Blasts From The Past

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 G Hardy Brass Buttons low res


The Hockey Museum (THM) has recently acquired a set of blazer buttons that once adorned the England blazer of George Hardy. These buttons, emblazoned (ahem) with the HA logo of the Hockey Association, presumably made their way to Hardy’s fellow England player, Captain John Yate Robinson who passed them down through the Robinson family line. The buttons were donated to the museum by Robinson's great nephew.

Quite how or why the buttons passed from Hardy to Robinson is lost in the fog of time. Whilst our Great Britain match records are now complete, the England records are not finalised and have yet to be fully researched and cross-referenced. What records we do have show that Hardy played only one game for England, against France on 18 April 1908 in Paris. Robinson didn’t play in that game but did play against Scotland two weeks earlier in Edinburgh and then subsequently, after Hardy’s sole England appearance, in the London Olympic Games in October 1908 (winning gold). Hardy played for Brooklands, Cheshire and the North; Robinson for Oxford University and the South. Despite never having been in the same England side together (as best we know), somehow these buttons passed from Hardy to the descendants of John Yate Robinson; and what happened to his blazer?

A mystery then, but an intriguing one. The buttons, which innocuously spell out HA-HA-HA, appear to delight in their ambiguity, mocking our efforts to establish absolute provenance. The brass cheek of it.

Shane Smith
04.09.2020

On 14 April 1935 (not 1938 as stated on this British Pathé YouTube clip), Germany women played England women in Berlin. The result was 6-4 victory for England. An unexpected tour given the precarious political situation in Europe.

The England team line up: Eileen Arnold (GK), Mary Knott (Cptn), Marjorie Collins, Phyl Carlebach, Ruth Maddox, Rebecca Blaxland, Angela Pilley, Hilary Redman, Christina Goodman, Marjorie Pollard, Rosemary Marriott.
One of the umpires was LM Scott (England); the other was presumably German, but we do not yet know her name.

We believe that England forward Angela Pilley was something of a principled, social justice campaigner and the family tale has it that she upset the All England Women's Hockey Association (AEWHA) by refusing to give the Nazi salute whilst running out between two lines of Hitler Youth. This would've been totally contrary to her beliefs and she is alleged to have made an anti-Nazi statement to the press afterwards. After this tour, which also included a match against the Netherlands in Haarlem, she was not officially selected for England again.

Reports of other England games in 1935 mention Angela as a fast and effective forward. She was clearly in her prime. An editorial in Hockey Field magazine in 1936 notes that, “Mrs Pilley does not even appear in the reserves list this year – surely the biggest surprise of all. According to reports from the territorial matches, Mrs Pilley has been up to form and lost none of her speed and initiative.”

Was Angela Pilley dropped for her political stance? We have yet to uncover concrete evidence of a statement to the German or English press, nor for that matter a reason given for her omission in the AEWHA minutes. We can see that none of the England team give the Nazi salute in the British Pathé video, but the national anthems (as shown) would've been after the runout (which isn’t). Were the England team made to salute, and did they? How did Pilley react?

Whatever the truth – and we may yet discover it – was there ever a time when selection didn’t surprise somebody?

 

Germany Women vs England Women, 14.04.1935

https://youtu.be/qOMNA-1Z7z8

Winchester HC 2017 2018

The Hockey Museum recently received a Winchester HC fixture card for the 2017-2018 season.

This came as a bit of a surprise as we knew that many (most?) clubs no longer produce such a publication. With the availability of information on the internet and social media they have become virtually redundant and the new GDPR personal data rules make it more difficult to provide contact details.

Historically, fixture cards provide a wealth of knowledge, not just about the club in question but who they played against. From this and other data we have determined that some 8,000 clubs have existed in England since the first in 1891 that is both men's and women's. We are avidly trying to collect these fixture cards as they provide a significant insight into the make-up of hockey through the years. If you have any, please send them to us.

