News 2018

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Wimbledon Ladies' Hockey Club (WLHC), the oldest surviving ladies' hockey club in the world, celebrated their 125 years in style over the weekend of 27th and 28th of September. It began with a programme of matches followed by a traditional match tea of sandwiches and cake at the Wimbledon Club where a unique exhibition had been staged exploring the 125 years of the club’s history. Displaying photographs, papers and ephemera relating to every stage of WLHC’s past, the exhibition was a celebration of the journey the club has taken from 1889 to today. Wimbledon Ladies Hockey Club has experienced a wide range of events from two World Wars, women being granted the right to vote and the acceptance of women’s hockey as an Olympic Sport. The display covered many aspects of the WLHC history, from the change of kit and surface played on and the club’s experiences of the non-league days to playing in the Surrey, South and National Leagues in addition to information about a number of individuals who have been instrumental in supporting the survival and on-going progress of WLHC. Much of the information on display was provided by The Hockey Museum.

The exhibition was much admired and appreciated by the past and present members who attended the evening cheese and (specially labelled) wine evening at which entertaining speeches were made on the history of WLHC by Judy Smith our Museum Librarian, Georgina Headley on 'The Heart of the Club' and Ben Marsden on 'The Future of the Club'.

Sunday afternoon was a real treat as matches were played in glorious sunshine on the grass, for the first time for many years, in front of the club house, watched by a large crowd of past and present members. The first match was a costume match between teams dressed in 1889 costume and 1920s tunics, all of which had been superbly made by theatrical costumier and WLHC member Joanna Close. This was followed by a match between a WLHC team and a select side drawn from fourteen different clubs, also played on the grass pitch, a new experience for most of the players.

Old friendships were renewed and new ones forged over what all agreed was the most fitting celebration of the club’s proud and illustrious history during a splendid weekend superbly organised by Julie Quester and Joanna Close.

Judy Smith, December 2014

Quiz1At this year’s London Investec Cup back in July, the Museum ran a quiz for the many school parties who visited the event and came on to the Museum stand. The school children were given a set of questions where all the answers could be found somewhere among the exhibits. We were delighted by the response and enthusiasm shown by the children; maybe it was the offer of prizes for the best entries but we’d like to think that there was also some interest in finding out more about the history of hockey.

The winners were:
Milly, Aylesbury Vale Academy (hockey stick)
Polia, Jenny Hammond Primary (hockey stick)
Quiz2Amina, Kingsbury High School (sweatshirt)
The prizes were kindly donated by Mercian Sports.

During one break in the matches when the weather was at its worst, we did have the whole party from Jenny Hammond School on the stand doing the quiz (see photo). It was very hectic but the children definitely forgot about how cold and wet they were as they raced around trying to find all the answers. Thanks to their teacher, Gemma Butterworth, for encouraging all the pupils to take part.

We were supported in this initiative by Jon Rye, Director of Hockey at Holcombe HC and an expert in developing educational outreach programmes. We are already in discussion with Jon about how we can develop a wider set of educational tools that help us get our hockey heritage message across to many more school children.

Katie Dodd, December 2014


I was in The Hockey Museum one Tuesday morning and was asked to look up some information to help answer an enquiry from a man researching his family tree, whose mother, Mrs Belchamber, played for England in the 1920s. He had some information and a letter dated 23 October 1920 notifying her that she had been selected to play against America on 23 November at the Old Deer Park. He also asked, in passing, about Misses Bettine and Janice/Janet Ellis who were also thought to have played for England.

My first port of call was the collection of The Hockey Field & Lacrosse magazine (HFL) but came across the first stumbling block; it wasn’t published during WW1 nor for several years afterwards, in fact not until 1921. So I then looked up the International Playing Records we hold for AEWHA.

In those AEWHA records I found Mrs Belchamber was selected for England first in 1920 and played in all 7 times for England, captaining in 1921 and 1922. In those days it looks as if players were selected for the whole season, unless replaced for injury.

