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Last weekend saw the release of the much-anticipated biographical film Oppenheimer, which tells the story of the American nuclear physicist J Robert Oppenheimer, often recognised as the ‘father of the atomic bomb’. Situated in a remote part of New Mexico, USA, the secret Los Alamos Laboratory was established by the Manhattan Project to design and build the first nuclear bomb under the direction of Oppenheimer. The film’s release coincided with the arrival of a new archive that links the development of the atomic bomb to English club hockey.

The British Government had earlier established its own atomic bomb project, but once the USA entered the Second World War on the side of the Allies, their economic muscle soon saw the Manhattan Project dwarf its British predecessor. In August 1943, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Franklin D Roosevelt signed the Quebec Agreement ensuring research co-operation between the two nations. This was followed by a British-led team of multi-national scientists travelling to Los Alamos.


Oppenheimer 01     Oppenheimer poster
Cillian Murphy is J Robert Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan.
© Universal Pictures. All Rights Reserved.


The Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE)

Following the war, atomic energy co-operation ceased and Britain proceeded with its own nuclear weapons programme becoming only the third country to test an independently developed nuclear weapon in October 1952. The British post-war programme was set up in the late 1940s and, by the early 1950s the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE) was based out of the former airfield at Royal Air Force (RAF) Aldermaston, outside Reading, Berkshire. Their records are held at The National Archives, but an archive relating to the AWRE Hockey Club, founded by workers at the Aldermaston site, has fittingly made its way to The Hockey Museum.


Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Hockey Club (AWREHC)

AWRE HC 01     AWRE HC 02
Parts of the AWREHC archive recently donated to The Hockey Museum.


Among the documents recently donated is the splendidly titled A Long Drawn Out History (Vaguely Remembered) of AWREHC. It explains that by 1953 some of the staff that were to work at Aldermaston had moved into the area with three in particular keen to play hockey. One of these men, John Carroll, managed to arrange a handful of fixtures for the 1953/54 hockey season. Playing numbers were sparse in the early years and the AWRE needed the help of the local/rival Newbury & Thatcham Hockey Club (N&THC) members to fulfil these early scratch fixtures. In 1954, one G D Small was transferred to work at AWRE and promptly joined the fledgling hockey club. The record amusingly states that he was “better known … as ‘Red’ or ‘Big Jim’ and by his opponents as something else”. In that year he was Chairman, Fixtures Secretary, Team Secretary, Treasurer, player and Captain – very much the nucleus of the Club!

The men’s club was formally constituted ahead of the 1956/57 season. The AWRE women’s team initially operated independently but the two sections amalgamated in 1958.

The club struggled to be competitive during its first decade or so. The chronicle reflects on how established hockey clubs in neighbouring towns where the AWRE workforce lived – N&THC, Reading HC and Basingstoke HC – consistently attracted employees away. This “prevented the Club from achieving the success that would have raised it above the level of an average works club”. That said, they had a strong history of mixed-gender hockey from the early 1960s, winning the Penguins Hockey Festival at Worthing on at least two occasions, and the men sent a team to the first two Easter festivals at Weymouth in 1963 & 1964.

Somewhat notoriously in 1963, a (presumably stuffed) bear was ‘borrowed’ from The Bear Hotel in the nearby Berkshire town of Hungerford. After an explosion (ahem) of publicity to the benefit of the hotel, the bear was safely returned by the AWRE membership. The bear then enjoyed a short-lived attempt to be incorporated into the club’s branding, but AWREHC always retained the atomic symbol of its origins.

The club formally changed its name to Aldermaston Hockey Club in 1975. There is no record of the hockey club after 1980 when it seemingly ceased to be (radio)active.

Red Welsh cap William R Edwards


A recent addition to our ever-increasing collection at THM, a beautiful Welsh honours cap, has come to us from the family of William Richard Edwards who played for Wales between 1929 and 1931.

William was born, lived and died in England but with Welsh ancestry he played hockey for Wales. Ironically, had he played representative hockey for England he would not have received an honours cap because England did not award them. The Hockey Association deemed them to be a ‘reward‘ in an era of totally amateur sport and refused to entertain the idea. Thankfully for William, Wales, and indeed Scotland and Ireland, did not share English hockey's policy, so he received his much-treasured cap which has now been presented to the Museum by his daughter along with a scrapbook, postcards and photographs from his career.

William was born in Ludlow, became a County Council solicitor for Shropshire, Essex and East Sussex, and died in Sussex. He qualified for Wales through his grandfather but always considered himself to be ‘Anglo Welsh’. In fact, during that era, nearly a century ago, all three of the other Home Nations (Scotland, Wales and Ireland) held ‘Anglo’ trials in England because of the number of qualifying players who resided there.

Regular readers of Hockey Shorts will be aware that that honours caps play a big part in our activity. We have earlier Welsh caps but they are green, so we were confused to receive this red one. We are now investigating when this colour change took place. As is often the case, one new piece of information often poses further questions!


Cap Reverend William Edwyn Jones Wales 1906

Whilst looking at this picture, consider that the first ladies’ hockey in England – indeed the world – began less than twenty years before this photograph was taken. This really was at the dawn of women's hockey!


Elleray Clapham Park SW front


The postcard is from a French girl writing home to her family near Rouen in 1906. Could this have been the start of women's hockey across the Channel?

One of the wonders of The Hockey Museum (THM) is the constant discovery of new aspects of the history of our great sport. Postcards are just one of over 30 collection areas that make up the heritage material held at THM. This latest find came to light when our President Mike and his wife Judy, who doubles as our Librarian, visited an old friend in France. Having watched the development of the Museum over the last decade, their friend keeps an eye open for anything ‘hockey’ and he acquired this card.