Mike Smith, 25 October 2018

Old Creightonians and Old Olympians

Mike Smith, Curator of THM (left) discusses the
Old Creightonians HC archive with Simon Lawton-Smith (right).

At The Hockey Museum (THM) we receive at least one collection each week, but not many have a twist in the story like this one.

A recent visit by Simon Lawton-Smith brought us the club records of the Old Creightonians HC, a very active club in Middlesex for over fifty years. Originally the ‘Old Boys’ of Kilburn Grammar School, when the school closed and they ran out of ‘Old Boys’ to solely sustain player numbers – a not uncommon scenario – they changed the name to simply Creightonians HC. Although now disbanded, the club lives on with regular social and golfing gatherings. With their records lodged with THM, however, the name will live on in annals of hockey.

The twist in the story came whilst showing Simon around the Museum. We mentioned our 1908 Olympic gold medal to which he responded, “My family has one of those!” Simon’s grandfather, Herbert Smith, was in the gold medal-winning side of 1908, not for hockey but for football. Like us at THM, the family keep the medal in a safe but what a wonderful twist that 110 years on the stories of these two successes should come together.

Mike Smith, 28 August 2018

Over the past couple of years, a considerable amount of material, including a large collection of trophies, has come to THM from Cannock HC. It was rescued from the former National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes by Laurie Alcock, affectionately known as 'Mr Cannock'. Had Laurie not saved it, the cabinets and artefacts would have been lost to hockey but the Museum now has both.

We are still working our way through cataloguing the trophies but the accompanying photos show two of the gems that we have found.

Indian Air Force Trophy 03      Windmill silver trophy 


One (above, left) was presented to The Hockey Association in 1962 by the Indian Air Force hockey team on the occasion of their visit to the UK. We know that at least one more of these exists with the Royal Navy Hockey Association and we suspect that the Army and the RAF also received one during the visit. If you have any information on this trip do please contact Mike (through our contact form) to let us know.

The other trophy (above, right) was presented to The Hockey Association on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary in 1936 by the Dutch Hockey Association. It is a quite beautiful windmill with full sails all made from silver. Sadly, it was very battered and the moving parts didn’t survive! We approached a well-known hockey enthusiast and former Great Britain women’s Manager, Chris Pickett, for help. Chris owns Pickett and Pursers, the renowned jewellers in Petersfield and they have kindly restored it to its former glory. Thank you, Chris, for saving one of our finest possessions.

Mike Smith, July 2018

The All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA) Collection is looked after at the University of Bath by their Archivist, Lizzie Richmond. The collection contains many unique and irreplaceable items documenting the evolution of women’s hockey in the UK.

Two items, the Hockey Jottings scrapbook and the very first minute book of the AEWHA dating from 1896, were in a particularly poor state of repair making them very difficult to interrogate without further damaging them. Following the award of a grant from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust, Lizzie Richmond and THM arranged for conservator Clare Prince to undertake the painstaking work to restore them. The scrapbook is one of the most precious and fragile items in the collection and was the work of Edith Thompson who went on to be one of women’s hockey’s great early twentieth-century pioneers. This book was compiled in 1898 while she was still a student at King’s College in London. It contains poems, match reports, player profiles and original watercolour illustrations.

 

scrapbook 16  scrapbook 17 

Illustrated extracts from the scrapbook.

The scrapbook was in very poor condition and required urgent restoration; its binding was breaking down and its covers were held together with disfiguring Sellotape. There were tears around page edges and across text and images. It was almost impossible to handle it without causing further damage and losses. Prince’s work focussed on rectifying these three distinct areas.

scrapbook 01  scrapbook 03 

Front cover and pages of the scrapbook before conservation began.


Each tear was ‘patched’ with barely visible tissue and the Selloptape across the front cover was very carefully removed to protect the pen and watercolour designs underneath.

scrapbook 11   scrapbook 12

Applying a paper repair.

 

scrapbook 07   scrapbook 09

Removing Sellotape.

Finally, the reassembled scrapbook was resewn using the original red silk spine pieces and threads where possible.

