News 2014

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As competitions were very much frowned upon, certainly in Britain, up until the 1950s it could be that this earliest hockey trophy might be a rather modern piece of silverware. However, whilst officialdom may have frowned upon leagues and cups, the competitive hockey players certainly found ways of playing for points and cups.

Modern players might find it difficult to believe that, as recently as the 1960s, hockey was totally amateur and no reward whatsoever was allowed. Contravention of this would undermine a player’s amateur status and could see them barred from participation in hockey under the auspices of the governing Hockey Associations.

It is a fact that the successful England women’s team that attended the first Women’s Hockey World Cup in The Netherlands in 1948 had to smuggle their winners’ medals back in their luggage. The report in the women’s magazine of the day, Hockey Field, made no mention of a competition or medals and instead described it “a festival”. It has only really come to light in the last few years following the discovery of a medal in one of the players’ belongings.

The 1908 Olympics was the first international hockey competition but there are no trophies in the Olympics and, as the amateur status at that time was absolute, there was no problem with the players receiving medals. Incidentally, it is believed that only gold medals were awarded in 1908 as there is no evidence of silver or bronze ever existing.

There was competition in this pre-WW1 era though. In the women’s game, the publication Ladies Field put up a cup which was played for on a percentage basis of the clubs’ results. However, to take part your club could not be a member of the All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA). This led to some confusion when we first discovered that one team, Merton LHC, had won this trophy multiple times. Merton, we presumed, hailed from south-west London; but we now know they were in fact from Dublin. This was pre-Partition of 1922 and the Ladies Field Cup embraced clubs from anywhere in the British Isles.

The men also enjoyed competition in this era, albeit within the Armed Forces. Britain had a lot of men under arms at this time and competitive sport was a good way to satisfy their combative needs. A lot of military trophies still exist and some have transferred into civilian competitions.

Hockive Fact 23 St Leonards TrophyPerhaps the most enduring competitions came about as a result of WW1 and the need to recruit millions of women into munitions and industry. It was deemed that sport would be good recreation for these women and various sports leagues were set up in many industrial centres throughout Britain. Some of these leagues still exist today and have celebrated their centenaries. They were so well organised that in the 1930s that they formed national teams and the England Ladies Hockey League Association played international matches against the other Home Countries – for trophies!

In summary, we cannot state with absolute conviction which is the oldest trophy in hockey. The Ladies Field Cup dates from the 1890s so could well be considered a contender for the oldest hockey trophy. We also know of a splendid shield trophy (c.1888) from St Leonards School in St Andrews, Scotland, which was awarded for 'Goals' – a hockey-like stick and ball game – and is still awarded today (right; reproduced with permission from St Leonards School, St Andrews). It is perhaps more accurately two silver trophies from the Calcutta Hockey Club, a tankard dated 1864 and a salver dated 1865, which are now held in the National Army Museum, London.

“But” I hear you say, “that predates organised hockey here in England – let alone out there in the Empire” – and you would be right. In this instance, the word ‘hockey’ on these trophies means ‘polo’, which is sometimes referred to as ‘hockey on horseback’. Nonetheless, we believe that these trophies are the oldest in the world to bear the word ‘hockey’!

It is a fact that many thousands of hockey players fought in WW1, many from the very start. However, the question of who was the first hockey player to die during the Great War may never be truly answered considering the unbelievable carnage that took place from day one.

It is possible that many of the fallen could have been hockey players but that this has not been picked up on before now. We can therefore only work on the information that has been uncovered. This indicates that Lt Charles Arthur Campbell of the 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment was the first hockey player to die in WW1. He was killed on the 24 August 1914 and that evening his body was brought into the village of Audregnies by some pious Belgian civilians and buried close to the wall of the church there.

A fuller account appears in our Hockey Military Stories section here.

In 1951 the All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA) arranged the first of its 41 London internationals to be played at the old Wembley Stadium. The programme for the day proudly announced that this was the first time a women’s team game had been played at the famous Empire Stadium.

