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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 Jeremy has taken after his grandfather to become a top-level rugby player with London Scottish and represented Scotland B.

Such an amazing sporting family.


Janet Macklin: Representative Hockey Statistics

1947  Representative hockey for Bedfordshire.

1948-'52  East of Scotland including the Festival of Britain game at Twickenham in May 1951.

1948-'52  East of Scotland

1951-'56  Scotland including a tour of America in the autumn of 1951

1952-'56  Middlesex

1961-'68  Devon

1968  West of England


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.


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

[ Editor's note: A follow up article to this piece has since been published which corrects some aspects of the below. Please click here for the follow up article: Correcting Hockey History: The Hunt for Harvey Wood | ]


A 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.

William Shakespeare
 Portrait of William Shakespeare, 1610. Possibly painted by John Taylor.

There are several references to the word ‘bandy’ in the works of English playwright William Shakespeare, including one in Romeo and Juliet when Romeo, trying to stop a fight between Tybalt and Mercutio, declares:

“The Prince expressly hath forbidden bandying in Verona streets”.

Some commentators have attributed this reference to a game called bandy, which they explain as being a form of hockey because it involves the use of a curved stick and a ball. This might lead to the conclusion that Shakespeare wrote about hockey!

This article briefly explores the origins of bandy, a thriving sport which is unrelated to hockey.


Bandy In The 12th Century And In The 19th Century

William Fitzstephen was a cleric and administrator in the service of Thomas Becket, being present when the Archbishop of Canterbury was murdered in 1170. He wrote a description of London in the 12th century, including a section titled “Sports and Pastimes of old Time used in this City”.

There have been differing translations of this description from the original Latin, one of which was by the celebrated historian and Antiquarian, John Stow (sometimes ‘Stowe’), who wrote A Survay of London in 1598.

Stow’s translation of part of Fitzstephen's description included the following:

“Every year also at Shrove Tuesday, that we may begin with children's sports ... after dinner, all the youths go into the fields to play at the ball. The scholars of every school have their ball, or baton, in their hands.”

In his celebrated book The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, first published in 1801, Joseph Strutt presented a chapter on games with a ball in which he translated Fitzstephen's description differently, as follows:

“Annually upon Shrove Tuesday, they go into the fields immediately after dinner, and play at the celebrated game of ball; every party of boys carrying their own ball.”

Strutt discussed this passage at length, and concluded:

“There are many games played with the ball that require the assistance of a club or bat, and probably the most ancient among them is the pastime now distinguished by the name of goff … In the reign of Edward the Third [1327 to 1377], the Latin name Cambuca was applied to this pastime, and it derived the denomination, no doubt, from the crooked club or bat with which it was played; the bat was also called a bandy, from its being bent, and hence the game is frequently written in English bandy-ball."

Strutt provided an engraving, reproduced below, which he described as “two figures engaged at bandy-ball, and the form of bandy as it was used early in the fourteenth century”. His engraving was derived from a manuscript book of prayers, beautifully illuminated and written about that time, which is held by the Bodleian Library, Oxford.


Bandy engraving after the manuscript Book of Prayers 14th century
An engraving of bandy, after the manuscript Book of Prayers, 14th century.

Bandy Today

Today, Bandy is a game with similarities to ice hockey which is especially popular in Scandinavian countries. It is played in an ice-rink with a ball rather than a puck. A BBC archived web page from 2014 included the following paragraphs:

“We may not be familiar with it, but bandy is certainly not a new game. Records dating back to 1813 reveal that the village of Bury-on-Fen in Cambridgeshire had a bandy team that were unbeaten for a hundred years. And it is thought that Shakespeare was referring to the same game in Romeo and Juliet.

In its earliest incarnation the game had no set rules, and different versions were played by different groups, agreeing on the rules before they started each individual game. It wasn't until Charles Tebbutt, of the Bury Fen Bandy Club, set out the official rules that the game of bandy was properly recognised.

The Norris Museum in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, has a copy of the Bandy Code of Rules, developed in 1882. As an example ... rule number 11 states: If you drop your stick during a game of bandy then any of your opponents is entitled to pick it up and throw it away. “So it’s that type of game,” says Bob [Bob Burn-Murdoch, who is (or was) curator of the Norris Museum]. “Not quite as elegant and gentlemanly as ice hockey.””

A lot of the games would have been organised by the local gentry, but the workers would have been encouraged to take part in order to keep them out of the pub! So, all classes were involved in playing bandy. There was a famous exhibition match at Windsor Castle in 1853 in the presence of Queen Victoria, with Prince Albert playing as one of the goalkeepers!”

Once the rules of the game were established, Charles Tebbutt decided it was time to introduce the rest of northern Europe to the sport, and the first international bandy match took place in 1891 between England's Bury Fen Club and Haarlem in the Netherlands. From there, Tebbutt took the game to Sweden, and the rest is history.”



Bandy in ancient times was the name of a club used to hit a ball rather than being the name of a sport. ‘Bandying’ as used by Shakespeare may have referred to hitting a ball with a bandy in a game, the nature of the game not being known.

Goff (or golf) in the 19th century was sometimes known as bandy-ball, but that name went out of popular use. A game played on ice with a ball in an ice rink, which became known as bandy, was created in the Fens of eastern England and has become popular in Scandinavian countries today.


Mike Barford

Frank Benson
Frank Benson, actor and hockey players, in
William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.

The Edwardian era would witness the peak of theatre going and its watershed moment as cinema arrived. It also witnessed a sporting boom – especially in hockey – and one club, Benson’s Hockey Club, had done much to promote the game across the country since 1890s.

Frank Benson, an Oxford University graduate, began his professional theatre career in 1882 by appearing in Henry Irving’s production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. He then joined Walter Bentley’s touring company, only for Walter to abscond with the company’s revenue to Australia leaving them high and dry. With £100 from his father, Benson would take over the company and it became the Benson Shakespearean Touring Company. Benson’s career as an ‘actor manager’ had begun and it reached its pinnacle when in 1916 playing Julius Caesar at Drury Lane Theatre, he was knighted in the Royal Box by King George V.

