Friday, 28 September 2012

Football for All?

An entry to Sepia Saturday. "Using old images as prompts for new reflections"

"Miss Nettie Honeyball captain of the British Ladies Football Club who is coming to America to initiate American girls into the mysteries of football".
This is what every lady footballer was wearing in 1895.  The gloriously appropriately named Miss Nettie Honeyball.  Hettie was a pioneer of football who persuaded J W Julian (a player for Tottenham Hotspur) to coach the British Ladies Football Club, training took place twice a week and the first football match was played in 1895 at Crouch End, dividing the players up to play north against south (London that is rather then England). The North won 7-1.  The Manchester Guardian reported on the match  "Their costumes came in for a good deal of attention.... one or two added short skirts over their knickerbockers.... When the novelty has worn off, I do not think women's football will attract the crowds."

 Well he was wrong.  Jump to the next century and
Dick Kerr's Ladies 1921
 enter Dick Kerr's Ladies, dispensing with the ties but adding a neat hat.  Dick, Kerr and Co was a tramway and light railway company in Preston which was converted to making munitions during World War 1. Competitive sport was thought a good way to improve the moral of factory workers and after the women beat the men at the Dick, Kerr factory a proper team was formed playing for charity taking on the name of their workplace. The first match was at the Preston North End ground of Deepdale in 1917 drawing a crowd of 10,000.  They continued to play and in 1920 played their first international matches against France (won 2, drew 1 and lost 1).  After the UK tour by the French, the Dick Kerr Ladies went on an extensive tour of France.  The publicity gained from this meant when on Boxing Day 1920 they took on St Helens at Everton's ground of Goodison Park a crowd of 53,000 came to watch.  They beat St Helens 4-0.

The male run Football Association  unsettled by the popularity of the women's game and no doubt also by the changing role of women in society banned women's games at all its members grounds, saying that women were not physically suitable for playing the game. This did not stop Dick Kerr's Ladies they continued to play on non FA grounds and toured North America becoming the most famous of all female football teams.
Hayes Ladies training in the 1930s
Football is sometimes called the people's game so nothing is going to stop half the population playing it even if the FA didn't allow it on their fields of play for the next 50 years.
So here am I on the  left stood next to Jim our coach who used to play for Preston North End home of that first match of Dick Kerr's Ladies.  We also were a sort of company team as we all worked at Vickers Shipbuilding and this photo I think was taken at the company's sports club in about 1966 or 7.  We, like Dick Kerr's Ladies, also played for charity on hockey grounds, rugby grounds, anywhere, but of course not on a football ground.  Things could be tricky for our goalkeeper Karen when playing under rugby posts.  We had a great deal of fun and lots of exercise. In 1971 the Football Association lifted the ban on women's football.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Keep

Orford Castle Keep, Suffolk
 The first thing to be built at Orford Castle was the keep and it is the last thing to survive.  Its polygonal shape is an unusual design but it was a fortification which was also built as a statement of power.  The keep stands amongst the earth-covered remains of the outer fortification.  The surrounding marshes were drained and the castle was built between 1165-1173 by Henry II of the Plantagenet dynasty.  The last of that dynasty was Richard III whose supposed remains were recently discovered of all places beneath a car park in Leicester. Where he is going to end up?   We will have to wait and see. The present Queen who is of the Saxe-Coburg Gotha dynasty is not allowing the bones to be buried in the current royal burial places, all those disputes of legitimacy and power still the same throughout the centuries.
Orford Castle Keep, Suffolk

Taking a turn around the other side of the keep its condition is not as perfect. The best rooms were designed to catch the early morning sun and the view from the top looks out over the river, sea and rolling countryside.  Henry II was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine who he imprisoned late in their marriage but although he built this castle with the intention he would occasionally live here this is not where the events  portrayed in the film "Lion in Winter" by Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn took place. 
 I wonder if all those centuries ago this field with its view of Orford Castle and church was planted with kale rather than cabbage. 
 The view of the keep from the sea wall, which as can be seen by the sky, was taken on a different day than the preceding photos of cloudless skies.
  But the bees were still buzzing on the thistles
and the boat keel was cutting through the waters of the River Ore.

An entry to ABC Wednesday - a journey through the alphabet

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Jolly Sailor

The Jolly Sailor in the quiet of of early morning, closed, but all the notice boards are out on show.  I believe parts of the pub date from the 16th Century. The village of Orford dates back to medieval times but in 1579 it was reported as being  in "ruin and decay" due to continental wars, piracy and silting up of the river. Today it is a thriving fishing, sailing and tourist area.   I wonder if there is any sign of a jolly sailor?
Quay Street, Orford
 Well there is someone walking down the street with wearing wellies and carrying a life jacket. Perhaps not him.
Woodbridge, Suffolk
I wonder if he is down on the jetty - no only some hopeful people with a fish bucket. 
 He only seems to be appearing on the pub sign.  I wonder if he is inside with his parrot and drinking
  Broadside beer or perhaps I am searching in vain for
 the phantom of the Jolly Sailor.

