Monday, 29 January 2018

125 Years of History

The Dulwich Hamlet Football Club celebrated its 125th anniversary at the weekend. A century and a quarter of wonderful history, much of which can be read about on the Hamlet Historian blog and in our occasional magazine. 

Later this year the Dulwich Hamlet first team will travel to Hamburg in Germany to play a friendly match with our friends Altona 93, who were also founded in the same year as the Hamlet. 

The historic first formal meeting of Hamlet Old Boys and founder Pa Wilson took place on Friday 28 January 1893 at the Dulwich Hamlet Elementary School in Dulwich Village. The following report featured in the South London Press a fortnight later.

A meeting of the ‘old boys’ of the Hamlet [sic] Board School was held on Friday evening to discuss the formation of a ‘Dulwich Hamlet Old Boys Club.’ As set forth in the circular convening the meeting, the objects of the club would be to form a strong united association of all the fellows that have been through the school; to form a medium of communication between old schoolfellows; to form a body out of which various clubs could be established; to hold reunions, concerts, &c.; and by these and similar means to maintain the good fellowship among those whose school life has been passed together. Some 60 of the old scholars attended, while a large number wrote expressing approval of the proposal, and giving their names as members. The motion formally constituting the club was enthusiastically received and adopted, and a committee was appointed, comprising the head master, Mr W. Brenchley, as president; Messrs AE Snook and JH Russell, as vice presidents; Mr CT Hunt as secretary and treasurer; and Messrs H Croft (Dulwich Village), G Hiscox (East Dulwich); J Wynne (West Dulwich) and T Juster and E Harwood (Herne Hill) as representatives of the various districts. Mr GC Whiteley, MLSB *(chairman of the school), the Rev. GW Daniell (Dulwich Old College) and Mr Lorraine Wilson kindly consented to accept the position of patrons. The formation of the various clubs was discussed and immediate steps were taken respecting cricket and swimming, to be followed in due course by field, football and kindred clubs. Through the kindness of local friends the school is splendidly furnished with gymnastic apparatus, and an athletic club has been in operation for some time. It is proposed to hold the first social meeting and concert immediately after Easter. The secretary will be glad to receive the names of any ‘old boys’; who may not have been communicated with.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

The Hamlet's War Experts to speak at Wolverhampton University

Steve Hunnisett, whose book 'For Freedom' we published recently, has been invited to speak about it at Wolverhampton University next June.

Steve Hunnisett (Photo: Mishi Morath)

Roger Deason, ("When Shall Their Glory Fade?") has also been invited to speak at the same event - Football and War.

Congratulations to them both. Copies of both books are still available for £3 on matchdays at Champion Hill.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Parr and Anderson, Pierce and Ebsworth.

Parr and Anderson, Pierce and Ebsworth.

Friday 10th November 2017 sees the launch of our new book, For Freedom : Dulwich Hamlet Second World War Roll of Honour by Steve Hunnisett.

For Freedom tells the stories of Reg Anderson, Bill Parr, Eric Pierce and Ron Ebsworth, the four Dulwich Hamlet players who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Second World War.
The book is the long awaited follow-up to Roger Deason’s “When Shall their Glory Fade?” about the Hamlet victims of the First World War.

As well as being a dedicated Dulwich Hamlet fan, author SteveHunnisett is a renowned Battlefield Guide and Military Historian. We are extremely grateful for his painstaking research into the lives and careers of our fallen, and for allowing us to publish this wonderful volume  

The handsome 36 page limited edition is priced at £3.00. It will available for purchase on Friday at the Remembrance Day Service in the Dulwich Hamlet boardroom, and afterwards on matchdays at Champion Hill.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Memories of a Pre-War Rabbler

We have just learned of the recent death of John Stephens aged 88. Mr Stephens was one of Dulwich Hamlet's most senior supporters and saw the great Hamlet side in the 1930s heyday. 

Our deepest condolences to his son Cliff and the rest of the family and loved ones. 

An obituary by our friend Mishi Morath can be found here at the official DHFC site. Below we reproduce Cliff's article about his dad from the Issue 28 of the Hamlet Historian magazine from 2015.