In the early years of the event, the jealously guarded amateur status of hockey players prevented a trophy being awarded to the winners. But on Saturday 10th March 1984 England and Ireland met with a trophy on offer for the first time – the Tipp-Ex Trophy.

The AEWHA was founded in 1895 so it had taken 88 years for its first trophy to be introduced.

The only gap in the remarkable record of annual Wembley games was in 1970 when the condition of the Wembley pitch resulted in the match being transferred at short notice to the White City Stadium.

The records of international hockey, both men’s and women’s, are littered with many matches, the authenticity of which has been hotly debated over the decades. Conversely, there are many matches that have been played between ‘allegedly’ international teams that have not been recorded. This aspect of hockey’s history is one that has to be resolved before accurate national records can be finalised.

The Hockey Museum is currently compiling a list of these matches in the hope of delivering a definitive record sometime in the future.

However, there is one match that stands out in the records as being one that should not be there. It was during the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp where England won the Gold Medal. On their way to this success England had to play France. The French were not at all confident so they allegedly employed dubious tactics. As the story goes, they invited the England team out to dinner the night before with the intention of rendering the English players unable to perform properly. However, it was a case of ‘the biter being bit’ because it was the French who succumbed to the over-indulgence. This was to such an extent that the French did not even turn up the following day.

Whilst a ‘walkover’ is an acceptable conclusion it cannot be a result because no-one ever took to the field. The records show the match as a victory for England but with no score. The match is included in England’s records and eleven players are credited with caps for the game.

It is of course illogical for all this to be the case, certainly for players to get a ‘cap’ for a game that was never played and, if there were no players, how could there have been a match?

Founded in September 1893 and disbanded in 1907, it is safe to say that in the short period of its existence the Palmerston Hockey Club established a record which has never been surpassed by any other hockey club in the country. In six successive seasons the 1st XI only lost two matches out of one hundred and sixty played and in one of these seasons it scored one hundred and two goals with only seven goals scored against it. The two matches lost, each by a margin of one goal, were the Irish Senior Cup ties against Dublin University in 1901 and 1902.

Palmerston owed much of its greatness to the brothers Peterson – Jack and Walter, full backs; Nick, right half; Cecil, centre forward; Willie, inside left, and Bertie, outside right. Four had learned their hockey at Avoca School and all gained their green caps. Although four members of Palmerston figured on the first Irish International team that played against Wales in 1895, it was not until after the advent of the Petersons in 1899 that the club achieved its greatest successes.

So strong was the Palmerston team that in 1904 that the Irish selectors decided to place nine of the eleven in the field against England. The two remaining players were WM Johnstone of Three Rock Rovers, who took the place of B Peterson at outside right and was appointed Captain, and RB Douglas of Royal Hibernians, who filled the position of goalkeeper. The result justified the selector’s confidence as the team was victorious and Ireland won the Triple Crown for the first time.

A club whose first team remains practically unchanged for a number of years is bound in time to suffer from lack of new members, and this is what happened to Palmerston, whose numbers dwindled until, in 1907, it found itself unable to carry on and decided to disband. Some of its best players transferred to the Monkstown Club and assisted it to win the Irish Senior Cup, the blue riband of Irish hockey, a few years later.

This article is taken from the book Hockey in Ireland by TSC Dagg, published in 1944. Mr Dagg played for Ireland before WW1 and his son also played for Ireland in the mid 1930s.

Ireland has many claims to fame as far as hockey is concerned. The island’s traditional stick and ball game of Hurley can be dated back to very early times.

It is little surprise therefore that when the organised game of hockey began to appear in the second half of the nineteenth century, the Irish were particularly adept at it. In a year when Ireland will be playing in the Olympics and only for the second time, it must be remembered that both the Irish men and women featured in both of the first ever international hockey matches in 1895 and 1896 respectively. That is a deserved honour that many countries would covert.

