Hockey's Military Stories

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

Maybe it was a ‘one off’ for a particular match or a special year in the club’s history or was it just the standard club mug that’s been around for years and years; we’re interested in them all and the history that goes with them. Was this the mug that you drank from after you scored that memorable hattrick to win the league in 1987, or maybe it’s one of a limited edition made for a special dinner or even if it’s one of hundreds that your club has been trying to give away for years. Every mug has a story.

Our collection is already growing (see images) but we must be able to get into the hundreds rather than dozens. We plan to put on a display at the Investec London Cup at the new Olympic Legacy venue at Eaton Manor 9-13 July, so don’t let your club miss out. Dig those mugs out and get in touch with us or send to The Hockey Museum, c/o Mercian Sports Co. Ltd., 151-152 Maybury Road, Woking, Surrey, GU21 5LJ.

Katie Dodd

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

The Hockey Museum opened at the beginning of 2012 in splendid premises in Woking, Surrey.

In two years it has come a long way in establishing itself as the leading institution for collecting, storing, archiving and researching the rich history and heritage of the sport of hockey.

New collections arrive weekly and there are fascinating stories connected with most items.

There is already a keen group of volunteers who support the work on most Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but the Museum Trustees have recognised that they have only just started on the journey and they are actively looking for more volunteers to join the group to help take the work forward.

Anyone who is interested in the history of hockey and is keen to get involved will receive a warm welcome. There are also many opportunities to become involved remotely for those who do not live close enough to Woking.

Mike Smith, March 2014

When the English Hockey Association folded in 2002 was that the end of English hockey? Of course not. Early the following year a new association, England Hockey, arose, phoenix-like, from the ashes. And some time after that it was renamed the English Hockey Board. Clubs kept on playing and many grass roots players were probably totally unaware that there had been a vacuum or even a problem.

So, what is the point of this question? It all comes down to history. English hockey is accepted as the origin of the modern game. We celebrated our centenary in 1986 because the Hockey Association was founded in 1886. However, the Hockey Association was the second national governing body to be formed in England. The first association was formed in 1875, some eleven years earlier. Hockey was very embryonic in those days and struggling to get going. This first association lasted for four years until 1879 but the game itself very much carried on. It may not have been booming but it was slowly growing. So in 1886 a national governing body was reformed and the growth continued.

Whatever way one looks at it, the current England Hockey is the fourth national governing body that English hockey has had. The All England Women's Hockey Association (AEWHA) is not being discounted but that started later and amalgamated with the Hockey Association in 1997. Surely, therefore, we can claim that English hockey goes back to 1875? That gives us eleven years to prepare for our 150th anniversary.

Mike Smith, February 2014

How old is your club? Guildford Hockey Club were not really sure. They celebrated their 50th in 1975 on the understanding that they had started in 1925.

Local club Woking then suggested that they might be older than that. Their club chairman, Chris Basly, contacted us and we had a quick look for them. They were certainly around and affiliated in 1919 so that added six years! However, it is a fact that most clubs that started up immediately after both World Wars were in existence before them.

Chris came along and spent a morning looking through magazines and records. There was not a lot but he did find a reference in 1913. So, rather than waiting until 2025, Guildford will now be celebrating their centenary this year.

Can we help your club to seek out its history?

Mike Smith, February 2014

Surbiton Hockey Club are not quite the oldest club in the world but they do have the oldest and most complete ‘club archive’; unless you know better, of course! Their minute books go back to 1874 together with copious press cuttings and a complete collection of their club newsletter from its inception in 1928 right up to the present day.

Surbiton have now agreed to put these valuable archives into the custody of The Hockey Museum (THM). Curator Mike Smith said: “It is a tribute to Surbiton HC that they have managed to retain these valuable archives across nearly 140 years and they will be a true gem in our growing collection.” Because of THM’s growing relationship with the Surrey History Centre and the fact that Surbiton is a Surrey club, it is hoped that we will have this amazing collection professionally archived very promptly.

