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First XI exhibition 02

A sneak peek of one particularly colourful corner of the exhibition.

Following our recent move to new and larger premises in central Woking, THM has put on its first, in-house exhibition: The Hockey Museum First XI.

Today, hockey teams can field up of sixteen players (and eighteen in World Events): one goalkeeper, ten outfield players and five substitutes, but when ‘modern hockey’ began in the late 19th century, no substitutes were permitted and teams were only allowed eleven players. Over time, the best team in a club or at international level, became known as the ‘First Eleven’ or ‘1st XI’ – this is where this exhibition takes its name.

Conceived by our curatorial team to introduce visitors to the wealth and variety of material in the Museum’s collections, it comprises eleven objects that offer a brief but tantalising insight into hockey. They represent a truly global sport, covering all eras and levels, from playing to administration, from early club hockey to the modern day international game.

install 01  install 02 
Above: installing the exhibition in 13 High Street, Woking.
Below, right: the 'Wow Wall' that greets visitors to the Museum.

The eleven exhibits are:

  • Early twentieth-century, digitised cine-film of international matches and various coaching videos that show how hockey has evolved.
  • A replica of a bas relief carving depicting what looks to be a stick-and-ball game (possibly an early form of hockey) being played in ancient Greece.
  • The Typhoo Cup awarded to the winner of hockey matches played at Wembley stadium in 1980s.
  • The old FIH flag, which illustrates the story of the development of hockey’s international governing body.
  • First XI exhibition wallSubbuteo table-top hockey game and associated paraphernalia.
  • Technical Delegate’s blazer from the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980.
  • The Mitton Challenge Shield – a trophy from the 1920s awarded to the winners of one of the early ladies’ leagues that existed in the north of England.
  • The Hockey Maker – an oil painting depicting traditional hockey stick manufacturing on the Indian Sub-continent.
  • A piece of the artificial pitch used at the London Olympics in 2012 that tells the story of the evolution from grass playing surfaces.
  • A rare example of Grenville’s Pickering St George metal-edged hockey stick from the early 1900s.
  • A World War 2 water bottle with bullet hole illustrating a story from the Museum’s Hockey’s Military Stories research project.

Each object is accompanied by supporting stories and additional display items that explore the wider narrative of each exhibit. Additionally, there is a range of other display items on the first floor. Visitors can also visit THM Library, which houses the largest collection of hockey books, magazines and associated publications in the world.

The exhibition is not just for adults. Here at THM we are passionate about engaging young people. You can discover hockey’s fascinating history alongside your child(ren) – just look out for the ‘children’s trail’ as you navigate the exhibition. You can have lots of fun and there are interesting questions and activities for you to tackle together.

Come and visit the exhibition at 13 High Street, Woking, Surrey – our new home just 100 yards down from the station. We know it will whet your appetite to discover more about the fascinating history and heritage of hockey.

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