Back in the copies of HFL, I then found more detail. She played at right back against Scotland and Ireland in 1920, captained England v. Ireland and Scotland in 1921 and again against Ireland and Scotland in 1922. As I found in the AEWHA records that she played 7 international matches, I deduced that she must also have played against Denmark that year and, although I could not tell for certain, it seems likely that she was the captain for that match too.

I also found references to Mrs Belchamber having been selected for ‘The Rest’ of England against an AE Touring Team on their return from America in 1921 and again in 1922. The HFL report said of her: "Mrs Belchamber never gave a finer exhibition of back play and no greater praise could be given to her". But as for the selection letter of 1920 for a match against the USA, I can find no record; presumably the tour here was cancelled as the first recorded match against the USA was in 1924.

I also found photos of her as Captain of England in 1920 (sic) and in the team in 1922.

BelchamberIn HFL, dated 2 February 1922 there was an article on her in the series "Models For Young Players" and another article in HFL dated 12 October 1922 was written by her on how to play the right back position. By all accounts she was a very quick, clever back and one report remarks on the duel she had with England’s best forward Marjorie Pollard as being the highlight of the match; an outstanding right back who became a very good England Captain. She is reported to have been a prime example of how a small but quick and inventive player could outwit many an incoming forward and come away with the ball, creating an attack from defence with a telling pass.

After her playing career she stayed in the hockey world, being elected President of Surrey Ladies' Hockey Association in October 1923 and, after moving north, officiating for Derbyshire at a tournament in Surrey in 1927.

When I moved on to look for Miss Bettine Ellis and Janet Ellis, I got a surprise! The Museum records found that Bettine had played for Surrey and South and an AE Touring Team to the USA in 1928. Janet had played for England from 1930-33 and again in 1935; also touring to South Africa in 1930 and again to Denmark in 1933. During this time there were some 19 international matches (touring matches did not count as full internationals) and she played in 17 of them. She scored an outstanding 38 goals for England, 2 on her debut.

The surprise came when I found reference to Janet Ellis’s married name, Mrs Beard. I remember as Secretary of Wimbledon Ladies’ Hockey Club (WLHC) in the 1970s and 1980s, sending club information to non-playing members, including a Mrs Beard; no doubt the very same Janet Ellis as was. This link is particularly fascinating as I have been involved in the WLHC 125th celebrations this autumn. 

It just shows how interconnected the world of hockey is; and how much colour and life can be brought to playing records by researching all the documents now preserved for the future at The Hockey Museum.

Evelyn Somerville, December 2014

This article was spotted in a recent issue of the Scotland on Sunday newspaper.

"The recent retired chairman of the Scottish Land Court, Lord McGhie, shows no signs of slowing down. Just a week or two after stepping down from his exalted position, the good Lord will be turning out in the colours of one of Scotland’s most distinguished hockey clubs. Although in his sixties, Lord McGhie’s stick-work is as immaculate as ever. And today his colleagues at the Grange are playing with him in a series of matches to celebrate his 40th season as a club player. Although these days he tends to turn out for the seventh XI, Lord McGhie is known for his clean hitting, tactical nous and enviable fitness. Afterwards members will retire to the club’s Edwardian Pavilion in the heart of Edinburgh for some hard-earned refreshment."
November 2014

Olympic pin badges

Olympic cuff linkThe recently acquired Robert Watson collection contained three unusual items (pictured). Two are silver hallmarked pin badges from the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympics. The third is believed to be a cufflink from the 1948 London Games but we are missing its partner.

Mike Haymonds, September 2014

Probably the first real collector of hockey material was Bill Malherbe of South Africa, although the claim might be hotly contested if anyone knew what was in Ken Howells’s (of Teddington Hockey Club and Wales) collection. Sadly, his total and vast collection was thrown away shortly after his death, so we will never know. However, we do know what was in Bill’s collection because he produced a bibliography in 1965, although the listing is only of published material: books, magazines, programmes, etc. It runs to 131 pages spanning 1890 to 1965.

In addition to this, we know that Bill had the first hockey stamp collection and other hockey memorabilia. It is understood that the collection was given to the South African Hockey Association on his death but there has been no trace of it for decades.

