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BarryMiddleton01In boxes, suit carriers and a suitcase came a collection commemorating the hockey history of Barry Middleton, England and Great Britain international and Olympic competitor. It showed just how diverse are the collections which we are given to preserve for posterity at The Hockey Museum.

Sorting through the many and varied articles donated by Barry Middleton and his mother, Sheila – herself a hockey player of some note – we found many things we would have expected. There are photographs and programmes tracing the progress of Barry’s career through the various levels of hockey; from Doncaster HC to the North East Under 14s and from junior and senior internationals to the dizzy heights of the Olympics.

Barry's collection contains a large quantity of items of kit: from the Athens Olympics in 2004, the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006 and Delhi in 2010. The range of kit items issued for major events, particularly the Olympics, was evidently extensive: vests, shorts, track suits, waterproof suits, blazers, shirts and formal suits. Fashions evidently change, but a cream blazer in a light cotton weave which did not seem to hold its shape, with black piping and patch pockets...? Another surprising feature was the pinstripe in the suit issued to the Athens 2004 Olympic team, which comprised woven repetitions of the words "GO FOR GOLD"!

In the pocket of this suit were the crested invitation cards for Barry to attend a royal event. Perhaps a garden party at Buckingham Palace? In the Aladdin's suitcase (also part of the official Olympic kit from Athens 2004) there was also an official waterbottle. Who would guess that the kit for an Olympics included such things?

One of the vests from the Beijing 2008 Olympics had the signatures of 16 of the squad; a wonderful and unique memento, but one which poses the problem of how to conserve marker pen on polyester...?

A 'hoodie' from Barry’s days at Loughborough University shows a lighter side of the game of hockey. On the back are all the names of the team which won the BUSA Championships for the 3rd time in a row, complete with nicknames. From this distance, we can only wonder how Barry got the nickname 'Report to Lost Property' and some of his colleagues theirs, such as Phil 'Filthy Spider' Wilkinson. Perhaps more obvious was that of Rob 'Couldn’t Hit a Bee in a Hive' Playford!BarryMiddleton02

Most of the items of kit have badges: on the breast of the shirts, blazers and track suit tops; on the legs of shorts and track suit bottoms and even inside the collar of a dress shirt. All have to be laboriously described in detail as the items are booked in so they can be clearly identified with the correct event. Some of the stylised logos challenge the volunteers' powers of description more than others, but the lion motif on most of the England kit is fairly straightforward. When it comes to other badges in other donations it is not so easy, even if you can identify the origins of the badge in the first place.

We also had to remember to book in, complete with description and numbered label, the suit carriers and even the suitcase itself. Perhaps Barry will be pleased to know that his kit is kept together for posterity very appropriately in the suitcase he used to travel to Athens over 10 years ago.

Photograph 1: North East U14 team 1997. Barry is in the front row, second from left.
Photograph 2: Great Britain shirt from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, signed by the squad members.

Evelyn Somerville, August 2015

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03 November 2015
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Ireland’s Call: Hockey Players Who Fell In WW1

23 October 2015
Ireland’s Call: Hockey Players Who Fell In WW1

One of The Hockey Museum’s (THM) volunteers, Peter Jackson, has been involved in the hockey research that supported the recent publication of the book Ireland’s Call: Irish Sporting Heroes Who Fell in the Great War, (published by Merrion Press) written by BBC journalist, Stephen Walker. The book follows the fascinating...

THM Talk: Australian Women's Hockey 05.11.2015

22 October 2015
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THM Job Vacancy: Collections Management Officer

14 September 2015
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11 September 2015

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07 September 2015
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Get Your Hands On Newsletter Vol.6

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Irish Match Statistics

18 August 2015
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The Barry Middleton Collection

17 August 2015
The Barry Middleton Collection

In boxes, suit carriers and a suitcase came a collection commemorating the hockey history of Barry Middleton, England and Great Britain international and Olympic competitor. It showed just how diverse are the collections which we are given to preserve for posterity at The Hockey Museum. Sorting through the many and...

Another 'Wow Moment': A British Team In Europe In 1935

04 August 2015
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15 July 2015
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31 May 2015

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FIH President Drops By

16 May 2015
FIH President Drops By

FIH President Pays Whistle Stop Visit To The Hockey Museum Players in the Mercian Home Counties Colts Hockey League Finals at Guildford received a surprise visit when the International Hockey Federation (FIH) president, Leandro Negre, called in to make some presentations. He then went on to Woking to visit The Hockey...

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