The time-consuming restoration process to strengthen and stabilise the scrapbook will now ensure that its original, quirky charm and amateur spirit is preserved intact for future generations of historians, researchers and hockey players to study, learn from and enjoy.

 

Hockey Jottings cover after 01    Hockey Jottings scrapbook 02

Restored Hockey Jottings scrapbook

The next step will be to scan all the pages so that THM can reproduce copies of this fascinating book. Many more people will then be able to access a copy and marvel at its contents.

Katie Dodd, December 2019
Original text (by Lizzie Richmond, Archivist, University of Bath) updated to reflect completion of this project.

DAISYPULLSITOFF TECH16.jpeg

Photo from Daisy Pulls It Off, showing at the Park Theatre, Finsbury Park, London.
Photo courtesy of Tomas Turpie.

One of our eagle-eyed supporters spotted this wonderful image taken by Tomas Turpie in The Times newspaper last week. It was from a review of Daisy Pulls It Off, a play that has just opened on the London stage. Daisy, the star of the show, is a hockey player and she is using an old English head hockey stick – not just any stick, but a Mercian hockey stick and one that has a unique history, rooted in manufacturing tradition, that goes back to the Indian sub-continent.

One hundred and twenty years ago a hockey stick such as this would have been the perfect Christmas present for any hockey player of the era. Hockey was in its infancy and the sticks, the English Head stick, was devised, developed and manufactured in England by English sports equipment manufacturers. In those early decades of hockey, it was mainly played in Britain and the British Army took the game to the Indian sub-continent, thereby greatly expanding the sport’s exposure.

The vast numbers of troops out in India during Empire, in need of sport and recreation, put a great strain on the supply lines from Britain. Consequently, it was not long before the nimble, observant woodwork tradesmen of northern India, the Punjab to be precise, started repairing and soon replicating the sticks, bats, racquets etc. required by the Army. So, it was that the Indian Sports Goods Industry was born some time in the early years of the 20th century, before WW1.

I am very privileged to be the Curator of The Hockey Museum – to me, the most interesting job in the world. Part of my journey here was through a working life spent in the Sports Industry, starting at a time when equipment was still made by hand, by craftsmen and women. I was bold enough to start my own specialist hockey company, Mercian; you may have heard of it. This gave me the opportunity to visit India and Pakistan on a very regular basis because the vast majority of hockey sticks were made there, by hand, by craftsmen, and one needed to know who was making the best.

On one of my trips in the 1980s, one of my suppliers announced that he had someone for me to see. He took me to a workshop where a very old gentleman was waiting to meet me. He looked to be at least a centenarian but was in fact in his mid 80s. He had a smile that engulfed his face and he held on to our handshake as if never to let go. I was told that in the 1920s and ‘30s he used to make English Head hockey sticks. The gentleman proudly showed me his pre-partition identity pass which was issued by the governing British. I was in the presence of history! To his amazement, and that of others present, I sat down with him and we had the most magical morning. They already had some pre-bent stick heads and he proceeded to whittle away, slowly creating the finished shape. I did take part occasionally, trying to copy some of his amazingly skilful craftsmanship. The next morning, he had finished the woodworking side of a batch of sticks, all beautifully reminiscent of sticks that could have been made 50 or even 100 years earlier. They were made from wood from the same forests, with tools that had not changed and many were probably original, in workshops that had been used for carpentry before sports equipment took over.

I spoke to my supplier and suggested that as these sticks had been crafted so traditionally, they should be finished in a traditional manner, not with modern stickers or print. So, off we went into the city and bazaars that I doubted had changed for a long, long time. We arrived at a sort of very old Arkwright’s, where string bindings, old leather grips and all manner of ancient finishing materials were available, albeit covered in decades of dust, and believe me, it can get very dusty during summer in Northern India. My supplier explained to the shopkeeper that we were trying to make authentic sticks from the ‘20s and ‘30s. His face lit up, he disappeared and returned with a drawer full of paper hockey stick labels that had been produced by his father half a century earlier.