An examination of the early years of Irish men’s hockey reveals a very interesting thread, that is the numbers of sets of brothers who played for their country in that period. It could be said that with only a few people playing the sport there were bound to be lots of brothers but in fact hockey in Ireland flourished very quickly and the clubs proliferated from the start of hockey in 1892. By 1894 there were 16 clubs and by 1896 the number had risen to 27. By 1898 there were 4 provincial branches of the Union with clubs flourishing in all.

By 1914 and the start of WW1, Ireland men had played 55 international matches, most within the British Isles. 55 matches in the days before substitutes meant that 605 individual team selections had been made. Of these, at least 164 selections were brothers – well over a quarter. The ‘brotherhood’ started with the first match of 1895 with the Birmingham brothers and went on to include 6 lots of 3 brothers and the unparalleled Paterson brothers, of whom 6 played for Ireland and on one occasion with 5 in the same team.

The writer suspects the faint possibility of another record lurking within these statistics; that is, was one of the same name pairings actually a father and son?

Most players know that, to be legal, a hockey stick has to be able to pass through a two inch ring, or 52mm in modern parlance. However, this was not always the case as, in the very early days of hockey, the width allowed was 2 ½ inches. This was reduced to the current size on the 19 September 1887.

Not many people know that!

HockiveFacts StanleyShovellerThis is potentially a very subjective claim but can anyone put forward a stronger case than this one for Stanley Howard Shoveller (1881-1959)?

To be the best amongst one’s contemporaries is perhaps the first requirement for this accolade. There cannot be much doubt about that. Shoveller played for his school 1st XI – what is now Kingston Grammar School – from the age of 14 and was a prolific goal scorer. He was playing for Hampstead Hockey Club before he left school and for Middlesex the year after leaving school. He first played for England three years later (1902) at the age of 21, which was very young in those days. In the following 19 years he played 35 times for England. He also fought in WW1, rising to the rank of Captain and being awarded a Military Cross.

His international career spanned two Olympics, London and Antwerp, winning gold medals in both. That in itself is an achievement unlikely to be equalled again by a British player. His official England record shows that he scored 79 goals in 35 appearances, including 17 hat tricks. That is an average of more than 2 goals per match. It is possible that this tally could be posthumously increased as ‘Shove’ as he was affectionately known, captained the England team that played in an international tournament in Hamburg in 1912 as a substitute for there being no hockey at the Stockholm Olympics. At this event he scored four times against Germany and three against Austria but at present these two matches do not appear in the England records.

To make Shoveller’s record even more remarkable, he did not play in 23 England matches because his work as a stockbroker did not give him the freedom to do so. What an amazing record it might have been had he played in all the 60 matches of his era. No wonder he was called the WG Grace of his time and therefore must qualify him to be the greatest English hockey player ever – unless you know different?

In Hockive Fact 9 we recorded that England men’s first four international matches were all against Ireland in the 1890s. We therefore asked why they had not played Wales in those four years, especially as Wales had featured in the first ever hockey international against Ireland in 1895.

We now have the answer, albeit a quote from an Irish correspondent which, at this stage and certainly without physical evidence, should be taken more as supposition than concrete fact. That said, the alleged reason was that The Hockey Association (England) did not consider the Welsh strong enough to warrant holding an international match.

Another interesting fact from this very early era of international hockey is that originally, in 1895, all players had to be born in the country they represented. Within two years this was changed to, "birth or two years residence".

pdfIt is perhaps difficult for us today, playing to a strict code of rules laid down by the sport’s governing body, to appreciate that, in the early days of hockey, rules were very fluid as the sport was quite literally evolving through the last decade of the 19th century. We know of at least a dozen different versions of the rules of hockey from that era and recently THM uncovered another. These come from Clifton High School for Girls in Bristol dated November 1894 (download the PDF by clicking the icon to the right).

