A Pictorial History

FOOTBALL PROGRAMMES

WEST HAM UNITED

Steve Marsh & Stuart Allen

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Thames Ironworks

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1895-96 1896-97 1897-98 1898-99 1899-00

The Thames Ironworks in Canning Town, West Ham, was London's last surviving major shipbuilding firm. When Dave Taylor, a foreman suggested the formation of a works football team in 1895 he received all the backing he needed from the firm's chairman, Mr Arnold Hills.

The Ironworks, situated at the mouth of the River Lea in East London, had manufactured scores of ships during its long existence, many for the Royal Navy and for overseas governments. And Mr Hills was a very enlightened Victorian employer who took a genuine interest in the welfare of his workforce.

Taylor spent the summer of 1895 planning the new club's first season. Its committee all of whom were clerks, foremen or supervisors had entered the club in cup tournaments and the premier competition in England, the English Cup; it had no though of winning, but the competition would test the team's ability and publicise the new club.

Thames Ironwork's first league match of any kind was staged on 19th September 1896 when a 3-0 win over Vampires gave them a splendid start to their season in the London League.

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