year Janet was also selected for the Scotland Touring Team that travelled to the USA. The players had to contribute to the travel costs but once in the States, they were hosted by local families and the opposition teams. Janet scored many goals, clocking up five in one match alone. She recalled how would have scored six but with the power of her shot, the ball split in two and only one half crossed the line into the goal. After much discussion between the umpires, it was disallowed but the incident remained a talking point at the after-match tea. Scotland finished the tour unbeaten.

 

Striking a Work/Life/Hockey Balance

After university Janet moved to London for work. She had been offered a post with Cadbury’s, but they wanted her to work on Saturday mornings – not something any hockey player would accept – so she went to work for Simpson’s in Piccadilly as a staff training officer. Janet married in 1953 but continued to play for Scotland until 1956. When the first of her four children arrived, she retired from playing but it wasn’t too long before she decided to pick up her hockey stick again. Now living in Chesterfield, she found that the local clubs were all playing league hockey which Janet, still holding on to the principles of an ‘amateur’ game, didn’t want to play, and so she started a new club of her own.

In later years Janet’s family again moved to Exeter where she joined Exeter Ladies’ HC. She remembers playing on the sands at Minehead in Somerset at low tide. This was certainly a different experience, especially as the pitch was moved to a new area of the beach at half time! Janet was even persuaded to play representative hockey again, playing for Devon for several years and once for the West of England. She remembers her last game to be in 1975 when she was invited to play for the Mary Eyre XI against a Nan Morgan XI – both women were prominent England international players. She said that she managed to annoy Mary Eyre by not putting the ball exactly where Mary wanted it – she still remembers the look she got! Over the years, she was not the only one to receive one of those ‘looks’!

The sporting genes in the Smallwood/Macklin family have continued to the next generation. Her son Jamie has taken after his grandfather to become a top-level rugby player with London Scottish and represented Scotland B.

Such an amazing sporting family.

 

By Katie Dodd
May 2021

 

Festival of Britain programme 1951
 
Cover of the programme for the Grand International Hockey Tournament during the Festival of Britain, 1951.

Click the image to download the full programme as a PDF.
Credit: the AEWHA Collection at the University of Bath Library.

 

Seventy years ago in May 1951, a very unusual sporting event was staged at Twickenham Rugby Stadium in West London. It involved men’s and women’s teams from England, Scotland, Holland (the Netherlands), Belgium and France. No, this wasn’t any sort of rugby get together – the teams were international hockey teams who had been invited to play in the 1951 Festival of Britain Grand International Hockey Tournament.

At the start of the 1950s, Britain was still recovering from the turmoil of World War 2 and the Government decided the stage a ‘Festival of Britain‘ with the aim of promoting recovery, celebrating British industry, arts and science, and inspiring the thought of a better Britain.

While sport got little coverage in any of the official reports about the Festival, many different sporting events were organised. The Hockey Association (HA) approached the All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA) with the view to organising an international hockey event at Twickenham Rugby Stadium. This was a bold move as this was not a venue used before for hockey. While the Rugby Football Union agreed to the proposal, they did set a fee of £900 for the use of the facilities – this was a sum considerably more than the HA took in annual subscriptions every year. Evidently, the HA was confident that a tournament associated with the national festival would pull in the spectators to cover this cost and everyone would enjoy international standard hockey in the May sunshine. It didn’t all go to plan.

The event was organised for 12, 14 and 15 May and the programme shows that two women’s teams took part (England and Scotland) and four men’s teams: England, Holland (the Netherlands), Belgium and France. Throughout the tournament, the England men’s team did not play well with Hockey News magazine describing the home sides first match performance as “pitiful” and that “although Belgium only won by the odd goal, their players were infinitely superior throughout in speed, tactics and stickwork”. They went on to lose 3-2 to Holland on the Monday and while they did beat France 5-0 on the final day it did not raise the spirits much. The standard of the pitch did play a part as it was nothing like the flat grass surfaces England would have played on at venues like Lord’s cricket ground.

The only women’s game in the event was played on the Saturday and by mid-afternoon, the crowd had swelled to nearly 6000, many of them schoolgirls and groups arriving from clubs around the south east of England. They were treated to a much better game that was well contested, but England’s clinical goal-scoring enabling them to eventually run out 6-1 winners. Both the men’s and women’s press of the day complimented the teams for their accurate and speedy attacking play despite the challenges of the very uneven grass pitch.

 

Scotland team photo
 
Scotland women's team of 1951.
Janet Macklin is standing back row, second from the right.