Amongst the Surbiton archive is one book that relates to Molesey Hockey Club, one of the very original clubs in England. Molesey HC did not survive but one of its members, Mr S G Dobby, kept a record of their activities. He went on to join Surbiton HC, just down the road, and handed his record over to his new club. It is a miracle that such an item should have survived.

It is also an amazing coincidence considering the article on the oldest hockey photographs. In the space of a couple of months we have received the record of Molesey HC and the photo of East Molesey Ladies HC; two separate clubs, neither of which survived, but from the same Surrey village.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) are very impressed with what we are achieving at The Hockey Museum after their two top executives visited us at Woking last July. A special 'there-and-back-in-a-day' visit made us realise that they were serious. The FIH's mission statement includes a commitment to history and heritage and they also have a modest budget to go with it. Nonetheless, we were a little surprised when they invited our Chair, Katie Dodd, and Curator, Mike Smith, to go over to FIH headquarters in Lausanne to continue the dialogue. The visit occurred in January and we crammed half a dozen meetings and a visit to the Olympic Museum into two very hectic days.

We were very well received and the atmosphere in the FIH offices is so positive. We did realise that one reason why they were so pleased to see us is because we have skills that they don’t possess. President Leandro Negre and CEO Kelly Fairweather have created an impressive organisation that is looking after our sport very caringly. Yes, their emphasis has to be at the highest level but they are conscious of the hockey pyramid and they have a number of initiatives that reach down to 'real' hockey players. While we were there they had their first meeting with the new International Olympic Commitee (IOC) President, Thomas Bach. They were very pleased with the meeting because hockey’s position in the Olympic movement cannot be taken for granted. They also had time to meet with us. Their desire to work with us is proof of their interest in our sport as a whole.

As well as meetings with Leandro and Kelly, we had lengthy discussions with Melanie Willmore, Executive Office Director, to identify the common ground on which we need to work. They realise that a permanent home for the only hockey museum in the world is a pre-requisite for preserving our sport’s history and heritage. Discussions in this area are on-going.

Several other aspects came in for deep discussion. The FIH have no definitive records of international hockey; but we do. These records need to be digitised and the FIH have produced a programme which they are currently launching on their Team Match Statistics (TMS) programme. We hope to progress this soon.

All around their offices were small collections of books, presentations and art. They want us to catalogue all of this material to provide a wider visibility in hockey. They also want us to set up an appropriate historical display in their offices and for it to be updated from time to time.

The FIH are very conscious of how important it is for hockey to remain part of the Olympic family. The last vote on which sports should be included was a close run affair. The FIH want to forge closer links with the IOC and our visit to the Olympic Museum was a case in point. We met with one of the curators who then gave us a personal tour of a very impressive exhibition. There is disappointingly little hockey content on show so we have to develop this relationship and try to achieve a higher profile for hockey in future exhibitions. We have their hockey inventory and for us to improve this collection is a good starting point.

The FIH are very aware that their centenary in 2024 must be properly celebrated. We agreed that there is no definitive history of our sport and we look forward to working with them on this exciting project. We were also pleased to hear of their enthusiasm for recording oral histories. This is an area that we are very keen to develop as, once our hockey luminaries have gone, the opportunity to record their memories is lost forever.

Perhaps most importantly, the FIH are keen to assist us to produce a business plan. With this in place both we and they will have a clear idea of where we are going and what we are hoping to achieve.

All in all it was a remarkable couple of days that we may look back on in years to come as being one of the most important turning points in the development of our museum. This was perhaps underlined a couple of weeks later when FIH President, Leandro Negre, made a special visit to Woking to see the museum for himself. He demonstrated his personal interest in what we are doing by presenting some of his own kit that he wore when he was the Spanish goalkeeper back in the 1960s and 70s.

Mike Smith, February 2014

By Mike Smith

Two collections that have arrived at the Museum have actually been with us for over twenty years.

They were collections given to us as a ‘fledgling set-up’ but, with the loss of our first home in Milton Keynes, they were never updated and sorted. This fascinating job is now being done and revealing some remarkable treasures.

Fortunately, these two large collections are one each from men’s and women’s hockey. How grateful we are to those far-sighted hockey enthusiasts who retained all their hockey possessions.