From these we note that rule IX has a line 7 yards from and parallel to the goal line. This was the alternative to a circle. Rule X is an ‘offside’ rule. Rule II indicates that you cannot push the ball, only hitting is allowed. This begs the question: if you entered the striking area but dribbled with the ball into the goal, essentially pushing the ball along, and did not strike it into the goal, would it be a goal?

The simple answer to this is of course the scoring of three goals. However, when Stanley Shoveller scored eight goals against Belgium at the Antwerp Olympics in 1920, how many hat tricks was it?

Some might say two and two thirds hat tricks. However, others argue that it is in fact six hat tricks. The rationale for this is that the first three goals represent the first hat trick and every goal thereafter creates a new hat trick. So, the first three goals plus five more makes six hat tricks, unless you know different?!

Wimbledon Ladies Celebrate 125 Years

15 December 2014

Wimbledon Ladies' Hockey Club (WLHC), the oldest surviving ladies' hockey club in the world, celebrated their 125 years in style over the weekend of 27th and 28th of September. It began with a programme of matches followed by a traditional match tea of sandwiches and cake at the Wimbledon Club where...

First THM Quiz Winners

15 December 2014
First THM Quiz Winners

At this year’s London Investec Cup back in July, the Museum ran a quiz for the many school parties who visited the event and came on to the Museum stand. The school children were given a set of questions where all the answers could be found somewhere among the exhibits. We...

Mrs Belchamber, Miss Bettine And Miss Ellis

15 December 2014
Mrs Belchamber, Miss Bettine And Miss Ellis

I was in The Hockey Museum one Tuesday morning and was asked to look up some information to help answer an enquiry from a man researching his family tree, whose mother, Mrs Belchamber, played for England in the 1920s. He had some information and a letter dated 23 October 1920...

Lord Gets Off The Bench And Picks Up His Hockey Stick

14 November 2014

This article was spotted in a recent issue of the Scotland on Sunday newspaper. "The recent retired chairman of the Scottish Land Court, Lord McGhie, shows no signs of slowing down. Just a week or two after stepping down from his exalted position, the good Lord will be turning out in...

Robert Watson Collection

19 September 2014
Robert Watson Collection

The recently acquired Robert Watson collection contained three unusual items (pictured). Two are silver hallmarked pin badges from the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympics. The third is believed to be a cufflink from the 1948 London Games but we are missing its partner. Mike Haymonds, September 2014

Lost Collections: Bill Malherbe Of South Africa

07 September 2014

Probably the first real collector of hockey material was Bill Malherbe of South Africa, although the claim might be hotly contested if anyone knew what was in Ken Howells’s (of Teddington Hockey Club and Wales) collection. Sadly, his total and vast collection was thrown away shortly after his death, so...

Museum Stand At The Investec Cup

02 August 2014
Museum Stand At The Investec Cup

The Museum’s stand at the Investec London Cup held at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in the Olympic Park was a great success, attracting even more visitors than last year’s stand and proving a hit with adults and children alike. The display of sticks is always popular with...

The Cine Films Mystery

08 July 2014

The Museum has been given four large collections of hockey films which have been recorded on film reels. Rowena Shepherd, the Museum volunteer leading in this work, commented: “At the moment we really only know their titles. They are a mixture of films of hockey events and matches such as...

Investec London Cup, 9-13 July

01 July 2014

The Hockey Museum will have a stand at the Investec London Cup at the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from 9-13 July. We very much hope that spectators at the tournament will come to see the exhibits on display which will include: Items...

Memories Of Wembley Stadium

23 June 2014
Memories Of Wembley Stadium

Nan William’s work to uncover the full history of the playing of hockey at Wembley Stadium continues and she has recently received some fascinating stories from former internationals Karen Brown, Sue Slocombe and Val Robinson. In an attempt to also find some local knowledge of this annual hockey event, she...