Sadly therefore, the end results are the same; both collections have been lost. Together, these two collections would probably exceed what we have at The Hockey Museum today though our collection continues to grow. Thankfully we have the bibliography of Bill’s collection, found as part of a lot of material left to us by Barbara and Nevill Miroy. Ultimately our collection will be listed in a more modern format, and it will be constantly updated as new collections arrive.

The moral of this story is: please don’t let your hockey material suffer the same fate as that of Bill Malherbe or Ken Howells.

September 2014

The Museum’s stand at the Investec London Cup held at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in the Olympic Park was a great success, attracting even more visitors than last year’s stand and proving a hit with adults and children alike.

The display of sticks is always popular with visitors particularly keen to try the old English head version and how to dribble with it.

London CupAlso popular were the postcards and the new ‘Hockey In Art’ section as well as the image of hockey being played in schools in the early 19th century and the original 2012 Olympic Results board.

Many primary school children entered the Museum Quiz and the winner will be announced shortly. Many children had not played hockey and this demonstrated the importance of Educational Outreach which is something on which the Museum is working hard.

The event was a good opportunity for the Museum to work with England Hockey ahead of next year’s European Championships at the same venue. For this we plan to develop a Heritage theme and an outreach programme to link in to 50 local primary schools.

Particularly welcome were European Hockey Federation Vice President, Jorge Alcover, the brother-in-law of FIH President Leandro Negre, and EHF Communication and Marketing Manager, Siobhan Madeley.

London Cup 2014Other visitors included Richard Kendrick, Irish Hockey Association president and a former Olympic and World Cup umpire, Peter Wright, a South African umpire who was officiating at the tournament, and David Sweetman, the new Scottish Hockey CEO.

Also visiting were Ruth Parr, who has completed a Masters thesis on early 20th century schoolgirl hockey in North London, and the parents of the English, Scottish and South African captains, from whom we hope to receive donations of kit.

A very busy four days that once again highlighted the importance of history and heritage within our sport.

Mike Haymonds, 29 July 2014

The Museum has been given four large collections of hockey films which have been recorded on film reels. Rowena Shepherd, the Museum volunteer leading in this work, commented:

“At the moment we really only know their titles. They are a mixture of films of hockey events and matches such as the Folkestone Festival in 1953, and very short instructive films showing how to perform a range of hockey skills.

"The physical condition of the films is not known, but we are assuming that they will be so fragile that watching them using a conventional projector might break or otherwise destroy them. We are therefore looking to get them digitised and have been working with specialists, Mark Rance and David Cordery who have digitised some fragments of our collection. The results so far are fascinating, giving a tantalizing glimpse of their content. We would love to get our entire collection digitised so that we can share our old films with others, but we will have to wait until we have sufficient funds."

The short sections that have been digitized will be available to view at the Museum Stand at the London Investec Cup this week, 9-13 July.

Katie Dodd, 8 July 2014

The Hockey Museum will have a stand at the Investec London Cup at the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from 9-13 July.

We very much hope that spectators at the tournament will come to see the exhibits on display which will include:

  • Items of hockey art
  • Ladies’ 20th century hockey dress
  • Commonwealth Games stamps
  • Post cards
  • Books and magazines
  • A complete set of England men’s international records
  • Pin badges, mugs, fixture cards and programmes; and
  • A range of sticks dating back to the early years of the sport. Visitors will be able to test their skills on a piece of the London 2012 pitch.
WembleyNan William’s work to uncover the full history of the playing of hockey at Wembley Stadium continues and she has recently received some fascinating stories from former internationals Karen Brown, Sue Slocombe and Val Robinson. In an attempt to also find some local knowledge of this annual hockey event, she recently managed to get an article in the Harrow Observer (see photograph) looking for anyone who might have worked or been associated with the running of the events between 1951-91. Following publication, Nan received a number of very interesting responses from people who remember attending the hockey matches but sadly, no contact from any former employees. I’m sure that Nan will keep searching.

GodsThis mosaic, an image of the god Pan from a Roman villa, was recently seen by The Hocket Museum volunteer Evelyn Somerville in the Archaeological Gardens at Paphos, Cyprus.

It was created during the 3rd century AD.

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