 

Janet Smallwood (now Macklin) was one of the players on the pitch that day. Now in her nineties and living in Devon, Janet gained her first international cap for Scotland in this match and was the scorer of Scotland’s only goal. We think that Janet might be the only player from this event who is still alive. It must have been particularly special for her to play at the home of rugby as her father, Alistair Smallwood, played rugby for England in the 1920s and would have played on the Twickenham turf on many occasions.

Janet’s main memories of the game were the noise of the crowd – full of schoolgirls she recalls – and how bad the pitch was. She enjoyed the game despite being on the losing side and made more memorable by scoring Scotland’s only goal.

Read more about Janet’s hockey career here, and hear a short clip or her memories immediately below.

 

https://youtu.be/rDM45_XTYnQ

 

From the press coverage afterwards, the HA were criticised heavily for taking on such a high-risk financial undertaking with little guarantee of support from the hockey-playing public. The weather wasn’t great, particularly on the final two days where spectator numbers were less than 1500. On the other hand, the women’s part in the event attracted much bigger crowds. Maybe this is not surprising as this event was not long after the first ever women’s hockey international match to be played at Wembley Stadium (March 1951), where 30,000 spectators attended. This would have undoubtedly provided a ready pool of people keen to attend another event.

In the end, it appears that the Rugby Football Union took a charitable approach to the issue of a fee and their records note “It was agreed that in view of the small attendances at the Festival Tournament at Twickenham on the 12th and 14th May and the heavy expenditure involved by the Hockey Association, that the usual charges for the use of the ground be waived”. So not the financial disaster for the HA that had been anticipated.

The event did finish on a high with a black-tie dinner at the Café Royal for all the players, organisers, and many representatives from around Britain and the rest of the world. Maybe this should be considered the success of the event as it helped to build friendships across the hockey family?

 

By Katie Dodd

A recent piece of research on the 1908 Olympic Games together with a study on hockey in the East Riding of Yorkshire by museum volunteer researcher James Ormandy, has unearthed a mystery that spans both hockey and social history.

James’s research on hockey in the East Riding has revealed an amazing amount of hockey in the area at the end of the 19th century and the early 1900s. There was as much hockey being played in the north of England as in the south. The difference was that most of the clubs in the north did not affiliate to the Hockey Association so their exploits have gone largely unnoticed and unrecorded. That is until James began investigating.

One such club was Beverley HC whose goalkeeper was one Harvey Jesse Wood, a 15-year-old railway clerk and son of a local butcher. This characterised the difference between hockey in the suburban south and the rural and industrial north which was much more cosmopolitan. Labourers, shopkeepers and clerks (like Harvey) were the mainstays of many hockey teams.

 

Harvey J Wood at 1908 Olympics
 

Harvey Jesse Wood in 1908. Harvey featured in one of James Ormandy’s recent articles,
published on the sports history website Playing Pasts.

You can read "When Hull Got Hooked on Hockey: East Yorkshire's Edwardian Sporting Boom" by clicking here.

 

Harvey Wood stood 6’4” tall – a giant of his day – and his imposing stature would have drawn attention. By 1907 he was playing for West Bromwich HC in Staffordshire, some 75 miles away. How Harvey came to make this move is a mystery, but it certainly had a positive effect on West Bromwich.

In season 1907-08 West Bromwich were the only unbeaten team in the Midlands, thanks in no small part to Harvey’s goalkeeping. This was recognised by his selection for both Staffordshire (county level) and the Midlands (territorial level). He made his debut for England against Wales in March 1908. Harvey went on to play in England’s seven matches in 1908, which included the Olympic Games at the White City in London where he won a gold medal. The Olympic-winning team of 1908 consisted entirely of upper-middle-class ex-public schoolboys, apart from the imposing Harvey. He conceded only six goals in his short international career but never again played for England after the Olympic final. He was 23.

 

1908 England Olympic Hockey Team Finalists 300dpi
 
The gold medal-winning England team of 1908 featuring Harvey Jesse Wood, third from the right in the back row.

 

This story begs so many questions. How did Harvey come to move from Beverley to West Bromwich? Why were his England, Midlands, Staffordshire, and West Bromwich careers so short? Did he play hockey again after his return to Beverley? What has happened to his gold medal – in 1908 they were solid gold? And finally, what did Harvey do during WW1? Chances are that he did not enlist – railway workers were considered a ‘reserved occupation’ and exempt from military service. Nevertheless, he probably had an interesting story or two to tell.

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