We now had blank sticks made by a craftsman in a totally traditional way. We had genuine antique bindings and labels and these would all be affixed using vellum (pigskin) to hold the sticks together, the traditional method used before plastics and modern glues became available. My only concession to the modern was the desire to have these sticks bear my company’s name. Here too we retained some authenticity because the man in the bazaar printed some paper labels bearing the Mercian name – job done!

So, in wishing you all a very happy Christmas I leave you with the conundrum as to whether the stick in the photograph is a potential gift of today or one from yesteryear. Perhaps it is a genuine replica!

 

DAISYPULLSITOFF TECH12.jpeg DAISYPULLSITOFF TECH19.jpeg

Photos from Daisy Pulls It Off, showing at the Park Theatre, Finsbury Park, London. Photos courtesy of Tomas Turpie.

Happy Christmas

Mike Smith – Curator, The Hockey Museum, December 2017

Newport Centrals Hockey Tour 1914 01

Programme (cover) of The Newport Centrals Hockey Club Fourth Annual Tour, Season 1913-14

 

Easter hockey tours and festivals have been very popular for many years, probably more so before the league systems were set up in the 1960s and ‘70s.

A recent find, hidden amongst our postcard collection, gives an intriguing glimpse into one such tour which took place in 1914, six months prior to the First World War.

Newport Centrals Hockey Club commenced their ‘Annual Tour’ to Ilfracombe and Bideford in Devon on 9 April 1914, leaving Newport Station at 11.20pm (!) and finally arriving in Ilfracombe, via Bristol and Taunton, at 5.45am.

pdfThe complete itinerary, including rambles, tasting competitions, Church Parade, "joy car" riding, dances and a "Hairdressing Parade", as well as three matches, are all detailed in the Fourth Annual Tour programme, along with names of participants, results page (sadly not filled in) and numerous other details.

Along with this programme, we do have two postcards from the tour and the previous season with pictures and names of those who appear. A fascinating glimpse into pre-WW1 hockey tours.

Download the full programme by clicking on the PDF icon to the right.

Yesterday one of our volunteers was going through a collection and found this newspaper cutting from Thanet International Hockey Festival, 1964.

Bullets Stop Play

Anyone who has been to Thanet will know that three coats is a mininum and not just because of the flying bullets.

Hockey in Antarctca"First game of Hockey played on ice near Ship", from The Atlantic magazine, 2013.

 

The Hockey Museum recently heard of hockey being played in a most unlikely location: on the sea ice in Antarctica.

We were contacted by an Antarctic history enthusiast who pointed out that the British Film Institute had recently restored footage of renowned polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1916 expedition to Antarctic. In the DVD extras there is footage that does not appear in the main film clearly showing a few brief seconds of the expedition party playing hockey on the Weddell Sea ice!

Shackleton was involved in three expeditions to the Antarctic. On the first in 1901, led by Robert Falcon Scott, to the South Pole, Scott and Shackleton got closer to the Pole than anyone previously. But Shackleton fell seriously ill and had to return home.

In 1907 a further attempt was ended by brutal conditions, after coming within 97 miles of the Pole.

In the 1914 trans-Antarctic expedition, Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, became trapped in the ice forcing the men to leave the ship and set up camp on the floating ice. When the ship sank in 1916 the crew lived on the sea ice for months before sailing to Elephant Island, off the southern tip of Cape Horn, in three small boats.

As Elephant Island was uninhabited, far out from normal shipping lanes, Shackleton led a five-man crew in a 22-foot lifeboat to South Georgia where he trekked to a whaling station to organise a rescue effort.

In August 1916 the remaining crew members on Elephant Island were rescued. Not a single member of the 28-man team died during the nearly two years they were stranded.

In late 1921 Shackleton set off on a fourth expedition to the South Pole but on 5 January 1922 he suffered a heart attack on his ship and died. He was buried on South Georgia.

Was the hockey game in Antarctica, on Shackleton’s third expedition, the southernmost one ever played?