Elleray Clapham Park SW reverse


The young lady advises that she had a good journey to the College and is kept very busy. She is not bored although she is asking family and friends to write to her.

The school was Elleray College in Clapham, south-west London, and from the picture we can see that it was a substantial Victorian building with large lawns enabling hockey and other sporting activities. It is surprising yet heartening to see hockey being played in a school so soon after the start of the women's game.

The following article was written and researched by former trustee of The Hockey Museum Dil Bahra for It is reproduced here for posterity.

Dil is author of the website which highlights the contribution and achievements of Sikh hockey athletes.

The names of Sikh players are emphasised in bold throughout the article.



GB v India at Lords
Great Britain vs India at Lord’s Cricket Ground in 1967.


Lord’s Cricket Ground, referred to by many as the ‘home of cricket’, is the most revered cricketing arena in the world.

The hockey family is no stranger to Lord’s. In 1967, 12 of the 30 games in the 12 Nations Pre-Olympic Hockey Tournament in London were held on the hallowed turf.

This tournament was billed as the first big international hockey event in England since the London 1948 Olympic Games. Twelve teams, each preparing for the Mexico 1968 Olympic Games were invited with matches scheduled at Lord’s and the Oval.


Lords pitch markings 1967
 A visual representation of the pitch markings at Lord's Cricket Ground in 1967.


The opening match of this six-day tournament was held at Lord’s between Great Britain and India on Monday 16 October 1967. Two pitches were laid at Lord’s. The other match, scheduled at the same time, was between Spain and German Democratic Republic (GDR).

India were the reigning Olympic champions, having won the Gold at Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games. They were also reigning Asian Champions, having won the Gold in Bangkok in December 1966.

The Duchess of Kent was presented to both teams before the start of the match. Gurbux Singh, the Indian captain, had the pleasure of introducing his team, which included seven Sikh players to the Duchess.



GB v India at Lords 2
Great Britain vs India at Lord’s Cricket Ground in 1967.



Timothy Lawson from Tulse Hill gave Great Britain the lead after 16 minutes, thus becoming the first man to score an international goal at Lord’s. Jeremy Barham of Dulwich increased the lead to put Britain 2 – 0 up at half time.


Sikhs score goals in the first international at Lord’s

Inder Singh, India’s inside left scored within three minutes of the start of the second half and minutes later Harbinder Singh, India’s Tokyo gold-medallist centre forward levelled the scores. Victor John Peter scored the winning goal for India.

This was, however, not the first international goal scored by a Sikh in England. This honour went to Balbir Singh Dosanjh (senior) who scored the first of his six goals in the match against Argentina at the Guinness Sports Ground at Park Royal on 4 August 1948 during the London 1948 Olympic Games.

Great Britain team: David Austin Savage (Oxton); David Prosser (Old Kingstonians) (captain); Richard Oliver (Hounslow); Geoffrey Nott (Tulse Hill); Tony Ekins (Southgate); Peter Wilson (Oxford City); Michael Crowe (Tulse Hill); Timothy Lawson (Tulse Hill); Malcolm Read (Dulwich); Charlie Donald (ICI Grangemouth); Jeremy Barham (Dulwich).

India team: Shankar Laxman (Services); Gurbux Singh (Bengal) (captain); Vinod Kumar (Punjab); R H B Krishnamoorthy; Jagjit Singh (Punjab); Harmik Singh (Punjab); Balbir Singh (Railways); Victor John Peter (Services); Harbinder Singh (Railways); Inder Singh (Railways); Joginder Singh (Railways).

The 30-match programme of the 12 Nations six-day tournament format was that each country plays five matches each. This meant that not all the countries played each other. A total of 12 matches were played at Lord’s. India played three of her five matches at Lord’s.

India played France on 17 October 1967 at Richmond Hockey Club. Balbir Singh scored India’s goal in the 1 – 1 draw.

The following day, 18 October 1967, India beat Spain 2 – 1 at the Oval Cricket Ground. Inder Singh and Victor John Peter scored India’s goals.

India returned to Lord’s for the match against Australia on 19 October. India had played all their matches with the same 11 players.


HarbinderSingh India
Harbinder Singh scored three goals at Lord’s.


David Wiggins reported in The Times on India’s two goals as follows:

“The first goal was engineered by Joginder and scored by Harbinder from Inder’s pass from a beautifully judged overhead scoop. Eight minutes after half time Harbinder collected a superbly judged pass from Balbir, he ran half the length of the field, fainting, swerving and dummying his way past a cluster of defenders to put India 2 goals up.”

India’s last match of the tournament was against Pakistan on Saturday 21 October 1967. A crowd of 14,000 which was the biggest at any hockey match in England since the final of the London 1948 Olympic Games at Wembley. This match, which was televised live in the sub-continent, was the eighth meeting between the two giants of hockey – India having won three, drawn two and lost two. Their last encounter was at the Asian Games Final in Bangkok on 19 December 1966 which India won 1 – 0.


India v Pakistan at Lords 1967
India vs Pakistan match at Lord’s in 1967.


The match proved to be a classic with the crowds cheering every move.

When Pakistan scored the only goal of the match, the pitch was invaded by the excited Pakistan fans. The pitch was invaded again at the final whistle.

A short two minutes British Pathé clip of the match can be viewed below.


The Indian team were, however, no strangers to London. Four months earlier they had stopped over in London on their way back home from the Madrid international tournament. They played against The London Hockey Club, an 'occasional club' where membership was by invitation only, at Surbiton on 6 June 1967. The India XI that evening included eight Sikhs (highlighted in the team lists below).

London XI team: Harry Cahill (Coventry, Ireland & GB); Jimmy Deegan (Surbiton, England & GB) (captain); Richard Oliver (Hounslow, England & GB); Keith Sinclair (Tulse Hill, England & GB); Tony Ekins (Southgate, England & GB); Jaswinder Singh Missan (Spencer & Kenya); Chris Langhorne (Hounslow, England & GB); Mike Corby (Hounslow, England & GB); Steve Kossuth (Mid-Surrey & South Africa); Graham Evans (Surbiton, England & GB); Charles Angear (Blackheath, Wales & GB); Stuart Morris (Richmond, England & GB).
Manager: Dicky Dickens.

India team: Samar Mukerji (Bengal); Prithipal Singh (Punjab) (captain); Vinod Kumar (Punjab); Balbir Singh Kular (Services); Amarjit Singh (Services); Harmik Singh (Punjab); Balbir Singh (Punjab); Victor John Peter (Services); Balbir Singh Randhawa (Services/Navy); Inder Singh (Railways); Tarsem Singh (Punjab); Joginder Singh (Railways).
Manager: R P Mehra.


India London XI at Surbiton in 1967
India and The London Hockey Club teams pose together at Surbiton Hockey Club in 1967.


India had also played in London against The London Hockey Club after the Lyons tournament in October 1963 and the Hamburg tournament in June 1966. All these matches were played at Surbiton Hockey Club.


International Hockey Festivals at Lord’s

Following the success of the 1967 tournament, the Hockey Association (England) played host to Four Nations international matches at Lord’s in March from 1969 to 1980. These matches were the showpiece of the English hockey season.

England, Ireland, West Germany and Spain were the four teams that played in the international hockey festival in 1974, sponsored by Guinness. The first match, England against West Germany, the Olympic Champions and holders of the European Cup was played at Lord’s on 23 March 1974.

The Germany team included seven members of their gold medal winning team in the Munich 1972 Olympic Games.

The England team, led by captain Bernie Cotton, included two new caps, Sutinder (Suti) Singh Khehar and Roly Brookman, both from Slough Hockey Club.

England Team: P A Mills (Cardiff); David Whitaker (Southgate); M J Parris (Slough); Peter Freitag (Old Kingstonians); Bernie Cotton (Southgate) (captain); Roly Brookman (Slough); Sutinder (Suti) Singh Khehar (Slough); G.J. Evans (Surbiton); J L Neale (Southgate); Colin Whalley (Hightown); Steve Long (Bury St Edmunds); Sub.: B Purdy (Trojans).


First Sikh to play for England


Suti Khehar
Sutinder Singh Khehar representing England in the 1978 Men's Hockey World Cup in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Sutinder thus became the first Sikh player to play an international match for England.

He went on to represent England 60 times and Great Britain 12 times. He also earned 12 caps with the England indoors team. He represented England during 1978 World Cup in Buenos Aires and during the 1982 World Cup in Bombay where he was honoured with the captaincy of the England team against Malaysia on 11 January 1982.

The first Sikh to play in an international match in England, however, was Tarlochan Singh Bawa of India who represented India against Austria at Lloyds Bank Sports Club in Sudbury on 31 July 1948 during the London 1948 Olympic Games. Three Sikhs, Balbir Singh Dosanjh (senior), Tarlochan Singh Bawa and Grahandan ‘Nandy’ Singh were in India team at London 1948 Olympic Games.

The first known Sikh to play hockey in England is Hardit Singh Malik who played for Eastbourne College, Sussex in 1910.

The first match of the 1977 international hockey festival at Lord’s was England against West Germany on 12 March 1977.

The England team, captained by Bernie Cotton, included four new caps – John Hurst, Mike Featherstone, Gavin Featherstone and Balwant (Bal) Singh Saini.

England Team: John Hurst; Mike Featherstone; David Whitaker; Gavin Featherstone; Bernie Cotton (capt); D C Aldridge; Sutinder (Suti) Singh Khehar; Ian McGinn; John French; Balwant (Bal) Singh Saini; Steve Long.
Manager: Ian D.N. Taylor; Coach: Trevor Clarke.


First Sikh to score a goal for England


Bal Saini
Balwant Singh Saini representing England in the 1978 Men's Hockey World Cup in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Balwant celebrated his debut with a brilliant solo goal in the 22nd minute to give England the lead. England led 2 – 1 at half time but West Germany came back strongly in the second half to win 3 – 4.

Balwant (Bal) Singh Saini’s goal in this match was the first international goal scored by a Sikh player for England. The match was shown live on BBC 1 and the goal can be viewed below.


Balwant went on to play 18 times for England. He also earned 18 caps with the England indoors team. He represented England at Buenos Aires 1978 World Cup.

This was the first time two Sikh players, both Kenyan-born and from Slough Hockey Club, played for England in the same match.

The annual international festival at Lord’s in 1978, sponsored by Rank Xerox, was held on the 11 & 12 March. England, India, Scotland and Australia were the four teams competing.


England’s first win over India

The tournament started with a game between England and India on Saturday 11 March. The match was televised by BBC 1.

Both teams were preparing for the Hockey World Cup in Buenos Aires a week later. India had beaten England 2 – 1 in the third World Cup in Kuala Lumper in March 1975 and that was the only previous meeting between the countries.

Great Britain, however, had played against India 19 times since the final of the London 1948 Olympic Games but never beaten them.

Ashok Kumar, India’s Captain gave his side the lead at half time but two quick goals, a penalty corner by Steve Long and a penalty stroke by David Whitaker, within a space of five minutes midway through the second half put England in the lead which they maintained.

This victory was the first by a national team from United Kingdom over India. The England team’s centre forward in that match was Balwant (Bal) Singh Saini. Sutinder (Suti) Singh Khehar, England’s established midfield player, had suffered a fractured jaw at the indoor club championships at Crystal Palace the week before and was therefore not fit for this game. India had four Sikh players in their team.

England Team: John Hurst; Paul Barber; David Whitaker; Peter Freitag; Bernie Cotton (capt); Ian Thomson; Alistair McGinn; Ian McGinn; Roly Brookman; Balwant (Bal) Singh Saini; Steve Long.
Manager: Tony Ekins; Coach: Trevor Clarke

India Team: Manuel Fredericks; Baldev Singh; Dung Dung; Varinder Singh; Justin Karaketta; Vasudevan Bhaskaran; Vincent Lakra; Ashok Kumar (capt); Sukhbir Singh Grewal; Surinder Singh; Syed Ali.
Manager: Kartar Singh; Coach: R S Gentle.


First Sikh to umpire a hockey match at Lord’s

The annual University match between Oxford and Cambridge was also played at Lord’s from 1969 – 1989.


Bawa Singh
Bawa Singh.


Bawa Singh, an international umpire on the English Hockey circuit and a member of Midlands Counties Hockey Umpires Association, umpired the 1981 match on 23 February 1981.

Bawa Singh also umpired the 1985 encounter. He is the only known Sikh umpire to have officiated at Lord’s.

With the introduction of artificial turf pitches, hockey found new homes such as Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club, Willesden Sport Centre and the National Hockey Stadium at Milton Keynes.


Lords Hockey passes
Accreditation passes, programme and pins, memorabilia from the international hockey at Lord's Cricket Ground.


Dil Bahra
Sikhs in Hockey


Whole frontal in situ
The altar at St Mary’s Chruch, Shalford in Surrey.
Photographs courtesy of St Mary’s Church Shalford’s vicar, Rev’d Sarah Lloyd, and parish administrator, Kate Waldock.


Steve Woodward, a hockey player and international umpire, who died in 1992, has an unusual memorial: an altar cloth in his local church.

Susan Knight, Steve Woodward’s widow, said “I had seen the work [that textile artist] Grace Evans had done for Crookham Church and so I asked her to make the altar frontal for St Mary’s Shalford as a memorial to Steve. I left the design to Grace, but she asked all about Steve.”

Steve had played for Teddington Hockey Club’s first XI in goal and then captained the second team. From this position he had always ‘helped’ the umpire with his advice. After playing with his friend Rolf Horst in a Lloyds hockey match during which they were responsible for letting in several goals, the poachers decided to become game keepers and took up umpiring. Both eventually reached international level, indoors and out.

After his death the Steve Woodward Cup was introduced for umpires in the South of England to vote for the team that had best shown fair play, both on and off the pitch.

Stitched into the altar frontal, a pattern of hockey sticks embellishes the rays of the sun which encircle the central cross.

The altar frontal, which took an entire year to complete, was dedicated in 1995 and is still in regular use at St Mary’s. Due to its green colour, it is used on more days than any other – Christian holidays adopt certain colours but green is used all year round. To those who knew him, its colour is a particularly appropriate reminder of the hockey pitches so beloved by Steve.


Close up
Detail of the altar cloth showing the hockey sticks.



If you ever have cause to visit St John the Baptist Church in Burley, Hampshire, in the UK, be sure to look out for the hockey sticks! For among its many memorials is a stained-glass window dedicated to Constance Applebee, the British woman credited with popularising hockey among women in the United States of America.

Constance Applebee window
The stained-glass window in the St John the Baptist Church in Burley dedicated to the memory of Constance Applebee.


Constance Mary Katherine Applebee was born in Essex in 1873. Discovering a love of exercise and sport, she went on to gain a diploma at the British College of Physical Culture in London. After teaching in Yorkshire, 'The Apple', as she became known, first demonstrated the game of hockey to students in the USA while attending a course at Harvard University in 1901. She then toured women’s colleges in the north-eastern United States to give coaching and instruction to the students. She was later hired as full-time athletic director at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania.

In 1922, Constance helped co-found the United States Field Hockey Association (USFHA) and, shortly afterwards, established an annual three-week hockey coaching camp at Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania, which ran for more than 70 years and attracted countless players of all ages. She continued to return to help coach at these camps until 1964 when she was 90. Constance’s influence in developing women's hockey in the United States spanned generations as her students in turn became influential teachers and coaches. She also helped establish lacrosse as a sport for women in the United States.


Applebee in wall of fame     USFHA Hall of Fame Ursinus College Philadelphia
Left: Constance Applebee during a Mount Pocono camp.

This photograph featured in a celebration of Constance Applebee as part of the USFHA Hall of Fame, which formerly hung at Ursinus College near Philadelphia (pictured). The Hall of Fame has since been removed to an unknown location.

Images courtesy of Jane Claydon.


‘The Apple’ died in 1981, aged 107, and is buried at the church in Burley. Her many friends and admirers in the hockey world and beyond wanted to create a fitting and lasting memorial to her life and work – and so the idea for a stained-glass window was born.

Details of the window are recorded in a letter – in The Hockey Museum’s collection – from former US international hockey player, USFHA President and umpire, Betty ‘Shelly’ Shellenburger to All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA) official Marjorie Butcher.


Constance Applebee window letter

The letter to AEWHA official Marjorie Butcher from USFHA President Betty Shellenburger suggesting amendments to the design for Constance Applebee's memorial window.


The windowpane’s central figure, Saint Catherine of Siena, the patron saint of philosophers and spinsters, is surrounded by small border blocks with images of apples, bees, and hockey and lacrosse sticks, as well as a Native American girl (symbolising the Mount Pocono camps), primroses, daffodils, and sheaves of wheat (presumably to sustain the bees).

Constance always wore a brown tunic, and Shelly indicated in her letter that she would ask the window’s designer – Ronald Page, of G Maile & Son Canterbury – to change the colour of Saint Catherine’s robes to reflect this.

This request was not acceded to, however, as the robes are blue – but the seals of Bryn Mawr College (three owls) and the College of William and Mary (the Wren Building), Virginia, with which Applebee also had a long association, were included in the final design, as Shelly asked.

More than enough money was donated for the window, so a bronze plaque was also fitted below it, stating that the window had been given by “Apple’s hockey friends from all over the world”. In addition, a book with all the names of the subscribers was placed in the church.


Applebee memorial symbols sketch
Sketch detailing the iconography of the Constance Applebee memorial window.


Close up of lower part of CA window
Detail of the Constance Applebee memorial window showing the dedication.


This is not the only stained-glass window in the church associated with Applebee. In 1936, ‘The Apple’ purchased one in memory of Mary Warren-Taylor, with whom she lived for more than 20 years on Bryn Mawr’s campus. As well as living together, the women would have worked closely with each other, as New York-born Mary was secretary of the college’s athletic department. Mary’s failing health led to the couple relocating to Burley in the UK in 1929, where she lived out her final years in the New Forest.

In addition to the window, Constance also purchased a pulpit and choir stalls in Taylor’s memory, at a total cost of £465 – an amazing tribute; the donation would be worth in the region of £25,000 in today’s money. When Constance died, she was buried alongside her long-time friend, Mary, whose grave she had helped to pay for 45 years earlier.


Choir stalls pulpit windows     Applebee Taylor grave

Left: The Constance Applebee window (left) alongside the Mary Warren Taylor window (right) above the pulpit and choir stalls commissioned by Constance. The Mary Warren Taylor window was likely the inspiration for the commissioning of a memorial window for Constance Applebee by her US friends.

Right: the shared graves of Mary Warren Taylor and Constance Applebee in the cemetery of St John the Baptist Church.


Constance Applebee is still remembered by several of the Burley parish church congregation and the Church Warden, Pam Mason-Smith, kindly provided us with additional information and images.

So, if you are ever in Hampshire, be sure to pop into Burley parish church, where the life and legacy of a true hockey pioneer is literally and colourfully built into its fabric.


Len Smiths Royal Ascot HC skirt 2     Len Smiths Royal Ascot HC skirt close up 2

Royal Ascot Hockey Club's Royal Stewart tartan skirt, produced and sold by Len Smith's.

From The Hockey Museum's collection.


Following on from mention of Len Smith’s Sportswear Ltd. in a recent article about the introduction of VAT in 1971, several volunteers at The Hockey Museum (THM) reflected lovingly on the era in the 1960s and ‘70s when players who wanted to look good on the school or club hockey pitch would head to – or place mail orders from – the Len Smith’s shop in the centre of Twickenham. Such memories are, of course, subjective with other kit suppliers eliciting similar rose-tinted reflections, though Len Smith’s seems to be remembered particularly fondly. It was particularly renowned for its hockey skirts because they stocked a wide variety of colours, styles and fabrics. The S5 style of ‘wrap-around pleated skirt with a flat panel at the front and a button fastening’ was a particular favourite.


Len Smiths advert reverse of 1980 Wembley programme
Advert for a S5 skirt, from the reverse of the 1980 Wembley programme.


When we were researching our book The Magic of Wembley (published in 2018 - buy it here), one of our researchers went to visit the old Len Smith’s shop looking for Wembley memories. Len Smith’s was a regular match sponsor and provider of kit to an impressive list of visiting international teams. Sadly, we found that Len, who had set up and run the company since 1956, had retired in 2008. The retailer had joined with Stevenson’s, a school wear specialist, that now gave its name to all the shop signage. The shopfront was still instantly recognisable and inside it remained stocked with hockey and other sportswear. When we spoke to the current staff, they remembered the previous owner and the 60-year tradition of the Len Smith’s brand, but we were shocked to learn that they had only recently disposed of all the old stock – sadly, we were too late to save items for the museum.


Len Smiths 02
 The store front of Len's Smith's in Twickenham. From the small archive collection received from Len Smith in 2014.


Len Smith’s may have been based in Twickenham, but we understand their appeal was nationwide and even international. Do you have any stories of obtaining Len Smith’s kit from further afield? Let us know.

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Len’s Memories

We did manage to get in touch with Len, now living in retirement in Hampshire. He was still the larger-than-life character who was always there to greet you when you visited the Twickenham store. He had lots of stories from his time running the shop including working with many of the women’s national governing bodies and famous players from the men’s and women’s international hockey scene.

One of Len’s Wembley memories was from 1970, the year that the annual England women's international fixture had to move to The White City Stadium when the Wembley turf was waterlogged. England women were playing Australia and the last-minute change of venue made arrangements somewhat chaotic for teams, officials and spectators alike. Len recalled that he had to deliver a set of green socks to the Australian team for this match but, with the traffic around the stadium being gridlocked, he ended up running through the crowds with all the boxes only to find that the security guards wouldn’t let him in. Eventually a message got through to the Australian manager and she came out to have the boxes passed through the gates to her! The Australian team then went out and ‘played their socks off’ to come away with a creditable 1-1 draw.

Although Len admitted he had not kept much by way of memorabilia from his days running the shop, he did donate several interesting items to THM including catalogues, photographs and newspaper cuttings. One particularly fascinating item was the original artwork for the first All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA) cloth badge designed for the England tracksuit. When team tracksuits were first introduced in 1967, the players had asked for something different from the ‘three roses’ badge that went on the shirt and blazer. The England goalkeeper, Beryl Marsh, a talented artist, produced the artwork that Len then used to manufacture the badge. The artwork was submitted to Len on a Tuesday and he produced the badges in time for the international match that Saturday.


England women blazer 1979     AEWHA tracksuit badge
The England women's cloth badge created to emblazon the team tracksuits and the original artwork by Beryl Marsh dated 1 March 1967.   


1972 England women
 England women sport the team tracksuit and badge in Cardiff in 1972.



Where next for our clothing collection?

Since opening in 2011, THM has acquired a wide range of men’s and women’s original hockey kit and replica clothing. The collection spans from the late-19th century to the modern day. These would have been initially quarantined (to protect the rest of the collection from any bugs that may have snuck in amongst the fabric) and then carefully packed and preserved by Judith, our lead volunteer for textiles, who is very ably assisted by Shirley who makes our padded hangers.


High Street store 04
Part of the clothing collection stored at The Hockey Museum's Woking home.


Looking through our textiles collection, clothing catalogues, adverts in various magazines, and the many team photos we hold at THM, it is fascinating to see how much the outfits have changed over 150 years of modern hockey, particularly for women. It is not only the changes in fashion that are marked, but also the development of fabrics and designs.

THM is working to acquire funding for a research project around the development of hockey clothing, so if you have any unusual items or an interest in this work please get in touch.

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Maurice Turnbull profile


August 2024 will mark the 80th anniversary of the sad death of a long-forgotten Welsh sportsman, the unique Maurice Turnbull, who was killed in action in France at the climax of World War 2.

Why unique?

Maurice has the distinction of having been a ‘quadruple international’ gaining honours for England at test cricket and for Wales at rugby union, squash and hockey. Maurice played in three hockey internationals in 1929, whilst studying at Trinity College Cambridge.

He scored the winning goal on his Wales debut in the 1-0 victory over Scotland, following in the footsteps of his father Philip Bernard Turnbull who, alongside his goalkeeper brother Bertrand (Maurice’s uncle), had represented Wales at hockey at the 1908 Olympic Games, winning a bronze medal.

1908 would be the one and only time that the home nations competed as separate nations at an Olympic Games. England won the hockey gold medal and Ireland the silver medal. The bronze medal was shared by Wales and Scotland – there was no third-place playoff match. The other competing nations were France and Germany, who lost to England and Scotland respectively in the hockey tournament’s first round.


Welsh Hockey Association Selection Book
The Welsh Hockey Association Selection Book , from The Hockey Museum's collection.

The book, open to reveal the minutes of the Selection Committee meeting of 1929, records M Turnbull against the position of inside right. Interestingly, he is also recorded as first reserve for the position of centre forward. If the centre forward were to get injured then presumably the first reserve inside right, J G Bunell, would be called up with Turnbull switching to centre forward.


Andrew Hignell in his excellent biography, Turnbull: A Welsh Sporting Hero (first published in 2001) believes that “His hockey was doomed to disappointment as he was competing for selection against players focusing solely on hockey!” Who knows how many hockey matches Maurice may have played in if he had not pursued his other sporting passions to elite level?

So, it begs the question as we approach the 80th anniversary of Maurice’s death: was he Britain’s most complete all-round sportsman?

Is there anyone out there who can rival Maurice Turnbull’s incredible achievements on the international sporting stage?

The photograph below is of Maurice at Downside School in Somerset in 1922. Maurice is sitting second from the left with his cousin Lou to his right; this appears to be the ‘only’ photo of him as a hockey player, despite his achievements!


Maurice Turnbull Downside School hockey team 1922
Downside School hockey team, Somerset, 1922.


Maurice Turnbull’s death

From the epilogue of Turnbull: A Welsh Sporting Hero by Andrew Hignell.

“Major Turnbull was one of over a hundred casualties sustained by the Welsh Guards as they fought in and around the village of Montchamp [in Normandy, north-western France]. Many of the fatalities were in the Panzer [tank]-led counterattack on the evening of 5 August 1944.

“His commanding officer John Vigar said of Maurice, 'We have lost a very great friend and a true leader of men right to the very end'.

“News of his death filtered through to the crowd at Cardiff Arms Park and the crowd spontaneously rose and stood in a minute's silence in tribute to a man whose life had been devoted to Welsh sport!”

Eustace E White
 Eustace E White.


The life of Eustace E White

Mr Eustace E White was the Editor of Hockey Field and Lacrosse magazine (aka Hockey Field). The magazine was shocked to learn his sudden death on 8 December 1922, due to a second heart attack whilst in Nottingham during a hockey lecturing tour of the Midlands.

Eustace was the son of the late Colonel Charles Mills White. He was born in India and educated at Hereford Cathedral School and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, where he took a BA in Classics. From the age of 12 he wanted to become a schoolmaster and, after filling two or three posts, he founded and maintained, for six or seven years, a very successful preparatory boy's school of his own in the west of England. Dutton House School was noted for its excellent success at cricket and hockey.

With an interest in and love for writing and lured by the romance of journalism, Eustace resigned his school position and moved to London, where he became a sports correspondent and then sports editor of The Ladies' Field, a women’s multi-sports magazine. He upheld the position until the outbreak of World War 1. In that capacity, he wrote about all sports, mainly lawn tennis and golf, but it seemed as if his heart of hearts was always given to hockey. He made hockey – women's hockey in particular – the chief object of his enthusiasm, and whether as editor, coach, lecturer or umpire, he became renowned for giving his all to the game. His reputation and knowledge of hockey combined to have him take over from Miss Edith Thompson as the Editor of Hockey Field and Lacrosse (formerly Hockey Field magazine) for the 1920/1921 season.

His wife Nora Brittain White (nee Foster), or Mrs Eustace White as she was more commonly known, continued to edit Hockey Field and Lacrosse after his passing until 1939. Eustace resurrected the magazine after World War 1 and Nora would edit it subsequently until the outbreak of World War 2.


English Reds vs Blues

An invitational women’s hockey match, English Reds versus Blues, was held on Thursday 5 April 1923 at the Kew Hard Court Tennis Club in Richmond, at 3pm. The match coincided with the closing date for the Eustace E White Memorial Fund, which was set up following his death in December – all proceeds from the ticket sales would be donated to the fund to support Mr White's family.

The final score saw the Reds beat the Blues 5-4. Notably, England forward Marjorie Pollard scored a hattrick for the Reds. She would later take over the editorial responsibilities of Women’s Hockey Field magazine – a continuation of Hockey Field and Lacrosse just without the lacrosse – from Nora White after World War 2.

Although the match was organised with only 15 days’ notice, £30 5s. 6d. was raised for the memorial fund.

The following England international players and reserves kindly took part:

English Reds

M. Hollowell (Lancs, North, England)
M. J. Reed (Surrey, South, England Reserve)
K. Gordon (Surrey)
P. March (Surrey, South)
Mrs. Ryott (Oxfordshire)
B. Hewlett (Lancs, North, England Reserve)
Mabel Bryant (Lancs, North England)
M. Perkin (Kent, East, England Reserve)
Brenda Newell (1 goal) (Beds, Midlands, England Reserve)
Marjorie Pollard (3 goals) (N'hants, Midlands, England)
Evelyn Willcock (1 goal) (Staff, Midlands, England), Captain

English Blues

Alieen Maltby (Sussex, South, England)
Muriel Knott (Kent, East, England)
Kathleen Doman, Captain (Kent, East, England)
L. Poland (Kent, East, England Reserve)
Phyllis Scarlett (Staff, Midlands, England)
Stevens (Kent, East)
P. Boswell (Beds, Midlands, England Reserve)
B. Taylor (Surrey, South, England Reserve)
Mrs. Stedman (1 goal) (Kent, East, England Reserve)
Mrs. Crombie (3 goals) (Surrey, South)
Dr Kathleen McArthur (Middlesex, South, England)

Miss Mainland & Miss Clay


Our Hockey Field magazine holdings

The Hockey Museum holds several complete sets of what we collectively call Hockey Field magazine, the influential women’s hockey magazine that ran throughout the twentieth century in various guises from 1901 to 1991. These magazines are an invaluable research resource and a fascinating chronicle of women’s hockey in England, from grassroots to international level. Officially the organ of the All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA), its issues straddle the geo-political events of twentieth-century Europe and feature articles and ‘letters to the Editor’ covering hockey playing, coaching, umpiring and governance as they evolved across nine decades.


Hockey Field magazine


In its various guises, Hockey Field magazine’s more-or-less-continuous publication timeline is:

  • The Hockey Field 1901-1916
  • [World War 1]
  • Hockey Field and Lacrosse 1921-1939
  • [World War 2]
  • Women’s Hockey Field 1946-1955
  • Hockey Field 1955-1991

THM also holds the comprehensive archives of two past editors of Hockey Field, Marjorie Pollard and Pat Ward.

VAT advert Len Smiths     VAT Len Smiths photo
Len Smith’s was a renowned shop in Twickenham, Greater London, which sold women’s sporting attire to hockey clubs. It is perhaps most famous for its skirts (pictured), even fitting out the England national team.


The introduction of Value-added tax (VAT) into the UK on 1 April 1973, with a VAT rate of 10%, had special significance for treasurers of sports clubs, who had to grapple with how the uncertainties and complexities of a new system might impact on their club. A new language was created, including terms such as taxable, exempt and zero-rated supplies, thresholds, inputs and outputs. A decision needed to be made whether each club needed to register for VAT, and if it did, how it would deal with the administrative burden of keeping the necessary accounting records and filing quarterly VAT returns.

The basic rule was that if a club’s annual taxable supplies exceeded the VAT threshold (initially £5,000) then it had to register for VAT. Two key sources of income for most clubs, members subs and bar receipts, were taxable supplies but donations were not. If a club did register for VAT, charging its members VAT on their subs and at the bar, it could offset its VAT payment by deducting VAT incurred on many, but not all, its purchases – a new set of rules for what could be deducted had to be learned.

Some hockey clubs were able to split their activities into two different clubs, such that neither club reached the threshold: typically, a club which focused on playing hockey in which the main income was members’ subs, and a social club in which its members enjoyed the bar and social events. This increased the administrative burden as the two clubs had to be seen to be run separately, with their own constitutions, committees, bank accounts and paid memberships.

There were many changes to the VAT rate and to the threshold. It was a great relief to hockey club treasurers when, on 1 April 1994, when VAT was 17.5% and the threshold £45,000, the rules were amended to exempt supplies of sporting services made by non-profit organisations engaged in sport or physical education. In particular, this meant that members’ subs and hiring sports equipment and facilities to members were no longer considered to be taxable supplies.



Biddy Burgum scrapbook England vs Belgium 1953
Biddy Burgum's scrapbook which chronicles England women vs Belgium at Empire Stadium, Wembley in 1953.



March 2023 is the 70th anniversary of England women’s thumping 11-0 victory over Belgium at Wembley Stadium – a match played in front of an impressive 50,000-strong crowd of mainly schoolgirls.



1953 England vs Belgium Wembley programme cover

The beautifully illustrated programme from the England vs Belgium match of 1953.



March is also Women’s History Month and The Hockey Museum (THM) has taken this opportunity to celebrate the career of one of the players who featured in the 1953 match: indeed, the eldest surviving England women’s international hockey player, Biddy Burgum.

The report of the 1953 match against Belgium reveals Biddy to have been a pacey, dynamic winger: “It was a joy to see Burgum, marked by her half, gather a pass on her stick, pull the ball back as if her stick was either a spoon or a magnet and then set off at full speed on the right of her opponent.”

Biddy, aged 95, is currently living in a care home in Hailsham, East Sussex where she enjoys looking out at the garden and watching the birds from her room. She recently donated her personal collection of hockey memorabilia and archive material to THM and had great fun reminiscing before releasing it into our safekeeping. She misses her hockey friends.



Biddy Burgum and her kit 01     Biddy Burgum and her kit 02

Biddy Burgum, aged 95, reminiscing over her hockey kit before releasing it into the safekeeping of The Hockey Museum.

Photograph courtesy of Ruth Hine.



Biddy’s career in hockey: international player and respected teacher and coach

Biddy, who played her hockey on the right wing, earned 51 England caps during her career. Her first cap was on 4 March 1950 against Scotland at The Oval cricket ground in London (6-2 win); her last match was on 2 September 1961, a 1-1 draw against South Africa. A talented multi-sportswoman, Biddy was not intimidated by the prospect of making her England hockey debut at The Oval – she had played there several times previously representing Surrey Ladies at cricket!

Biddy’s childhood crossed over with World War 2 and the Birmingham Blitz. She became a teenage evacuee for a short period, though she spent most of the war at school in Birmingham.

For more information on Biddy’s wartime experiences: Burgum Family History Society

As a teenager, Biddy’s school physical education (PE) teacher Rena Lewis had offered her the chance to join a local hockey club in Birmingham and she played for them for three years until 1945. After the war, Biddy continued to hone her hockey skills at Bedford PE College. After completing her studies, she taught at Sutton High School and played county hockey for Surrey before teaching at Nottingham Girls' High School (where she introduced extra-curricular cricket sessions) and playing for Nottinghamshire. Having received help to get into a Birmingham hockey club when she was a child, throughout her teaching career Biddy sought to help aspiring students get into local hockey clubs. She also had a regular coaching column for schoolgirls in Women’s Hockey Field magazine.

Complementary to her teaching and playing, Biddy would go on to become a respected All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA) advanced coach and in 1969 began lecturing prospective PE teachers at Chelsea College of Physical Education (Chelsea CPE) in Eastbourne. Under her instruction, the Chelsea CPE First XI won many PE colleges tournaments and the inaugural AEWHA Club Championships in 1977. That qualified the team to play in the European Clubs Championships the following year. Many Chelsea players went on to earn representative honours for England and Wales Under 21s and Under 23s, as well as full England and/or Great Britain caps. Among them were Barbara Hambly, Ruth Hine, Sandie Lister, Sue Wilson, Helen Bray, Jane Powell, Steph Garner, Karen Price, Sue Thomas and Janet Millar who were all from the same Chelsea era.



Chelsea CPE First XI 1976 77 low res

Chelsea College of Physical Education First XI, 1976/1977.

Back row (from left to right): Sandie Marrison, Barbara Holden, Jan Grainger, Ruth Hawes, Biddy Burgum, Jane Powell, Sue Rowarth, Helen Stother. Front row: Linda Kelly, Jean Walker, Julie Abson, Gill Scamell, Sue Powell.

Photograph courtesy of Ruth Hine.

Biddy was able to combine her teaching with a 12-year international hockey career that saw her play at Wembley Stadium and travel to distant parts of the world.

In 1950 she was offered the chance to tour to South Africa for the International Federation of Women’s Hockey Associations (IFWHA) World Conference and Tournament. Even though Biddy had played in all the England women’s matches that year she did not go; she was not selected in time to get the money together. She did eventually tour South Africa with England, first in 1954 and again in 1961. During the 1954 tour, England competed against the South African women’s hockey team in five test matches, as well as playing regional clubs. England visited Cape Town, Johannesburg and crossed into Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe).

Between her trips to South Africa, Biddy was crowned an unofficial World Champion with England at the IFWHA Conference and Tournament in Amsterdam in 1959. England defeated USA (4-1), West Germany (3-0), Switzerland (8-0), Argentina (2-0) and South Africa (4-0) at the Conference.



England womens team 1959 low res

The England women's hockey team of 1959. Biddy Burgum is seated one in from the left.


Thanks to Biddy’s generosity, THM now holds her scrapbooks in perpetuity – a treasure trove of documents and memorabilia which chronicle a fascinating and fulfilling career in hockey.


Joan Wall Elaine Turner Brenda Coleshill Biddy Burgum and Joan Hassell

England internationals Joan Wall, Elaine Turner, Brenda Coleshill, Biddy Burgum and Joan Hassell at the England internationals reunion event in 2018.

Former captain Brenda Coleshill remembers Biddy as a classic right wing – speedy, hugging that touchline, and getting in fabulous hard crosses that so often led to goals: “I had the privilege of playing in the same team as Biddy on many occasions – she was a great teammate and we had memorable times on the tour to South Africa in 1961”. Brenda and Biddy have remained good friends and in later life went on numerous holiday cruises to places like Norway and Iceland.

Photograph courtesy of England Hockey.


Her hockey life in her own words

In 2014, The Hockey Museum interviewed Biddy as part of its oral history project, which aims to capture the lived experience and memories of notable members of the hockey family. You can listen to Biddy recount her life in hockey in her own words by following the link: Oral History Interview: Biddy Burgum (

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