From the very beginning of his management, the Bensonians would be engaged in rehearsals in the morning and various sports in the afternoon. Their sporting prowess at cricket and hockey was such that clubs leapt at the chance to play against the Bensonians. It was claimed that, as well as a talent for speaking verse, for admission into the troupe one needed to be a ‘rugger blue’ – a blue is the highest honour granted to individual sportspeople at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, in this case for rugby – could run a fast quarter mile or make a useful member of a cricket or hockey team. Benson’s philosophy of combining athleticism with aesthetics in acting was considered revolutionary but unpopular with the theatrical establishment. Benson’s plays were criticised for being overly athletic and his actors overly muscle-bound. Yet many of the troupe, like Oscar Asche, went on to have great careers even if he had spent his afternoons as the hockey team’s goalkeeper.

The Bensonians were the first English hockey club to play in Ireland when they played the High School and Dublin University in early 1894. Their annual Christmas tour of Ireland would see them play against Ireland’s top clubs such as Cliftonville who they once beat 3-1 with Asche in goal and Benson scoring a hat-trick from centre forward. Though hockey was preferred, the Bensonians could be found playing rugby and even water polo. The leading hockey clubs across the country would face closely fought contests: they lost to Leeds HC 5-2 in a “fast and pleasant game”, won 1-0 in Bournemouth and thrashed Kidderminster 6-1.

Benson’s Hockey Club, as it was known, would build up a creditable reputation in the hockey world as attested to by the Bournemouth Graphic:

“Mr F R Benson’s hockey team is almost as widely known as his famous dramatic company from which it is selected. The actor manager himself is an ardent hockeyite and has communicated enthusiasm to his colleagues the result being a combination capable of meeting and defeating some of the strongest teams in the kingdom.”


Norman V Norman      Silverstream HC 1907 08
 Actor and hockey player Norman V Norman.    Silverstream Hockey Club, 1907-08

Though never well acclaimed by the theatre critics, Benson likely enjoyed that other touring companies followed in his wake. The Norman V Norman Touring Company played some 24 men’s and mixed hockey matches in the winter of 1905-6, winning just four games (against Barrow in Furness, Felixstowe, Sheffield Handsworth, Tunbridge Wells). Like Frank Benson, Norman V Norman played centre forward and was the team’s top goal scorer with 19 goals. By 1907-8 their playing had improved. Out of the 36 games played, they won 16 and drew 6 including a 5-5 draw with Lincoln and a 6-0 win over Middlesbrough. The following season in Belfast they played Silverstream HC, the 1908 Ulster Junior League winners, in a 4-4 draw. Norman V Norman scored all four goals.

Frank Benson’s philosophy that athleticism went hand in hand with the performing arts was now seemingly accepted with hockey playing thespians regularly appearing across the country.


James Ormandy

By Katie Dodd


First Scotland womens team
 The first Scotland women's team, 1901.

The 13 April 2001 is the 120th anniversary of Scotland women’s very first international match, played against Ireland in Dublin.

I was first made aware of this special date during a conversation with Evlyn Raistrick, former Scottish and International Hockey Federation (FIH) Umpire, and co-author of the book 100 Years of Scottish Hockey, published in 2000. Evlyn and The Hockey Museum (THM) were keen to commemorate the beginnings of international women’s hockey in Scotland, but first a vital question needed answering: On which date in April did this match take place?

The centenary book had a report of the match played in Dublin, a team photo and information about their travel but, sadly, it was only recorded as being “played in April 1901”. Clearly some further investigation was needed to ascertain the exact date.

The first step was to look at our records of all international matches – this archive was compiled from years of research by Patrick Rowley and is now held by THM. The 1901 game is listed as the first match played by a Scottish women’s international team, but again it was only recorded as being played in April 1901 with no date.

The next port of call was to contact our colleagues at the Irish Hockey Archive – surely, they will have the date recorded. Peter Agnew and Steve Hiles responded swiftly, sending us images of the pages from their hand-written book of Irish international match reports. It records all of the Irish ladies’ matches in 1901 but, to our surprise, there was no match against Scotland amongst them! This match was turning out to be a bit of a mystery.

The search for the answer was now widened to ask more of THM’s volunteer researchers for help and before long we had our answer. Volunteer Archivist Marcus Wardle delved into the British Newspaper Archives and came up trumps with an article from the Dublin Evening Mail of 13 April 1901. The Mail reported the match being played earlier that day and recorded that the Irish team ran out as 2-0 victors.

THM’s extensive network within the sporting heritage world includes Jane Claydon who works with the archives of St Leonards School, St Andrews. St Leonards is a school with a great hockey tradition; it provided many of the early Scottish international players. Jane was able to confirm the match and date, courtesy of the school magazine from 1901.

By this time Peter Agnew had found more evidence from The Irish Times of 20 April 1901 (see extract below) and could report that the Irish team was at full strength that day.

With all this harmonious evidence from a variety of sources, Steve Hiles, a Hockey Ireland Director and Chair of their High Performance Committee, was happy to update the official records of Irish international matches to include the 13 April 1901 match. Scottish Hockey, THM and Hockey Ireland are all happy that the match took place and could be celebrated at the first Scottish women’s hockey international.

A full report of the match itself can be found on the Scottish Hockey website: click here.

Hockey International – Ireland v Scotland (Ladies)

Cartoon Ireland vs Scotland first international 13 April 1901Extract from The Irish Times of Saturday 20 April 1901.

"The weather was delightfully fine on Saturday when the first game between ladies representative of Scotland and Ireland was played at Milltown. In the first half of the game pressure was exerted for the most part by the home team and Miss Clarke scored a fine goal. It has been said that Scottish Ladies have not taken much interest in the game but anyone who witnessed the manner they defended their citadel against the perfect shower of shots poured in by the Irish have very good ground upon which to base a doubt of the accuracy of public rumour. Notwithstanding the warm attack made by the Irish Ladies the teams crossed over with Ireland leading by a single goal. In the second half the ‘North Country’ ladies played very strong and looked liked sweeping all before them; but the Irish Ladies seemingly thought it time to add to their score and Miss Parr for Ireland hit through despite a most stubborn resistance made by the Scottish defence. A series of hard knocks from Dame Fortune marked the career of the Scottish team in the remaining portion of the play and the final score read: Ireland ... 2 goals; Scotland ... Nothing.

"The Teams were :

"SCOTLAND – Misses Simpson, H Movi, M.Harvey, J Shaw, F Todd, W Littlejohn, Rutherford, D Robinson, Wedgewood, G Lindesay and T Stewart.

"IRELAND – Misses Cotter, Sealy, Atthill, Boyd, Hon. J Pritte, and Misses J Boyd, Fottrell, Parr, Obre, L Knox and Clarke."