The women’s collection was passed to us at the time of Marjorie Pollard’s death and is a fascinating insight into the women’s game from its start right through to the 60’s/70’s. As editor of Hockey Field she had a privileged access to the game and that is now passed to us. Amongst the gems are the oldest known women’s photo, some films from the 1930’s, lots of books as she was a prolific author and masses of stuff from her times editing Hockey Field.

From the men’s side came Bob Mason’s collection. Bob was England Team Secretary throughout the 1970’s and collected material from before and after he was team secretary.

He too had a good library but the jewels were his England and GB men’s teams and results records. Over many years he painstakingly compiled a complete record of all matches, including team lists, scorers, umpires, management, etc, and then cumulative results against all the nations. A remarkable piece of work that will be invaluable in our statistics section.

February 2014

By Mike Smith

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

The weekly "Hockive Fact" is being reinstated so that we can share with you some of the interesting and amazing pieces of information that we come across as we trawl through the material that we have and that arrives every week. In the museum these are often referred to as "wow moments". One of us will be going through a collection and will actually say "Wow, look at this". Rarely does a week go by that we don't come up with something.

As part of the re-launch of our website we will be introducing a new feature - "Hockey in 50 Objects". We hope to find 50 objects that have helped to make hockey the great sport it is today. This will be a regular feature and we have identified quite a number already. However we would like your input into what items or occurrences had a big impact on hockey to help make it the game it is today. For instance, the introduction of the circle, the use of short headed (Indian) sticks and the change in playing surfaces from grass to artificial turf are three clearly pivotal points in hockey's development. Please drop us an email if you have any ideas.

The third idea is a well tried series of 50 or 100 years ago this week. Thankfully, we can do a weekly series as all those years ago 1914 & 1964 hockey magazines were weekly publications. They say technology has moved and yet today there is only one magazine, which appears six times a year!

February 2014

By Mike Haymonds

FIH1Leandro Negre, FIH President, made his first visit to the Museum on Wednesday and pronounced himself “very impressed” with what he saw after a guided tour with Chair of Trustees Katie Dodd and Curator Mike Smith. He spoke with many of the volunteers about the work they were involved with and saw first hand some of the fascinating archives and artefacts that had recently arrived. He also had the opportunity to meet with a student from Oxford University, currently using the Museum for her degree study on hockey.

His visit came a week after Katie and Mike visited the FIH head office in Lausanne where plans for possible future collaboration between the FIH and NHM were discussed.

Describing himself as “a fan of collecting things,” Mr Negre said: “As 2024 will be the centenary of the FIH, the development of tangible evidence of hockey’s history is highly important: The work of the NHM will be a big part of our preparations over the next decade.

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“I was pleased to meet so many volunteers and very impressed with how dedicated and organised they appeared.“

The Museum curator Mike Smith said: “I’m extremely pleased to be forging this valuable relationship with the FIH. We are also pleased to be able to show a life-long collector like Leandro what we have achieved at the NHM.”

The FIH President presented the Museum with a large hockey-themed limited edition print of a painting by the well-known Spanish artist Jordi Alumà. He also donated one of his own sweaters, knitted by his wife, then his fiancée, and worn throughout his career as Spain’s goalkeeper.

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The CEO of Woking Borough Council, Mr Ray Morgan, also attended the visit, demonstrating Woking’s continued support for the NHM project. As a token of hockey’s support Mr Negre presented Mr Morgan with an FIH tie.

2014.5 - 25/01/14

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

Within an hour we learned that the collection put together by Don Humphries has been lost since his death. Since then we have also heard that Eric Harverson’s record of the Associate Members’ Club and the records of the Hockey Circle have been lost.

As we have not got these collections we do not know what was in them. There is always a little gem in these collections and sometimes some big ones. They certainly represent three pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that we will never have.

Please, please, if you know of any material, please help to get it to us before it gets binned.

Eric Harverson produced a Newsletter for the Associate Members. It contained regular updates, results and obituaries – a veritable fount of information for us at the museum.

Does anyone have any or all of these newsletters?

Contact THM Curator using our online contact form.

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