Mike Smith, 18 April 2017

The Hockey Museum (THM) was very proud to receive a visit recently (28 March 2017) from Juan Calzado, former President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), European Hockey Federation (EHF) and Real Club de Polo, Barcelona. We were honoured that on a holiday visit to London with family he took time to visit THM in Woking.

Not only did he see the Museum’s expanding collection but gave us an oral history interview that will appear on our website in due course.

From the interview Juan told us that as well as his impressive administrative career he was an international player of some repute having played for Spain in the Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games. Having won a bronze medal at the Rome Olympics Juan is the only FIH President to have been an Olympic medallist.

He also mentioned that as a player with Real Club de Polo, Barcelona he visited the Folkestone Festival in the halcyon days of festival hockey. Back then visiting teams would present a club pennant to commemorate the occasion. THM holds the Folkestone Festival Archive and, following a brief interrogation of our collections database, we were delighted to reunite Juan with the pennant he presented to the Folkestone Festival some fifty years previously.

 

Juan Calzado

Juan Calzado and Mike Smith (THM Curator) with the RCPB pennant last held by Juan half a century ago.
In the background are posters from the two Olympic Games (Rome ’60 and Tokyo ’64) that he played in.

Mike Smith, 30 April 2016

Blasts From The Past: An Introduction

This features page includes articles from hockey's rich history. With the ever increasing activity of The Hockey Museum, our research is constantly coming across fascinating stories from throughout the sport's history and across the hockey world. These are not current news stories although some may have been when they occurred....

Baffling Brass Buttons

Baffling Brass Buttons

  The Hockey Museum (THM) has recently acquired a set of blazer buttons that once adorned the England blazer of George Hardy. These buttons, emblazoned (ahem) with the HA logo of the Hockey Association, presumably made their way to Hardy’s fellow England player, Captain John Yate Robinson who passed them...

A Tale Of Principled Pilley

On 14 April 1935 (not 1938 as stated on this British Pathé YouTube clip), Germany women played England women in Berlin. The result was 6-4 victory for England. An unexpected tour given the precarious political situation in Europe. The England team line up: Eileen Arnold (GK), Mary Knott (Cptn), Marjorie...

A Rare Item In The Modern Hockey World

A Rare Item In The Modern Hockey World

The Hockey Museum recently received a Winchester HC fixture card for the 2017-2018 season. This came as a bit of a surprise as we knew that many (most?) clubs no longer produce such a publication. With the availability of information on the internet and social media they have become virtually...

Old Creightonians Archive Arrives With A Suprise

Old Creightonians Archive Arrives With A Suprise

Mike Smith, Curator of THM (left) discusses theOld Creightonians HC archive with Simon Lawton-Smith (right). At The Hockey Museum (THM) we receive at least one collection each week, but not many have a twist in the story like this one. A recent visit by Simon Lawton-Smith brought us the club records...

Terrific Trophies

Terrific Trophies

Over the past couple of years, a considerable amount of material, including a large collection of trophies, has come to THM from Cannock HC. It was rescued from the former National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes by Laurie Alcock, affectionately known as 'Mr Cannock'. Had Laurie not saved it, the cabinets and artefacts...

The Work Of Preserving Hockey Heritage: Saving The AEWHA Scrapbook

The Work Of Preserving Hockey Heritage: Saving The AEWHA Scrapbook

The All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA) Collection is looked after at the University of Bath by their Archivist, Lizzie Richmond. The collection contains many unique and irreplaceable items documenting the evolution of women’s hockey in the UK. Two items, the Hockey Jottings scrapbook and the very first minute book...

A Vintage Christmas Present? From India To The London Stage

A Vintage Christmas Present? From India To The London Stage

Photo from Daisy Pulls It Off, showing at the Park Theatre, Finsbury Park, London.Photo courtesy of Tomas Turpie. One of our eagle-eyed supporters spotted this wonderful image taken by Tomas Turpie in The Times newspaper last week. It was from a review of Daisy Pulls It Off, a play that...