Even The Gods Played Hockey

20 June 2014
Even The Gods Played Hockey

This mosaic, an image of the god Pan from a Roman villa, was recently seen by The Hocket Museum volunteer Evelyn Somerville in the Archaeological Gardens at Paphos, Cyprus. It was created during the 3rd century AD.

Club Mugs

18 June 2014
Club Mugs

Now’s the time for a spring clean of your kitchen cupboards to find a new home for that old club mug or beer glass that you keep just in case or maybe for ‘old time's sake’. Well, The Hockey Museum can offer this club memento pride of place as we...

War Stories

09 June 2014
War Stories

The Hockey Museum calls for hockey military stories as the centenary of WW1 approaches. Click on the image for the full article.

Museum Volunteers Needed

27 March 2014

The Hockey Museum opened at the beginning of 2012 in splendid premises in Woking, Surrey. In two years it has come a long way in establishing itself as the leading institution for collecting, storing, archiving and researching the rich history and heritage of the sport of hockey. New collections arrive...

Let's Make A Date!

26 February 2014

When the English Hockey Association folded in 2002 was that the end of English hockey? Of course not. Early the following year a new association, England Hockey, arose, phoenix-like, from the ashes. And some time after that it was renamed the English Hockey Board. Clubs kept on playing and many...

How Old Is Your Club?

18 February 2014

How old is your club? Guildford Hockey Club were not really sure. They celebrated their 50th in 1975 on the understanding that they had started in 1925. Local club Woking then suggested that they might be older than that. Their club chairman, Chris Basly, contacted us and we had a...

The Oldest Club Archive

10 February 2014

Surbiton Hockey Club are not quite the oldest club in the world but they do have the oldest and most complete ‘club archive’; unless you know better, of course! Their minute books go back to 1874 together with copious press cuttings and a complete collection of their club newsletter from...

The Hockey Museum Visits FIH HQ In Lausanne

03 February 2014

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) are very impressed with what we are achieving at The Hockey Museum after their two top executives visited us at Woking last July. A special 'there-and-back-in-a-day' visit made us realise that they were serious. The FIH's mission statement includes a commitment to history and heritage...

20 years in Storage

02 February 2014

By Mike Smith Two collections that have arrived at the Museum have actually been with us for over twenty years. They were collections given to us as a ‘fledgling set-up’ but, with the loss of our first home in Milton Keynes, they were never updated and sorted. This fascinating job...

Initiatives To Promote The Museum

01 February 2014

By Mike Smith The NHM website will be "upgraded" in the near future as we have just about reached the capacity of the old one. Under the direction of our new Webmaster, Allan Jobling, and our Publicity Officer, Mike Haymonds, we are hopeful of significantly increasing the potential to share information and...

FIH President visits the Museum

25 January 2014
FIH President visits the Museum

By Mike Haymonds Leandro Negre, FIH President, made his first visit to the Museum on Wednesday and pronounced himself “very impressed” with what he saw after a guided tour with Chair of Trustees Katie Dodd and Curator Mike Smith. He spoke with many of the volunteers about the work they...

More Lost Collections

24 January 2014

When we met with Leandro Negre, President of the FIH, at the Hockey Writers’ Club Luncheon last year, he said: ”This haemorrhaging of historical hockey material has got to be stopped.” Yes, Leandro, but how do we stop it? Within an hour we learned that the collection put together by Don...

Hockey in Morocco

22 January 2014

The Museum has started researching the origins and development of hockey in North Africa as we already know that ‘hockey-like’ games have been played in many countries in this region for generations. We have images of a game called ‘Genna’ being played in Ethiopia (see item in December’s newsletter), ‘oggaf’...

The Wagstaffe/Miroy Trunk

21 January 2014
The Wagstaffe/Miroy Trunk

Whilst collecting the Miroy collection and helping to clear the house we came across this old trunk in the loft. With the name Wagstaffe on it we realised that it dated from Barbara’s father who founded the Folkestone Hockey Festival. It was through the Festival that Barbara and Nevil first...


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