A Pictorial History

FOOTBALL PROGRAMMES

WEST HAM UNITED

Steve Marsh & Stuart Allen

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theyflysohigh logo 1895-96 Thames Ironworks

1895-96 Thames Ironworks

BIRTH OF A DYNASTY

The club was financed by members' subscriptions and a generous contribution from the Thames Iron Works. It was run by a club committee made up of "clerks, foreman or supervisors at the Iron works". As over 50 men had joined the club, it was necessary to find enough matches for two teams.

 

Home games took place at Hermit Road, Canning Town. It had previously been used by Old Castle Swifts, a company club sponsored by Donald Currie, the owner of the Castle Shipping Line. Old Castle Swifts had been the first professional football club in Essex but it went out of business at the end of the 1894-1895 season.

 

Francis Payne was appointed as club secretary. The local newspaper praised Arnold Hills for forming a football team: "If this example were only followed by other large employers, it would lead to much good feeling."

 

Robert Stevenson became captain of the team. He was the Thames Ironworks most experienced footballer and had previously played for Woolwich Arsenal. Other players included John Woods, who also played cricket for Essex and George Gresham, who had been a regular scorer with Gainsborough Trinity. However, the star player was the 17 year old William Barnes.

 

IRONS KICK-OFF

The newly formed Thames Ironworks FC played their very first match on 7 September, 1895 against the Royal Ordnance Reserves at their Hermit Road Ground in Canning Town.

 

A report of the friendly match in the Kentish Mercury newspaper said:

"The home team won the toss and elected to play with the sun and the wind at their backs. Despite this advantage, however, it was not until about 30 minutes from the start when their outside-left (Darby of Plumstead) received the ball just upon the 12 yards line and promptly sent it passed Henshall who had no chance whatsoever of saving the shot."

The visitors equalised in the 70th minute following a scramble in the Ironworks' goalmouth.

 

 

Three days later at a meeting of the London Football Association, Thames Ironworks FC were one of 30 new clubs admitted to membership.

Within six months of its formation in 1895, the Thames Ironworks Football Club showed its farsightedness by playing a game at night under electric light at its Hermit Road Ground. On Monday 16 December 1895, Old Stephens were the opposition in a friendly match before a large crowd. Twelve lights each of 2000 candle power were mounted on poles to illuminate the playing area, but the venture was not altogether a success. The light varied a great deal in its strength as the engine that provided the electric light was not powerful enough to keep all the floodlights working all the time and little or nothing could be seen on occasions. Rain fell during the match which made the pitch very heavy and slippery, but the Ironworkers mastered the conditions to win 3-1.

Season 1896-97

Thames Ironworks played a night game against the famous West Bromwich Albion. The club committee arranged for the erection of canvas screens round the moat-ringed pitch, and charged the public for watching the game. Albion won the game 4-2.

Back row: Arnold Hills, Barnbas French, Hugh Graham, Francis Payne, John Woods, William Hickman, Tom Robinson (trainer).

Middle row: (Unknown player), Fred Chamberlain, Robert Stevenson, George Sage, William Barnes.

Front row: Johnny Stewart, Thomas Freeman.

THAMES IRONWORKS 1896

West Ham Charity Cup Winners

Thames Ironworks Committee

Chairman: Mr F. Payne

Treasurer: Mr G. Johnson

Secretary: Mr A.T. Harsent

 

Committee:

C. Hill, A. Dance, Cameron Firth, Selby, W. Proctor, G. Patterson, T. Dearl, T. Robinson, D. Large, D. Taylor, E. Smith, E. Bickford and J. Cearns.

 

The following selected to form an emergency committee:

F. Payne, G. Johnson, A.T. Harsent, C. Hill, E. Smith

Hermit Road Ground

1 - 1

7 September 1895

DARTFORD RESERVES : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

4 - 0

14 September 1895

ROYAL ORDNANCE RESERVES : Friendly

MANOR PARK : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

8 - 0

28 September 1895

STREATHAM : Friendly

Away

3 - 0

5 October 1895

CHATHAM : F.A. Cup (First Qualifying Round)

Chatham

0 - 5

12 October 1895

Att: 3,000

Watson, Tull, Williams, Stewart, French, Parks, Woods, Sage, Lindsay, Freeman, Darby

After the Ironworks were initially drawn at home, Chatham suggested that the Hermit Road enclosure, with its cinder-based pitch, was 'unsuitable' and requested that the tie be played on their ground. The Ironwork's committee may have been swayed by the prospect of a much bigger gate and extra revenue and they agreed to the change. After all, they had no real support at this early stage.

As it turned out, the attendance of 3,000 justified their decision from a financial viewpoint but it was no surprise that Chatham went through to the next round.

As for the match itself, the visitors played fairly well in the middle of the park, but they were generally lost when near to goal. With Chatham 2-0 up at half-time, the home side wore the inexperienced Ironworkers down in the second half. Watson, in goal, misjudged the ball for the third goal, although he played well overall, whilst the rest of the defence had a torrid time keeping the score down. The only forward who did well for Thames was their most experienced player, Jamie Lindsay.

ERITH UNITED : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

1 - 2

19 October 1895

OLD ST. STEPHEN'S RESERVES : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

4 - 0

26 October 1895

READING RESERVES : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

2 - 3

2 November 1895

Undaunted and a little wiser after their Cup exploits, the club continued their friendly schedule and two weeks later took on the reserve team of Reading, whose first eleven were competing in the Southern League. Thames put on a reasonable performance, despite being beaten by the odd goal in five.

Gibson, Taylor, Stevenson, Gillies, Williams, Woods, Gresham, Chapman, Lindsay, McArthur, Barnes

007 WOODS John Thames badge 1895 Team Group

Although Dave Taylor, a foreman in the shipbuilding department, undertook the task of forming a football club within Thames Ironworks in the summer of 1895, the idea was not his alone nor was it a 'spur of the moment' decision. With the demise of the Old Castle Swifts there were a number of its former players who were employed at the Ironworks and now found themselves without a club.

96_03_30 Thames v. Roayl Ordnance

The Standard

1 April 1896

Arnold Hills, who had been involved in a bitter industrial dispute with his employees that year, thought that the formation of a football club might help improve the mood of his workforce. On 29 June, 1895, Dave Taylor announced in Hills Thames Iron Works Quarterly Gazette, that he intended to establish a football club.

 

The information appeared under the headline: "The importance of co-operation between workers and management". He referred to the dispute that had just taken place and insisted he wanted to "wipe away the bitterness left by the recent strike". Hills added: "Thank God this midsummer madness is passed and gone; inequities and anomalies have been done away with and now, under the Good Fellowship system and Profit Sharing Scheme, every worker knows that his individual and social rights are absolutely secured."

 

The article asked workers interested in joining the Thames Iron Works Football Club to contact Francis Payne, a senior clerk at the company.

Mr Taylor TIW Gzzette cover

Charlie Dove, an apprentice riveter with the Thames Iron Works, was one of those who paid an annual subscription of 2/6 (12.5p) to join the club. He was joined by about fifty other colleagues in this new venture. Training took place on Tuesday and Thursday nights in a gas-lit schoolroom at Trinity Church School in Barking Road. Training mainly consisted of Army physical training exercises. They also went for runs along the Turnpike Road (Beckton Road).

 

Other employees who played in the team included Thomas Freeman (ship's fireman), Johnny Stewart (boilermaker), Walter Parks (clerk), Walter Tranter (boilermaker) James Lindsay (boilermaker), William Chapman (mechanical engineer), George Sage, (boilermaker), George Gresham (ship's plater) and Fred Chamberlain (foreman blacksmith).

Evening Standard

27 April 1896

2nd GRENADIER GUARDS : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

4 - 0

9 November 1895

Gibson, Taylor J., French, Gillies, Williams, Woods, Chapman, Gresham, Stevenson, Barnes, Sage

 

CHARLTON UNITED : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

4 - 0

16 November 1895

Gibson, Taylor J., Lindsay, Gillies, Williams, Woods, Chapman, Gresham, Stevenson, Barnes, Sage

 

WEST CROYDON : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

2 - 0

23 November 1895

Gibson, Gillies, Williams, Collins, Freeman, Barnes, (5 players untraced)

 

COLDSTREAM GUARDS : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

3 - 1

30 November 1895

Gibson, Gillies, Williams, Collins, Dove, Barnes, (5 players untraced)

 

DARTFORD RESERVES : Friendly

Away

0 - 2

7 December 1895

Gibson, Stevenson, Taylor, Gillies, Williams, Collins, Woods, Sage, Dove, Chapman, Gresham

 

MILLWALL ATHLETIC RESERVES : Friendly

Away

0 - 6

14 December 1895

Gibson, Stevenson, Taylor, Morton, Collins, Gillies, Woods, Sage, Dove, Chapman, Gresham

 

OLD ST. STEPHENS RESERVES : Friendly (Electric light)

Hermit Road Ground

3 - 1 (Dove 2, Collins)

16 December 1895

Graham, Taylor J., Stevenson, Gillies, Williams, Collins, Sage, Dove, McArthur, Chapman, Gresham

 

2nd GRENADIER GUARDS : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

1 - 4

21 December 1895

SOUTH WEST HAM : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

4 - 1

25 December 1895

WANDSWORTH : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

5 - 1

26 December 1895

LEWISHAM ST. MARY : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

7 - 1

28 December 1895

NOVOCASTRIANS : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

6 - 1 (Goalscorers Unknown)

4 January 1896

Graham, Stevenson, Taylor J., French, Collins, Morton, Chapman,Gresham, Dove, Woods, Sage

UPTON PARK : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

2 - 1 (Goalscorers Unknown)

18 January 1896

Graham, Stevenson, Taylor J., French, Collins, Morton, Chapman, Gresham, Dove, Nichols, Woods

BARKING WOODVILLE : Friendly (Electric light)

Hermit Road Ground

6 - 2 (Dove 3, Stevenson 2, Nichols)

20 January 1896

Graham, Taylor J., Hurst, Morton, Collins, Woods, Stevenson, Sage, Dove, Chapman, Nichols

Their fourth floodlit game was against Barking Woodville. In his book, Iron in the Blood, John Powles quotes a report in the West Ham Herald: "Boys were swarming up over the fences for a free view when I put in an appearance. And what a smart man the Ironworkers have at the gate. He seemed to think my ticket was a real fraud until he had turned it upside down and inside out, and smelled at it for a considerable time. But he graciously passed me at last." The Irons won 6-2 with Charlie Dove getting a hat-trick.

CIVIL SERVICE : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

5 - 0

25 January 1896

MANOR PARK : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

7 - 2

1 February 1896

ROYAL ORDNANCE : Friendly (Electric Light)

Hermit Road Ground

2 - 1 (Dove, Sage)

6 February 1896

Graham, Taylor J., Hurst, Morton, Collins, Woods, Stevenson, Sage, Dove, Gresham, Chapman

HORNSEY : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

4 - 0

8 February 1896

Graham, Taylor J., Hurst, Morton, Collins, Woods, Stevenson, Sage, Dove, Gresham, Chapman

PARK GROVE : West Ham Charity Cup

Away

1 - 0

15 February 1896

(Result annulled after protest over ineligible players)

ST LUKE'S : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

1 - 0 (Stevenson)

22 February 1896

Graham, Taylor J., Hurst,  Morton, Collins, Woods, Stevenson, Sage, Dove, Gresham, Chapman

READING : Friendly

Away

2 - 4 (Gresham, Woods)

29 February 1896

Graham, Taylor J., Hurst, Morton, Collins, Hilton, Woods, Lindsay, Dove, Gresham, Chapman

FULHAM : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

5 - 1 (Farrell 2, Gresham, [Unknown 2])

7 March 1896

Woodford, Taylor J., Hurst, Morton, Collins, Hilton, Farrell, Dove, Gresham, Freeman, ?

WEST CROYDON : Friendly (Electric Light)

Hermit Road Ground

5 - 0 (Chapman 2, Gresham 2, Stevenson)

9 March 1896

Graham, Taylor J., Hurst, Morton, CollinsWoods, Stevenson, Sage, Dove, Gresham, Chapman

ST LUKE'S : Friendly

Away

1 - 3

14 March 1896

WOOLWICH ARSENAL : Friendly (Electric Light)

Hermit Road Ground

3 - 5 (Gresham 2, Fitzjohn)

16 March 1896

Graham, Taylor J., Hurst, Morton, Collins, Woods, Stevenson, Stares, Fitzjohn, Gresham, Chapman

WEST BROMWICH ALBION : Friendly (Electric Light)

Hermit Road Ground

2 - 4 (Chapman 2)

20 March 1896

Graham, Taylor J., Neil, Morton, Collins, Stares, Fitzjohn, Sage, Stevenson, Gresham, Chapman

The third match took place at the St. Lukes ground at Beckton. Watched by a crowd of 3,000 people, Thomas Freeman and George Sage missed some good opportunities to open the scoring. After 20 minutes, Langford, one of Barking's forwards was forced to go off with a bad injury.

 

In the second-half Johnny Stewart with his "mazy runs" continued to cause Barking problems. Thomas Freeman was injured and both sides were now down to 10 men. Near the end of the game, Fred Chamberlain had a shot deflected for a corner. George Sage took the corner and the teenage William Barnes, fired in a low, fast shot, scoring the only goal in the game.

LEYTON ORIENT : Friendly (Electric Light)

Hermit Road Ground

3 - 0

28 March 1896

ROYAL ORDNANCE : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

0 - 4

30 March 1896

Graham, Catling, Hurst, Morton, Collins, Stares, Woods, Fitzjohn, Stevenson, Gresham, Chapman

ST LUKE'S : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

1 - 1 (Chapman)

3 April 1896

Graham, Neil, Hurst, Morton, Collins, Woods, Dove, Sage, Stevenson, Gresham, Chapman

LIVERPOOL CASUALS : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

3 - 1 (Chapman, Rossiter, Stevenson)

4 April 1896

Graham, Williams, Hurst, Morton, Collins, French, Rossiter, Dove, Stevenson, Gresham, Chapman

VAMPIRES : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

6 - 2 (Untraced)

6 April 1896

Graham, Hurst, Catling, Stares, Collins, Morton, Rossiter, Rossiter, Fitzjohn, Sage, Chapman

COMMERCIAL ATHLETIC : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

3 - 1

11 April 1896

SOUTH WEST HAM : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

3 - 0 (Gresham 2, [og])

18 April 1896

Graham, Catling, Hurst, Morton, Collins, Stares, Dove, Rossiter, Fitzjohn, Patterson, Gresham

MILLWALL RESERVES : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

1 - 1 (Rossiter)

24 April 1896

Graham, Stevenson, Hurst, Woods, Collins, Stares, Sage, Dove, Rossiter, Chapman, Gresham

HARWICH & PARKESTON : Friendly

Away

1 - 1 (Howes)

24 April 1896

Woodward, Cutling, French, Hickman, Chamberlain, Howes, Goun, Stewart, Cocksedge, Spruce, Munroe

 

96_01_31 TIW v. Barking Woodville - The Essex Coun

VAMPIRES : Friendly (Electric Light)

Hermit Road Ground

1 - 3 (Gresham)

17 February 1896

Graham, Taylor J., Hurst, Hilton, Dove, Gresham, Stevenson, Chapman, Morton, Woods, Farrell

PARK GROVE : West Ham Charity Cup

St Luke's, Becton

3 - 0 (Stevenson 2, [og])

7 March 1896

Graham, Tull, French, Woods, Williams, Hickman, Chamberlain, Sage, Stevenson, Stewart, Chapman

 

BARKING WOODVILLE : West Ham Charity Cup (Final)

Spotted Dog

2 - 2 (Stevenson, Stewart)

21 March 1896

Att: 3,000

Graham, Lindsay, French, Woods, Williams, Hickman, Barnes, Sage, Stevenson, Stewart, Chapman

 

BARKING WOODVILLE : West Ham Charity Cup (Final Replay)

Spotted Dog

0 - 0

28 March 1896

 

Graham, Lindsay, French, Woods, Williams, Hickman, Barnes, Sage, Stevenson, Stewart, Chapman

 

BARKING WOODVILLE : West Ham Charity Cup (Final 2nd Replay)

St Luke's, Beckton

1 - 0 (Barnes)

20 April 1896

Graham, Stevenson, French, Woods, Chapman, Hickman, Chamberlain, Sage, Freeman, Barnes, Stewart

 

96_04_22 TIW v. Barking Charity Cup Final - The Sp 96_04_25 Harwich & Parkeston v. TIW 008 SAGE George 017 BARNES William 005 FRENCH Barnabas

Special thanks to John Powles and his excellent book  "IRON IN THE BLOOD : Thames Ironworks FC The club that became West Ham United" for allowing extracts to compile this feature and John Northcutt for his attention to statistical accuracy..