An Early Easter Hockey Tour

An Early Easter Hockey Tour

Programme (cover) of The Newport Centrals Hockey Club Fourth Annual Tour, Season 1913-14   Easter hockey tours and festivals have been very popular for many years, probably more so before the league systems were set up in the 1960s and ‘70s. A recent find, hidden amongst our postcard collection, gives...

Bullets Stopped Play

Bullets Stopped Play

Yesterday one of our volunteers was going through a collection and found this newspaper cutting from Thanet International Hockey Festival, 1964. Anyone who has been to Thanet will know that three coats is a mininum and not just because of the flying bullets.

Hockey Played In Antarctica

Hockey Played In Antarctica

"First game of Hockey played on ice near Ship", from The Atlantic magazine, 2013.   The Hockey Museum recently heard of hockey being played in a most unlikely location: on the sea ice in Antarctica. We were contacted by an Antarctic history enthusiast who pointed out that the British Film...

Bringing History To Life With Juan Calzado

Bringing History To Life With Juan Calzado

The Hockey Museum (THM) was very proud to receive a visit recently (28 March 2017) from Juan Calzado, former President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), European Hockey Federation (EHF) and Real Club de Polo, Barcelona. We were honoured that on a holiday visit to London with family he took...

An Update On The English Cup

An Update On The English Cup

In 2015 The Hockey Museum received an enquiry from Alan Lancaster. He sent two photographs, one a team photograph, which Alan thought was Newhey Ladies’ Hockey team. One of the photographs featured his mother Doreen Howles and her two sisters, Vera and June holding a cup which was believed to...

Three Antique Silver Cups From The Royal Navy HA

Does the existence of three antique silver cups with the Royal Navy HA have a ‘black lining’? The Royal Navy Hockey Association is the proud owner of three silver cups that date back to the 1900 period. They were used for different competitions between ships and units that made up...

The Grand International Match

The Grand International Match

During the First World War, the War Office often used sporting references to try to persuade sportsmen to enlist and an amusing notice in the book Ireland’s Call (by Stephen Walker) recently caught our eye.

The Liberty Bodice

The Liberty Bodice

We recently came across an interesting advertisement in The Hockey Field magazine from 6 January 1916: "Physical Instructors and Games Mistresses are recommended to try the Liberty Bodice. It obviates the necessity for corsets and gives absolute freedom of movement to growing girls. It is ideal wear for all kinds...

Hockey And Football: A Comparison

Hockey And Football: A Comparison

We recently acquired copies of a rare early sports magazine dating from 1906 – The Cricketer, The Hockey and Football Player. It was only published for just over a year taking in two cricket and one winter season. The magazines contain a number of interesting articles that make comment on...

An Illegal Hockey Stick

An Illegal Hockey Stick

New collections are, thankfully, arriving weekly and many of them create great interest when received. The hockey stick illustrated in the below images was a real example of this. It came complete with a copy of an advertisement from Hockey Magazine of 4 September 1908 extolling the virtues of the...

The Jet-propelled Hockey Stick That Didn't Take Off!

The Jet-propelled Hockey Stick That Didn't Take Off!

In response to the many enquiries that we receive at The Hockey Museum our volunteers are constantly trawling through hockey publications in search of information. These searches often take twice as long as expected because we find unrelated pieces that are very interesting. One such piece was discovered recently in...

Hockey On The Sand At Minehead

Hockey On The Sand At Minehead

Hockey players on the beach at Minehead with North Hill behind. Photograph by Alfred Vowles.  Unlike most of today's youngsters who learn to play on artificial pitches, Nan Williams, a former England international and volunteer at The Hockey Museum (THM), started her playing career on the sands of Minehead on the...

Have You Heard Of The English Cup?

Have You Heard Of The English Cup?

I have recently joined the many volunteers working with the The Hockey Museum. As I live in the Manchester area I am quite away from all the action, however I have recently been forwarded a couple of enquires from the Museum in relation to matters from the North! My first...

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