An entry to ABC Wednesday. A sail through the alphabet.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Iconic Indian

The moment this bike appeared at the vintage festival an instant crowd gathered to investigate the iconic Indian motorcycle.  Founded in 1901 the company manufactured in Springfield, Massachusetts, the factory's nickname, the wigwam. By 1911 the machine held every speed and distance record in the USA and took top three positions in the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Senior 500cc race (the Snaefell Mountain Course). Second place was taken by Charles Franklin who went on to design  bikes for the company including the original Indian Scout of 1920,  
However I think this bike is one of the 1930s Indian Chiefs but as I have no expertise so don't take my word for it.  The Indian company went bankrupt in 1953 but in 2011 Polaris Industries took over the mark to produce machines again. The Indian time-line is on their site, or if thinking of splashing out and have the odd $37K to spend on travel perhaps the chief vintage 2013 is for you. But for the authentic 1930s experience
take up the helmet, jump on and zoom away
 and of course I'll say "So long till ABC Wednesday!"

 An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet

Saturday, 8 September 2012

A Flat Cap and Bonnets

An entry to Sepia Saturday. "Using old images as prompts for new reflections"

Charles A Pugh
Here is my father wearing a substantial flat cap.  He has written on the back "about 1924" when he would be 17 or 18.   When he was a lot younger than this there is a link to this week's theme of hats. His first job was delivering hats across the town to the women of  Barrow in Furness for their social occasions.  I never thought to ask him who he worked for or how many he delivered but he visited the full span of social classes.  When he got his orders he was disappointed if the address was in a wealthy area for he said that they were poor tippers, but if his task was to call at one of the terraced house where the girls who  worked  in the factories lived he knew it was likely they would tip generously.  He left the job to work for Cases Brewery but he observed that to do so meant he took a drop in wages but had better prospects.   Perhaps his job with the hat shop influenced him for he was never seen without a hat throughout his life, although his preference was for a trilby rather than a cap.  A three piece suit was a constant too.
The photograph was taken at Hawcoat Quarry on the highest part of the town, a wood and views may have made it a pleasant walk. The red sandstone blocks taken from this quarry built most of the Victorian public buildings in the town.
Going further back in time
is a carte de visite of two of my maternal ancestors, names unknown 
Peering at the mother's straw hat I am wondering if the bow on the top was an added embellishment for the photograph, but the child's smile is perfect for the all encompassing bonnet and wonderfully frilly dress.  The woman looks towards the camera but the baby sees something to smile at to its left and out of the picture
The all important mirror to look in to see the hat is on right.  I've never had this carte de visite out of the album so it was a surprise to see Albert Gorton's pretty advert on the reverse. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Harbour Inn

I'm rather fond of pub signs so when approaching the Harbour Inn at Black Shore this was an irresistible photo, a rather romantic view of a fisherman in calm waters
'Relentless' on the River Ore
but then a slightly larger fishing boat we watched the following day on a nearby river may not have fitted the sign.  Continuing my walk past the pub I came to its other sign  
Harbour Inn, Black Shore, Southwold, Suffolk
of stormier weather and the reason can be spotted half way down the wall  which marks the flood level in 1953.  The inn sits beside the north bank of the River Blyth, a tidal estuary of marshes and flood plains.  The pub floods so the ground floor kitchen is on wheels, the fridges have the electric at the top and the plugs are near the ceiling. The landlord, Nick Attfield was reported as saying "I knew what I was taking on and its part of the charm here".
But the recent floods though inconvenient were nothing compared to the "perfect storm" of 1953 when a high spring tide met a deep depression and gale force northerly winds, creating a surge of water that deluged the east coast rising 10 feet above normal levels here and rushing half a mile inland.  The town of Southwold which is surrounded by rivers became an island.  It was the worst peace time disaster.  Known as the North Sea Flood over 300 people died on the east coast of Britain but the Netherlands counted their dead in thousands.  In this area of Suffolk I read a quote that said it was a year before the earthworm was seen again.  The land was not farmed for three years.

On the sunny day we past the fishing huts, some selling their catch, some just at rest and 

people waiting in holiday mood by the calm waters for the Walberswick ferry (which is a rather grand title for a rowing boat) I would never have imagined a disaster on this scale in this quiet corner of England.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet