featured image football team

Postcard mysteries

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Local football team.

One of our newest museum donations is this fantastic postcard showing a local football team, a detail of which is shown to the left . Do you know who any of these footballers are? This postcard was taken by Bishop’s Stortford photographer William Sullivan, who was active in the early 20th century. The museum has quite a few postcards by Mr Sullivan and this has allowed us to build up a brilliant visual picture of the area during the period he was active.

This particular postcard came to us as part of a larger donation of material from a Stortford family, one of whom was actively involved in local football in the earlier 20th century, so we think this must be a shot of a local team – but there is so much we don’t know about this picture. Who are the men in the photograph? Which team did they play for? When was it taken? And where?

There were many teams in the town at this time – including the Stortford First and Second team, the Stortford Wednesday Eleven and the Methodist team. It was common for members of the teams to swap and change sides to make up numbers for different games, they were all Stortfordians after all!

Take a look at the picture below of the Methodist team c1912 – most are in the kit of the team, but the two ‘fill ins’ are wearing the kit of Bishop’s Stortford Football Club. The question is then: is our mystery team in the first postcard the Methodist team? Or is it a different team altogether?

If you think you might know what our newest postcard shows please get in touch! Lets “kick-off” with the search for more information on our mystery football boys and try to “tackle” the issues of who they are and who they were playing for. Ahem, puns completely intended…

Email: museum@rhodesbishopsstortford.org.uk if you have any ideas and hopefully we can update the blog when we find out more!


Soldiers in Hockerill Street

We are postcard crazy here at Bishops Stortford Museum! We just think that postcards provide an amazing visual snapshot of a moment in time. Sometimes it’s the not quite knowing what exactly is going on in the picture that makes them so interesting, and means we can investigate a little more, and learn lots along the way.

This photo postcard is a real puzzler. It was printed by local publisher Chapman and Hampton and is from the early 20th century – although the exact date the photograph was taken is unknown. What is really strange about it is that the soldiers it shows marching up Hockerill Street towards the crossroads are all carrying their rifles upside down. This is an act traditionally associated with funerals; however they don’t appear to be in strict marching order, in fact they look rather as if they have just fallen out. What do you think?

We would like to think they are ‘C ’Company 1st Battalion Hertfordshire Regiment. The C company was the Bishop’s Stortford, Ware, Widford and the Hadhams Company – they trained at the Bishop’s Stortford Drill Hall and the Drill Hall is still standing in town as a lasting and important historic reminder of military training that occurred in the town.

Suggestions we have had so far about why the soldiers are holding their rifles upside down include the fact that they may have finished a parade to mark the death of King Edward in 1911 or a local dignitary, such as a member of the Archer-Houblon family, or they may even have been attending the funeral of a local military veteran, such as Mr Charles Hockley of Nursery Road, who died in 1912, but had been involved in the South African wars. We are just not sure!

If you have an idea about what might be going on in the postcard, or think you might know someone who would, please get in contact via our email: museum@rhodesbishopsstortford.org.uk . We are always eager to learn more about our collections and we know the people most likely to know more are the residents of Bishops Stortford themselves! We’d love to hear from you.


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