Not that many years ago Easter festivals were the much-anticipated climax to the hockey season. Many hundreds of teams, certainly well into four figures, would travel to play in one of over fifty festivals that took place around Britain. The most popular venues were seaside ones, from Bournemouth to Bridlington and Lowestoft to Llandudno. It was all very competitive good fun ... well, usually!


ELHC Ramsgate 1950s      WKNHM201778716 Bachannalians HC at Folkestone Festival 1966
Ealing Ladies' Hockey Club at Ramsgate Easter Festival, 1950s   Bachannalians HC at Folkestone Festival, Easter 1966


The Folkestone Festival Fracas of 1969

From The Times newspaper, 7 April 1969

“Hockey festivals are supposed to give players some friendly games to wind up their season. But this year at Folkestone there have been rough ones, which culminated yesterday morning in the Clansmen, the Scottish side, and Real Club de Polo of Barcelona being sent off collectively nine minutes from time.

The first half had produced some splendid play with a superb goal by Segura for Barcelona the highlight, but the second half degenerated into a disgraceful exhibition. I am sorry to say that the Clansmen, who are nearly the Scottish national side, undoubtedly started it but the Spaniards were not slow to follow. Finally, Mr Eaves, an international umpire, had no alternative: he threw the whole lot off and well they deserved it.

It is always difficult at Folkestone to know which games to watch. The tendency is obviously to see the sides with the big names. But after yesterday morning's effort I think in future I shall go to the four pitches round the corner, collectively known as Siberia and enjoy true festival spirit watching such sides as the Old Felstedians, Bandits and Royal Artillery.

The afternoon was devoted mainly to the Festival XI against the senior guest side, the Uhlenhorster Club of Hamburg. I have seldom seen so many good players gathered together on a perfect pitch produce such negative hockey. The Festival XI with five Englishmen, two Scots, two Irish and a brace of Germans were about as united as the United Nations and seemed to argue just about as much.

Uhlenshorster, for all their two west German internationals, were little better. Krause spent three parts of the game offside, neither wing could make any telling move and their attack was almost carried by Suhl. For the Festival XI, Harris of Cambridge University, whose selection was bitterly criticised, was as good as anyone and Hade of Ireland had a fine game at left half. Ten minutes from time Christensen on the left produced a dazzling run, centred, and Lawson shot home; the one flash of satisfying hockey in a dull game.

The day ended with two splendid games on adjoining pitches. Buccaneers had a struggle with Cambridge University. Svehlik soon scored for Cambridge but McNulty and Hennessy put Buccaneers in front. Ladykillers put the Ghosts in their place with goals by Land and Martin to one by Lawson.”

It’s not often that small, independent museums like The Hockey Museum (THM) have an opportunity to change the narrative of national history, but today we share some very exciting news concerning a highly significant archaeological collection – the Anglo-Saxon burial ship at Sutton Hoo.

Sutton Hoo gained a lot of publicity this year with the release of the Netflix film The Dig, starring Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes, and following this THM unearthed hockey’s links to the excavation in a series of articles. These included Edith Pretty’s links to the founding of the All England Women’s Hockey Association and the revelation that the archaeological dig was recorded by two hockey-playing photographers, Barbara Wagstaff and Mercie Lack – more on those stories here and here. Yet these pale in comparison with this latest discovery, which has seen THM work with the British Museum, custodians of the Sutton Hoo treasure.

A plan of the archaeological discovery shared with THM by the British Museum reveals how the deceased – believed to be an Anglo-Saxon king – was laid out with all his possessions. Whilst there were famously no human remains left at the Sutton Hoo ship burial, there was a void amongst the buried possessions where the body would have been. This is shown as a grey shadow on the plan.

Sutton Hoo grave with stick

The layout of the Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo.
© The Trustees of the British Museum.

To more clearly read the labels, either Zoom in on your device or right click the image and open it in a new tab.


The burial layout is unusual because for a right-handed person (i.e. the majority of people), the sword and scabbard would be on the left hip so that the sword could be drawn by the dominant right hand across the body. The British Museum’s Curator of Early Medieval European Collections, Sue Brunning, suggests that this indicates the deceased to be left-handed, hence the scabbard on their right side. Left-handed swordsmen are highly unusual in the Anglo-Saxon period.

Closer examination of the plan shows traces of a stick-shaped object along the left side of the body and it is for this reason that the British Museum reached out to THM.

Originally this stick was believed to be a ceremonial walking stick, but our collaborative research has shown it to be a primitive ‘hockey stick’ of the type widely used in Nordic countries for what later became known as bandy. Bandy is played one-handed and mainly involves striking the ball rather than the close-control dribbling game of modern hockey. A left-handed swing across and behind the body would have generated more striking power and so the game would have suited players with a dominant left hand. Players like the man entombed at Sutton Hoo. In burial, it would be correct for the stick to have been placed by the deceased’s left-hand side.

The stick, being made of wood – actually chestnut – left a distinct impression, much like the ‘rib cage’ of the ship itself which can be seen in Barbara Wagstaff’s photographs and in the film shot by Harold John Phillips. It is likely that at the time of burial a rudimentary ball would have been included, but as these were made from organic animal material it had long since disappeared.

It is only through the emergence of The Hockey Museum that the true interpretation of this amazing piece of history has come to light.

Sutton Hoo excavation public domain
The Sutton Hoo excavation showing the 'rib cage' of the ship.
Still from the film made by Harold John Phillips. 
Public domain.

By Elton Riches

I was researching in The Hockey Museum (THM) library reviewing the early hockey periodicals for photographs or illustrations of player-issued caps. I located a black-and-white photograph in an 1898 publication showing the Welsh men’s hockey team wearing honours caps. Clear evidence that the Welsh national teams were awarded caps early on in their development.


Caps Wales 1898
Picture of the Wales Hockey Team from Hockey magazine, 4 March 1898.

The caps appeared very similar to those awarded in rugby. I had a 1906 dated cap similar to this design in my personal collection which was green and I had previously been advised by the Welsh Rugby Union that there was no record of a green cap ever being issued by them. They also had no record of anyone with the initials WEJ playing rugby for Wales during 1906.

And so the work began. I had initials inside the cap “WEJ” but who was this person? The library resources pointed to a WE Jones. With assistance from Hockey Wales, more information about him came to light. Reverend William Edwyn Jones won his first cap on 10 Feb 1906 against Scotland and his final cap on 8 March 1913 against England.