Cliff and John Stephens

Memories of a
Pre-War Rabbler
by Cliff Stephens

My father John Stephens was born in 1929, the year that Hamlet legend Edgar Kail won his three full England international caps.

His first match at Champion Hill was in 1935 at the age of six, although he can no longer remember who the Hamlet’s opponents were. Dad and his father Edward would walk from their flat above a shop opposite the cinema in Camberwell up Denmark Hill and sometimes dad’s older brother, also Edward, would accompany them. They would usually stand at the top of the main terrace near the edge of the penalty area at the Champion Hill end of the ground. Later dad would also meet up with some of his school friends.

In dad’s younger days crowds in excess of 10,000 were sometimes achieved, and even reserve games could attract over 2,000.

Some of the players dad remembers seeing are Dennis Anderson; Reg Anderson, an amateur international, who sadly was killed in World War 2; Herbert Benka, who also played cricket for Middlesex; Ron Crisp; Jack Everitt; Alec Freeman, who after retiring from the club in 1951 moved to Rhodesia [Zimbabwe]; Jack Hugo; Reg Merritt; Leslie Morrish, who was born in New Zealand; Cecil Murray; Arthur Phebey who played cricket for Kent; Horace Robbins; Jim Skipper; Fred Setters; and Ernie Toser. Dad particularly remembers the great Tommy Jover who was his favourite player, and Pat Connett, a school friend of his brother Edward with whom they would play football in the streets of Camberwell.

He also recalls that his father, who was employed as a coach trimmer, would sometimes work on the upholstery of the player’s cars.

Dad remembers seeing the touring Nigerian side in 1949 which attracted a crowd of over 18,000, a ground record for a friendly. He also saw a few amateur international matches involving Dulwich players at Champion Hill and Korea v Mexico in the 1948 Olympic Games, which Korea won 5-3.

Although he rarely went to away games, as he and his father also went to Millwall there were a few exceptions.

He went to West Ham in 1937 to see the Hamlet’s last FA Amateur Cup triumph, 2-0 against Leyton both goals coming from Leslie Morrish. Leyton missed a penalty as did Horace Robbins for the Hamlet.

There were also two London Senior Cup wins at Millwall. In 1939, 3-0 against Erith & Belvedere, and in 1943, 5-4 against Tooting & Mitcham United after which the main stand burned down.

During the 1950’s there were a couple of visits the Kennington Oval to see the Hamlet take on the Corinthian Casuals, and in 1956 he went to the FA Amateur Cup semi-final at Chelsea in which Dennis Anderson scored the Hamlet’s goal in a 1-3 defeat to Corinthian Casuals, the closest the Hamlet have come to Wembley (I have a programme from this game but not the one dad bought as he never kept them).

During the 1960’s dad went to very few games as he worked Saturday’s but he was at Champion Hill for the opening of the floodlights in 1964 against Chelsea, who were then at the top of Division One, which attracted a crowd of 4,000.

After moving to Andover in 1967 dad didn’t visit Champion Hill again until the 1990’s when he started attending the occasional match with me including the first game at the new Champion Hill in 1992 when goals from Gary Hewitt and Lionel Best gave the Hamlet a 2-1 victory over Hendon. Dad was rather taken aback as to how much smaller the new ground is compared to the old one. He also came to the Fa Cup 1st round tie against Conference side Southport in 1998 which the visitors won 0-1. The last time dad had seen Dulwich in the 1st round proper was the 1-2 home defeat to Aldershot of the 3rd Division (South) in 1937.
Also during this period he went to a few away games. In 1990 he saw the Hamlet win 6-0 in a pre-season friendly at the now defunct Andover FC. He also saw the Hamlet a few times at Basingstoke Town’s Camrose Ground the only win coming in 1993 when Francis Vines scored the only goal of the game.

Since returning to Andover in 2010 after 9 years in Cornwall he has made it to a few games including the record 3,000 attendance against Maidstone United last season, and the `Pa’ Wilson Memorial Trophy match against our friends Altona 93 earlier this season.

Although now aged 86, and somewhat frail, he still enjoys football and will continue to attend the occasional game for as long as he is able.

Originally published in HH28 Autumn 2015