But what of the green? Wales are always red, are they not? Perhaps this wasn’t a Welsh cap after all. Further collaboration with Hockey Wales revealed that the early Welsh teams did indeed use green as a prominent colour and so, now conclusively identified as hockey, I donated the cap to THM. We could at last be certain of its provenance.


Cap Reverend William Edwyn Jones Wales 1906      Elton and WE Jones cap 02
Wales cap awarded to Reverend William Edwyn Jones in 1906.
Research has proven that Wales played hockey in green in their formative years.
  Elton Riches donates Reverend Jones's cap to The Hockey Museum.


A Second Welsh Cap

The recent discovery of a second cap came about through a research request from the relatives of Roland Bryan Stratton who wanted to know more about Stratton’s international playing career. From records held by Hockey Wales they knew that he had played hockey for Wales with his first match on 2 Feb 1911 against Ireland and his final game on 7 March 1914 against England.

It is likely that this international hockey career would have continued but WW1 meant that Wales did not play an international game between 1914 and 1920. Communications revealed that the relatives still had his 1911 cap stowed away with family memorabilia, and they were now able to know more about it.


RB Stratton cap
RB Stratton cap lining

Welsh honours cap belonging to Roland Bryan Stratton.
Images courtesy of Hockey Wales.

We also discovered that the Welsh caps were made by Ben Evans & Co, Swansea, which is clearly visible inside the lining of Stratton’s cap. The lining of Jones’s cap, however, was too frayed and indistinct to previously confirm this.

The iconic building of Ben Evans & Co (known as the Harrods of Wales) was sadly lost during WW2.

You can discover more about Roland’s story by way of this article from Hockey Wales: click here.


Ben Evans Co 02      Ben Evans Co fire
 The Ben Evans & Co building in Swansea known as the Harrods of Wales.    Fire gutted the Ben Evans & Co building during WW2 reducing it to rubble.


A Third Welsh Cap

Circulating information about these caps between THM and Hockey Wales also revealed the existence of another 1906 cap belonging to Maurice Stratton, a cousin of Roland, and another family member who played hockey for his country.


Maurice Stratton Cap low res
Maurice Stratton's Wales honours cap.

Unfortunately, although the playing careers of all three caps owners were intertwined it appears that they did not play together whilst representing their country.

Maurice Stratton and William Jones both played for Wales in 1906 but not in the same game.

Roland Stratton played for Wales in 1911 and 1914 whilst William Jones played in the two years in between (1912 and 1913).

From the dates stitched onto the caps cross-referenced with the playing records of each, it appears that a cap was awarded to a player on their first game. Quite literally a first cap.

The recent uncovering of these caps leads us to believe that there are others waiting to be identified, researched or requiring a future home for their preservation. A project the Museum, and I especially, would relish.


If you have information about honours caps, Welsh or otherwise, please make contact through the website contact form (click here) and your enquiry will reach me. Alternatively, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to email me directly.

On 3 March 2021 The Hockey Museum (THM) celebrated the 70th anniversary of the first England women’s hockey match at Wembley Stadium in 1951. In partnership with Talk Hockey Radio, we produced a podcast (The Special One - Epsiode 6) and video of the personal memories of Maggie Souyave, Anita White and Christabel Russell Vick. These received a fantastic response as other people – former players, umpires, spectators – got in touch with their recollections.

Frankly, they were too good not to share, so we have brought some of them together right here, alongside relevant gems from our archive, for your enjoyment.


Sheila Morrow

Former Wales and Great Britain Captain and current Great Britain President.

1981 wembley kim gordon sheila morrow
 Sheila Morrow (front) in action for Wales against England at Wembley in 1981.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Anita White, Maggie Souyave, Chris Russell Vick and Kate Richardson Walsh’s reminiscences about Wembley – it brought back lots of memories of the three occasions I was lucky enough to play there myself in 1969, 1975 and of course 1981 when I captained Wales and had the honour of presenting the Welsh team to the Queen as Maggie's opposite number.

I could certainly relate to the stories about various aspects of the day although my memories were somewhat different;

  • The wall of sound​ as you came out of the tunnel was really daunting for us as the few Welsh voices in the crowd were blotted out and all we could hear was "England, England"!
  • We were impressed by the steak served at the pre-match lunch in 1969 but we missed the lunch altogether in 1975 as our coach got lost getting to Wembley from central London and we arrived really late. In fact, it was a miracle we arrived at all as the traffic on Wembley Way was chock-a-block and we had to have a police escort up the wrong side of the dual carriageway to get through.
  • I share Maggie's pride at meeting the Queen and again, remember our brief conversation although mine was all about the weather and her hope that the rain would hold off!I can relate also to Kate's mind-freeze over names - I did get one wrong, forgetting that Sue Crowley had been married for 2 years and introducing her to the Queen as Sue Board, much to her annoyance (Sue not the Queen).
  • I was also an IM Marsh College student – albeit a few years before Maggie!  and although Maureen Short (a former England international herself) congratulated me on my selection for Wales she did not offer to pay for my tracksuit. In 1969 I found myself playing against two of my lecturers (Hazel Feltwell and Kath Burrows) and in 1975 playing against Anne Whitworth (hockey captain at IM Marsh when I was there) together with both Anita (who was England Captain) and Maggie.

I was also very interested to listen to the comparisons between international hockey in my era and what happens today. I share Kate's regret that there is little time today for spending social time with the opposition as we did through our formal dinners - even the after match teas were an opportunity to talk informally with the opposition albeit in Wales, it was often a case of ‘FBH’ (family hold back!) on the food as most teas were catered for by the host club!

Thank you all for bringing back these memories.


Vicky Dixon

Former England and Great Britain international player.

Vicky Dixon in action vs Netherlands in 1987
Vicky Dixon in action for England against the Netherlands in 1987.

I’ve just listened to the Wembley podcast and thought it was brilliant. Brings back memories doesn’t it? Maggie Souyave, Anita White, Chris Russell Vick and Kate Richardson Walsh were great. When Maggie spoke about me giving her the bouquet so that she could present it to the Queen, I was just relieved that she hadn’t realised I’d initially forgotten the bouquet and had to run all round the greyhound track back to the changing rooms and return with a rather ‘wind-swept’ set of flowers. Happy days!


Evlyn Raistrick

Former Scottish and International Hockey Federation (FIH) umpire.

I was selected to umpire at Wembley in 1980 and travelled down on the Scottish team bus – no neutral umpires in those days. The Wembley pitch I remember as being slightly domed so for a small umpire it seemed almost as if the game was above me. I umpired with Mary Harris, with Brenda Bradford on the klaxon. I did blow, the klaxon went, no one heard and Val Robinson scored a goal which was disallowed. That didn’t go down very well. Umpires wore white blazers – I borrowed one from Catherine Clarke – no way I was going to buy one for one appearance. We wore grey skirts of regulation length and white gloves – which I still have, using them to put on fine tights, occasionally!

[Exerpt from The Magic of Wembley book.]


Pru Carter nee French

Former England International player.

1975 Pru Carter Arriving Wembley P Carter
 Pru Carter arriving at Wembley Stadium in 1975.
Image courtesy of Pru Carter.

My first experience of Wembley was when my Mum took me to watch in 1968 when England played the Netherlands. I played club hockey after my Dad had taught me some skills and talked through how to play the game. He and my brother both played, so I was keen to follow suit. Our trip to Wembley was by train and I can remember the walk along Wembley Way passing the mass of coaches filled with schoolgirls waving various banners and flags and the community singing with Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart when inside the stadium. We had a wonderful day and Mum and I went together for a couple more years until I was at Chelsea College of PE. I then went on one of the College coaches filled with students – all in our College Cloaks! For years after I took school parties in our own hired coaches and it was always an excuse to get out the cloak for the Wembley match and meet friends from all over the country.

It was an amazing experience when I eventually played at Wembley against Wales in 1975. Mum and Dad were watching with my husband, and also a coach party from the school where I taught. The match was shown on TV. It always stated on the back of the spectator’s tickets that “The holder thereof shall not take a camera or photographic apparatus of any description into the stadium, nor shall the holder take any cinematograph picture or photograph of any kind.” It further stated that any photographic apparatus would be confiscated, so I only have a few press photographs of the occasion. No wonder photographs of these games are so difficult to track down. I can’t remember us doing a lap of honour but I do remember consciously not allowing myself to show signs of celebration when I scored a goal in my debut match – it wasn’t the ‘done thing’ to celebrate in those days! However, I remember the goal to this day, a brilliant cross from Maggie or Val on the right, for me to sweep in on the left post, finishing on my back!

We had to hire the cardinal red skirt, making sure it was professionally cleaned and the pleats tacked before returning. We had to purchase our white shirt, cardinal red socks, and in our year it was black pants which were most important! The white blazer with the England badge and tracksuit were other items we could buy. It was all so different from what I had been used to with Great Britain and England Athletics where we were given our kit and tracksuits on an annual basis and we could ask for extra if necessary! Sponsorship was obviously so different back then, although looking at the prices, it seems so little nowadays.

Listening to the wonderful interview, it brought back some extra memories:

  • Before the game, listening to requests on the Ed Stewart Radio Show and opening the good luck telegrams and cards.
  • The umpires having to wear white gloves so that the person working the klaxon could see the hand signals.
  • The ball girls were England B players who obviously knew exactly where to place the ball, thus very little rest when the ball went off the pitch.
  • The Wembley bath – a good bit of fun.
  • I can remember looking at the carved signatures of Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton and all the 1966 England World Cup-winning football team on the back of the toilet doors in the changing room.

Such great memories for so many of us.


Jean Fitch

Schoolgirl spectator.

I went to the England vs Ireland international match in 1984. I still have the banner. England were beaten 1-0 by Ireland.

My lasting memory of the day was the ear-drum thundering noise, which completely erupted when an England player had the ball. 37 years later, I am still playing hockey, mainly walking hockey but I do still step out as a goalkeeper for veterans matches and club games, if needed.

Wembley 1984 From the Crowd Eng V Ire 1      Wembley 1984 From the Crowd Eng V Ire 2      Wembley 1984 From the Crowd Eng V Ire 3
Wembley 1984 From the Crowd Eng V Ire 4   Wembley 1984 From the Crowd Eng V Ire 5   Wembley 1984 From the Crowd Eng V Ire 6
Wembley 1984 From the Crowd Eng V Ire 7   Wembley 1984 From the Crowd Eng V Ire 9   Wembley 1984 From the Crowd Eng V Ire 10
A schoolgirl's eye view of the England vs Ireland international at Wembley in 1984.
Images courtesy of Jean Finch.


Neil Durden-Smith

Sports commentator.

It was quite a small commentary box [at Wembley]. I say noisy but of course one had to get there early to rehearse ... but I think we went up in a lift to the commentary box and the noise level then slowly mounted as they all arrived. By the time the match started it was deafening ... I had to ask for the effects to be turned down all the time. I had to say every year, “For goodness sake, turn the effects down” because, wearing the cans, the headphones, you got the effects in one ear and the director in the other ear and you had got to be able to hear the director and you had got to be able to talk to him so that he could hear you. I had to say, “Please turn the effects down”. And the noise? It was continuous noise, it didn’t go up and down it was just continuous. But it was marvellous really, they were just fantastic occasions, they really were very exciting.

Rachel Heyhoe Flint [co-commentator for Wembley matches]  the unique and only Rachel Heyhoe Flint, or Flinters as I called her  we were very good chums for a long, long time because I knew her when she was playing cricket for England ... This particular year, I think it was 1982, we were playing against Holland at Wembley and she sat next to me on a chair in the commentary box on a platform for the two of us. We had what was called a lazy talkback microphone on, with which you could talk to the director without the viewer hearing you – it was just between him and you – and after about ten minutes of the match I said to Scrim [the director], “Can you give me a close up of the Dutch goalkeeper when there is a bit of dead play next?” And somebody got injured five minutes later and play stopped and he said, “Coming up Admiral, a close up of the Dutch goalkeeper” and there she was in the middle of the screen. I said, “She’s a marvellous, absolutely marvellous servant to Dutch ladies' hockey for all these years. She is a nursing sister at a big hospital in Amsterdam and what’s more she has got 47 Dutch caps”. At which stage Flinters fell off her chair onto the floor and she was in total hysterics. She couldn’t get up for about ten minutes, she had the serious giggles and I had to just carry on with this wreck down on the floor. Later she used to tell the story at dinners and lunches.

[Exerpt from The Hockey Museum's oral history interview with Neil.]


Janet Turner

Huntingdonshire PE teacher.

I have spent the most enjoyable morning for some time watching THM’s 70th Anniversary Wembley film. It brought back memories of each March from 1958-1963 when I took a party of girls to Wembley for the hockey.

At that time Hunts was Marjorie Pollard territory and a very agricultural area. There was always great excitement as the Hockey Field magazine arrived with its call of "Are we going to Wembley?" and the notice to sign up was posted on the notice board. This day out became a very ‘big deal’ for these children – some gave me money in instalments, as and when they could afford it, and I would look after it for them. I used to run an indoor hockey tournament at lunchtimes through the winter and players and spectators paid 1d (old money!) to participate. It was amazing how the total mounted up and the funds went towards the cost. The First XI players were paid for by the school!

We always had a coach full of keen youngsters. Some of the younger girls were a bit nervous at the huge numbers in the Stadium and the noise, but all thoroughly enjoyed the day and came back for more each year. Some of those ‘girls’ are now nearly 80 and turned out to be very good hockey players. Those still in touch remember the hockey with fondness.

Thank you for then and thank you for now.


Wendy Justice nee Fraser

Scotland and Great Britain international player.

Wendy Justice nee Fraser and Alison Ramsay
 Wendy Justice (nee Fraser) and Alison Ramsay still turn out for Scotland Masters.

I loved watching the 70th Wembley podcast as I have so many great memories of going to Wembley as a schoolgirl and later as a Scottish player.

I have to confess that my recollections of the Wembley occasion when attending as a schoolgirl includes very little of the game incidents themselves. My lasting memories are the banners that we made, the singing, and the chaperoning of us as a group so as not to lose anyone... and me cheering for England – what an admission! I did not travel down from Scotland to spectate as my father worked in London from 1969 to 1978 and we lived in Kingsbury, not that far from Wembley. I attended Fryent Primary School, Kingsbury and Claremont High School, Harrow. My early representative hockey was with Middlesex U14 before moving to Glasgow as a 14 year old.

Watching the video, I was strangely deflated to discover that in fact the largest attendance crowd was in 1976 for the England v Scotland fixture. I’d always delighted in informing family and friends that I was once in the Guinness Book of World Records as I was one of the attending schoolgirl spectators in 1978 at the largest attendance for a women’s game (65,165) for the match between England and the USA. It is possible that I attended the 1976 fixture, so I’ll just have to change my story slightly!

Playing for Scotland at Wembley in 1985 will forever be etched in my mind as one of the best ever hockey spectacle experiences and for me at that time was the pinnacle of what I aspired to achieve. I’d been there and experienced the atmosphere as a child so knew how great it would be to be there as a player and perhaps my old PE teacher would get along to watch? I’d also enjoyed watching the video footage of the 1972 Wembley match where Marietta Craigie scored twice as a 19 year old (I believe) to secure the Scotland their famous 2-1 win over England – it was easily my most signed out archive from the college library! I aspired to emulating, if not surpassing, her feat. When I eventually got to play in 1985 – what a day!

I was a fourth-year university student at the time and a good percentage of my fellow PE students had bused and trained it down to Wembley to be there for the occasion. We players were just given just the one complimentary ticket, so Mum got to be a ‘VIP’ while Dad and the rest of the travelling support had to tough it out amongst the hordes of English schoolgirls. My personal memories of that day were:

  • The photo shoot in the stadium before the crowd were allowed in.
  • The walk out in our blazers to the deafening noise.
  • The claxons being used so the umpires’ whistles could be heard.
  • Going down with cramp late on in the game.
  • Being applauded round a lap of honour!
  • Our corner injector having to try and wrestle a ball off a ball girl who was waving to her family in the crowd (that ball girl later went on to achieve a wealth of caps for both England and Great Britain).
  • The near expulsion from the stadium of my dad following his decision to forcibly remove a large banner from group of schoolgirls in order that he could see and applaud Scotland, and particularly his daughter, on their lap of honour.

Despite the disappointment of losing 3-0, the defeat inspired us to strive to better ourselves in order to dream of exacting revenge on our Auld Enemy.

A huge well done to The Hockey Museum for all the great work done to retain the history of this fabulous sport and to Talk Hockey Radio for this great Podcast.


Alison Ramsay

Former Scotland and Great Britain international player.

My memory of the one and only game I played in at Wembley in 1985 is primarily around the experience itself rather than the result … not surprising given Scotland were beaten by England 3-0 that day. Walking out onto the pitch down the famous Wembley tunnel was amazing. By the mid ‘80s the number of schools making trips to visit the stadium had reduced – it was still over 40,000! – but the noise level from the school children was still ear-splitting! I can’t remember (or maybe have chosen to forget) much about the game itself apart from the fact that the grass was quite long and thick and not ideal to play on. And even with a klaxon rather than a whistle it was almost impossible for the umpires to make themselves heard. Immediately after the game (no lengthy warm downs or ice baths back in the ‘80s) we went back down that famous tunnel again and there was much singing and general hilarity amongst the players in the huge bath that held a whole team in it. Great memories.


Jenny Cardwell

Former England international player and former England and Great Britain Coach and Manager.

1972 England women
The 1972 England women's team. Jenny Cardwell is standing third from left.

My first chance of playing for England at Wembley was in 1970. I was only a reserve so I wasn’t likely to play because substitutes were not allowed in those days. How different to when I later coached and then managed the national side. As it turned out we never got to Wembley that year. The surface was so bad after the annual Horse of the Year Show that the game was transferred to the White City Stadium. I sat next to the Australian reserve Janet Beverley and we have been good friends ever since.

I was picked as reserve the next year for the game against Wales. On our way back from practice on the Friday afternoon Barbara Harvey fell down a step injuring her ankle. Pam Edwards took Barbara and I to A&E at University College Hospital. The ankle was too swollen to diagnose the damage. Barbara and I shared a room and it was quite obvious the next morning that she would not be able to play. It was a tragedy for Barbara, a fellow East player, particularly as her father was coming to Wembley in an ambulance to see his daughter play, but an exciting opportunity for me.

After the match I had a problem with my contact lens. In my normal routine I took the lens out to clean it, but when I went to put it back in the wind blew it off my finger. I was searching for it in the grass and a police constable came over to help me. “You go off, love, and do your lap of honour with the other girls and I will look for it.” he said. “No chance” I thought but I followed his advice. I was in the changing room with the rest of the team when there was a knock at the door. “Jenny, it’s for you” somebody called out. It was the policeman with my lens! He had shone his torch on the grass and saw the lens sparkle. How lucky was that and how grateful was I! Ever since then I’ve always taken a spare set with me.

By Christabel Russell Vick

I grew up knowing that the Wembley hockey international was the biggest fixture in the women’s hockey calendar. When I talked to my mother (Mary Russell Vick) about her hockey career, I was amazed to discover that these matches at the iconic Wembley Stadium were entirely down to my grandfather, Godfrey Russell Vick, her father-in-law. So how did the story unfold?

England Women’s international hockey matches had first been played in 1896 and by the 1920s they were attracting large crowds. In 1921 a match held in Old Deer Park, Richmond was attended by 1,809 spectators. The All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA) had encouraged the tradition that one of the international matches every year became the ‘club and school’ day out. This proved very successful and after the 1933 match at Merton Abbey when spectators were four or five deep around the ropes and the stand was full, they moved to The Oval in 1935. This held 10,000 but crowds continued to grow and in 1948 the AEWHA Annual General Meeting minutes record that it was no longer considered a suitable venue.

My mother was playing for England in the 1949 match at The Oval and Godfrey went to watch. He spoke to the President of the AEWHA, Helen Armfield, and asked why the women were not playing at Wembley. On hearing that the stadium would not have them Godfrey railed at the ridiculousness of the situation and said he would ring Sir Arthur Elvin (formerly the owner and then Chairman of the Wembley company) and tell him so. This he duly did – Godfrey presumably knew him from his socialising in London where he was a barrister – and in 1951 the first game took place. The AEWHA did have to guarantee a crowd of 20,000, but thanks to the support of British Rail who agreed to run special trains into Wembley Central, there were about 30,000 spectators.


MP Action Shot 1955      MP 1955 Schoolgirls
An action shot and a close up of the Wembley crowd, 1955.
Images from the Marjorie Pollard collection, The Hockey Museum.  

It was realised that many of the players selected for the 1951 match did not know each other and so, to ensure they played their best in such a large arena, a practise match was arranged for the team at the end of February. Now better prepared, the England team played in the first match on Saturday 3 March 1951. The commentary ran as follows: “The trouble with England is that they are such slow starters … Oh they have got a goal” – Mary Russell Vick had scored after nine seconds. England went on to beat Ireland 6-1. Godfrey was of course present at the match and was asked to the dinner afterwards to respond to the ‘toast to the guests’ given by the venerable Marjorie Pollard.

So began an annual event which lasted for 41 years. Mary also played in the 1952 and 1953 matches before retiring with over 30 international caps and having scored 70 goals.


Mary Russell Vick 1950s
 Mary Ruseel Vick in action at Wembley during the early 1950s

That could have been the end of the story but my mother was very much brought up to give back and so continued to be involved on an administrative basis. She represented the South on the All England coaching sub-committee and in 1970 became Chair of that committee which meant she was also a member of the AEWHA Executive Committee. She was lobbied to become a Vice-president in 1971 and then in 1976 became President of AEWHA.

Among other things, this put her in charge of organising the Wembley matches, which she did for the next ten years. By then we always had an annual trip as a family to Wembley. I think my first visit was in 1965. I must admit the thrill of seeing my mother on the pitch escorting the guest of honour gave me tremendous pride. Of course, when the Queen was guest of honour in 1981 – that was a day never to forget. Especially singing ‘God Save the Queen’ to the actual Queen!


1981 queen tour      Mary RV and Queen Elizabeth II
 Her Majesty the Queen tours Wembley Stadium before the England vs Wales hockey match in 1981.    AEWHA President Mary Russell Vick with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1981.

It is only now that I realise how extraordinary the whole event was. It was the schoolgirls’ day out at Wembley and many were delighted to keep up with their brothers who went to football there. In total I went about 20 times. The noise had to be heard to be believed. Apparently, they once tested the sound level which showed all the screaming schoolgirls had a higher decibel count than Concorde (the fastest aeroplane at that time). I loved the community singing before the match with a radio DJ, which gave everyone a chance to let off some steam and wave banners.

For players, it was a highlight of their career. Many of them had been as spectators with their schools which enhanced their determination to play for England. For umpires too, it was a privilege to be asked but such a different experience. The crowd noise was such that the players could not hear the whistle. The highest crowd figures were 68,000 in 1976, when England beat Scotland 3-0. For many club hockey players, the trip to Wembley also became the annual day out, arriving early, meeting up with old friends and having picnics in the car park. Many were also supporting one or more of the players from their clubs who were in the England team.


Wembley Programmes and Rossettes
 Wembley programmes and homemade rossettes from Christabel's personal collection.

When I joined The Hockey Museum as a volunteer, I was honoured to be asked to compile a book about the Wembley era using the extensive research already done by Nan Williams (herself a former England international and Wembley player). I had a wonderful time putting together The Magic of Wembley, a book celebrating the Wembley years. It tells the story of the move to Wembley, the memories of players, spectators and administrators, the day the Queen came, the changing face of the matches over the years and the Wembley legacy – the unique story of a pioneering and iconic era for women’s sport and for hockey.

The book is available from The Hockey Museum website. For more information click here. To place an order, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (to email) or click through to THM's website contact form and select "THM Shop" from the dropdown menu.

For more great hockey history stories, sign up to THM Mailing List using this quick and easy online form.


Sharing Heritage: THM Completes Its Oral History Project Funded By HLF

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Reel-y Good News: THM Wins HLF Support To Digitise Films

The Hockey Museum has been awarded a grant of £15,300 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to enable it to digitise its collection of nearly 100 old hockey films dating back to the 1930s. This project will preserve the films and also make them available for viewing by a wide range...

Bollywood And Hockey

21 July 2016
Bollywood And Hockey

Alia Bhatt at premiere of 'Udta Punjab'. The recently released Bollywood movie Udta Punjab has something special for the hockey lovers. The movie, which focuses on the drug abuse problem in the Indian state of Punjab, has hockey as a major influence with actor Alia Bhatt playing a role of a...

A Boost For THM's Worldwide Hockey Heritage Study

27 June 2016
A Boost For THM's Worldwide Hockey Heritage Study

Katie Dodd addresses the FIH reception during the Champions Trophy; credit: Jon Rye. The Hockey Museum (THM) was delighted to welcome Leandro Negre, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) President, to its reception to promote the current Worldwide Scoping Study, held in THM exhibition marquee during the Women’s Champions Trophy. The...

When Alice Met Helen

23 June 2016
When Alice Met Helen

Alice Hannan, aged 10 from The Holy Family Catholic Primary School in Surrey, met Great Britain star Helen Richardson-Walsh on Tuesday. Alice, the winner of The Hockey Museum's (THM) Art of Hockey competition, was presented with art materials, a signed copy of her winning artwork and a signed miniature hockey...

The Hockey Museum At The Champions Trophy In Olympic Park, London

22 June 2016
The Hockey Museum At The Champions Trophy In Olympic Park, London

We are now into the second week of the Men’s and Women’s Champions Trophy Events at the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and The Hockey Museum (THM) marquee and exhibition have again been a great attraction for many of the spectators who braved...

Feast Your Eyes On Newsletter Vol.8

20 June 2016

Our latest newsletter is now available to download. Catch up on all the latest going ons at The Hockey Museum by following this link. You'll also discover an archive of all previous newsletters. Shane Smith, 20 June 2016

HRH Queen Elizabeth's Birthday Honour For Pat Rowley

20 June 2016
HRH Queen Elizabeth's Birthday Honour For Pat Rowley

Pat Rowley; credit: Dil Bahra Pat Rowley, one of our co-founder Trustees, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for Services to Hockey in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List published on 11 June 2016. One of the most senior hockey writers in the world, Pat has been involved in hockey...

Winners Announced For The Art Of Hockey Competition

09 June 2016

With just eight weeks to go before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games begin, the winning piece of artwork has been chosen from a bumper batch of entries in The Hockey Museum’s Art of Hockey competition. The competition, supported by The National Hockey Foundation, invited children to design their own piece...

What Can You Tell Us About Hockey’s Worldwide Heritage?

18 April 2016

This is an exciting time for hockey’s international heritage. Over the past five years, The Hockey Museum (THM) has established itself as the lead organisation to support hockey heritage in the UK. The museum is now working with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to expand this work worldwide. The aim...

Less Than One Month To Enter The Art Of Hockey Competition

08 April 2016
Less Than One Month To Enter The Art Of Hockey Competition

Primary schools have less than one month until The Hockey Museum’s Art of Hockey competition closes. The Hockey Museum’s Art of Hockey competition, supported by The National Hockey Foundation, is open to primary schools across the United Kingdom. Children are invited to design their own piece of two-dimensional artwork about...

A Marathon Effort

29 March 2016

Financing the setting up and the running of our museum has been a very interesting exercise over the past five years. The money came initially and mainly from our Volunteers and Friends, without whom there would never have been The Hockey Museum. More latterly our endeavours have been rewarded by...

Irish Olympic Silver Medal: Oh No It Isn’t!

15 March 2016
Irish Olympic Silver Medal: Oh No It Isn’t!

In January we thought that we had found one of the 'Holy Grail' items of hockey when it was reported from Dublin that one of the 1908 Olympic Silver Medals had been discovered. We only had a small photo to go on but, as Ireland took the silver medal in...

Centenarian Still Going Strong

08 March 2016

Former Royal Navy hockey player Admiral Dick Wildish has celebrated his 101st birthday. He played in the Inter Services hockey matches in 1939 and again in 1946 and is currently the longest serving Vice President of the Royal Navy Hockey Association (RNHA), having been elected in 1970. During WW2 he...

Situations Vacant

25 February 2016

The Hockey Museum (THM) is a volunteer-led organisation and our fifty volunteers are responsible for everything that the museum achieves. Yet, as more people hear about THM and our reputation grows, there is more to be done. Not everything happens at the Museum itself in Woking. Whilst we are actively...

The Art Of Hockey: THM Launches Primary School Art Competition

23 February 2016
The Art Of Hockey: THM Launches Primary School Art Competition

This week, The Hockey Museum (THM) launches a UK-wide competition for primary schools, with the winning design being displayed at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The Hockey Museum's Art of Hockey competition, supported by The National Hockey Foundation, is open to primary schools across the United Kingdom. Children are invited...

Gavin Featherstone Joins THM Team

17 February 2016

Well-known and well-travelled hockey coach and author Gavin Featherstone has joined The Hockey Museum volunteers team as the principle reviewer for our new website feature page Book Reviews. We hope to review at least one book per month and we have quite a backlog. Perhaps surprisingly to some there are...

Feast Your Eyes On Newsletter Vol.7

04 February 2016

Our latest newsletter is now available to download. Catch up on all the latest going ons at The Hockey Museum by following this link. You'll also discover an archive of all previous newsletters. Shane Smith, 4 February 2016

The Irishman Cometh: David Balbirnie Visits THM

01 February 2016
The Irishman Cometh: David Balbirnie Visits THM

Last week The Hockey Museum (THM) had the pleasure of welcoming David Balbirnie, the Museum's International Hockey Federation (FIH) nominated Trustee, to our Woking home. The appointment of Irishman Mr Balbirnie, the former European Hockey Federation Hon. General Secretary, to THM Board Of Trustees is a sign of the Museum's increasingly...

The Hockey Writers' Club Lunch 2016 And The Commemorative Pennant

26 January 2016
The Hockey Writers' Club Lunch 2016 And The Commemorative Pennant

At the annual Hockey Writers' Club Lunch on 20 January 2016, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) President, Leandro Negre, made his customary, 'The State of Hockey' address to a room packed with hockey media, candidates for the Hockey Writers' annual awards and hockey enthusiasts and supporters. It is always a...

THM Announces Study To Scope Hockey’s Worldwide Heritage

20 January 2016
THM Announces Study To Scope Hockey’s Worldwide Heritage

The Hockey Museum (THM) is delighted to announce that it has awarded the contract to scope hockey's worldwide heritage to the Justine Reilly Consultancy (JRC). The team will be headed up by Dr Justine Reilly, who has 15 years experience of managing large multi-partner heritage programmes and extensive experience of...

The Hockey Museum Launches First Ever Calendar

19 January 2016
The Hockey Museum Launches First Ever Calendar

The Hockey Museum (THM) has launched a limited-edition calendar for 2016. Featuring a stylish and clean aesthetic in-keeping with THM’s branding, the calendar is illustrated with highlights from the Museum’s varied and ever-expanding collection of artefacts and archives from across the centuries, as well as notable dates throughout the year...

Irish Silver Medal Discovered

18 January 2016
Irish Silver Medal Discovered

At the 1908 London Olympics, six nations participated in what was the first Olympic hockey competition. The gold medal was won by England who beat Ireland 8-1 in the final. We have seen several of the gold medals and indeed we have one in our collection at The Hockey Museum....

An Enquiry To Cap It All

08 January 2016
An Enquiry To Cap It All

Interest in The Hockey Museum is partly reflected in the ever increasing number of enquiries that we receive. Hockey is a very wide ranging subject and so are the questions. Invariably we find at least part of the answer but one recent question has us stumped. The photograph to the...


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