Monday, 28 December 2015

Ehrenplatz (Pride of Place)

In July 2015 German side Altona 93 took on Dulwich Hamlet at Champion Hill in a historic match for the Pa Wilson Memorial Trophy. The visitors from the fifth tier of German Football won the match by 5 goals to 3 and flew back to Hamburg with the handsome trophy tucked away in their luggage.

Benjamin Lipke and Jakob Sachs of Altona 93

Both clubs were founded in 1893 and originally met in 1925, but it was only following an amazing chance meeting between Mishi Morath and Jan Stover of the respective clubs, that a new bond has grown. In a gesture that is almost unique in modern football the home strip of each club has become the second strip of the other. Altona 93’s change strip is the classic Hamlet pinkand blue, whilst Dulwich, in turn, adorn the red black and white hoops when a colour-clash occurs.

A further match has been arranged for 2018 when the Hamlet team will return to Germany to celebrate the 125th anniversary of both clubs. A fund is in place if you would like to contribute to it.
I asked our good friend Jan of the All To Nah fanzine if he could photograph the Pa Wilson Memorial Trophy in situ at the Adolf-Jäger-Kampfbahn. To be perfectly honest I was expecting it to be sitting in a trophy cabinet in the boardroom. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the solid bronze trophy has pride of place in the players’ dressing room. And why not? Thinking about it, how many footballers enter their own club boardrooms or trophy rooms to see the silverware that they actually had a big hand in winning. Very few I would guess. So it makes perfect sense to have the trophy on display in the home dressing room as a constant reminder of their success.

Jan managed to get into the changing room with first team players Benjamin Lipke and Jakob Sachs after a recent match (pictured above). Both players were in the squad that visited Champion Hill last July. The whole team, Jan tells me, enjoyed the whole experience and are very proud of the Pa Wilson Memorial Trophy.

 Jack McInroy

My grateful thanks to Jan Stover of the All To Nah fanzine. Jan kindly took the above photographs in December 2015.

Andy Nunn's photos found here.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

David E. Levy – Outside Left / Inside Knowledge


75 years ago German bombs began to rain down on Britain causing widespread destruction. Night after night ton after ton of high explosives and incendiaries were dropped by the Luftwaffe, causing tens of thousands of Londoners to perish or suffer serious injury. Many more were displaced, including countless schoolchildren, evacuated to the safety of the English countryside.

While much of London was being reduced to rubble, Bill Kirby was manning an anti-aircraft gun on Clapham Common and on Hampstead Heath, a post he held for the whole duration of the blitz.  Bill’s youth had been spent at Champion Hill, following his local side Dulwich Hamlet. He saw the Pink and Blues in the glory days of the 1930s, watched the legendary Edgar Kail play in his twilight season, and witnessed the Hamlet win their third FA Amateur Cup in six years at West Ham United’s ground. He returned that same evening to the Crown & Greyhound pub in Dulwich Village where the Dulwich players were celebrating their great victory. Bill, then seventeen, was handed the champagne filled trophy, and managed to take a few swigs out of it himself. That momentous night was the first time in his life that he was intoxicated. Today, at 95 years old, Bill is the Hamlet’s most senior supporter.

One player Bill remembers from that heyday was left-winger DE Levy. Levy had arrived at Dulwich Hamlet halfway through the 1929/30 season following a spell at Sutton United. Before that he played 20 times for Hampstead. Hampstead later changed their name to Golders Green, and later still to Hendon FC, which they have been known as ever since.

In his time at Dulwich Levy made over one hundred appearances for the club, scoring over 20 goals. He was also the provider of many more and formed a strong wing partnership with Stanley Smith. [See elsewhere in this issue.] Levy won a Surrey Cap and Badge, represented the Isthmian League, and was one of the eleven Hamlet players that had the unique distinction of taking part in the opening game at the brand new 30,000 capacity Champion Hill ground In October 1931.

Born in Acton, Middlesex in 1905, David Edward Levy was the fourth child of Jewish couple David and Nellie Levy. His father, at the time was a hotel waiter, but went on to become a manufacturer's agent and bookmaker. Growing up, David was closest to his younger brother Joseph, born a year later. Both were keen footballers, and the boys were almost inseparable. They even followed the same path in business, and when Joe left school he joined the same firm where his older brother worked.

That company, JA Phillips Estate Agents of 123 Oxford Street, was owned by fellow Jew, Jack Abraham Phillips. It was at the feet of this charismatic character that David and Joe learned all they knew about office development, becoming steeped in the property world. Among his numerous projects Phillips was responsible for acquiring the land and brokering the deal for the construction of Broadcasting House in Portland Place as the home for the BBC. He also procured a property at the back of the Strand that became New Zealand House.

Despite his flamboyant millionaire playboy image, Jack Phillips held a dark secret. He was an extremely jealous man and hid away his second wife for eleven years, not allowing her contact with any male company. Whenever he threw a party at his mansion in Virginia Water or his rural cottage in Stoke Poges, his wife was locked away in an upper room, a prisoner in her own home!

By 1937, with David’s Hamlet career out of the way, the Levy brothers were looking to finance their own development – some new depots for Dunlop the rubber manufacturers, one of the UK’s largest companies – and hooked up with Scotsman Robert Clark to form a partnership that would eventually reap great rewards.

As the 1930s were drawing to a close and another world war loomed, Jack Philips was on the decline, both in occupation and in health. He contracted cancer and died on Christmas Day 1939. He had lived a luxurious lifestyle but departed this world impoverished, owing hundreds of thousands of pounds in debts and unpaid taxes. All his wife and young daughter, free from their captivity, were left with was a wedding ring and five shillings (25p).

His associates must have seen this coming. The previous January David E and Joe Levy set up their own company DE&J Levy Co Ltd. in St James’ Square, and took over the JA Phillips ailing business. In time DE&J Levy would become the largest commercial-industrial estate agents in London.

During the Blitz of 1940-41, while Bill Kirby was patrolling the skies seeking to take out German bombers, Joe Levy was a member of the fire brigade extinguishing London’s blazes. Not a job for the fainthearted, such was his bravery that he earned the honour of a British Empire Medal after rescuing several people from inside a bombed building that was soon to collapse. Throughout the war years Joe and David met up every few days to keep their own business alive and plan for the years to come.
The saying ‘one man’s loss is another man’s gain’ could not have been truer for the Levys. With the foresight to see that when London came out of the war there would be an awful lot of rebuilding to do, they went about amassing a huge portfolio of war damaged properties in prime locations and at slashed prices. They actually carried cheque book and pen with them to devastated office blocks and retail shops, to make as quick and cheap a deal as possible; perhaps even taking advantage of the owners in their distress and uncertainty. In the post-war property boom these sites would prove to be extremely valuable. What aided them was Joe’s comprehensive knowledge of the West End bomb sites. His fire-fighting duties in the area made him ‘Johnny on the spot’ and gave him a head start in the property market.

Thus, in the aftermath of the war, DE&J Levy had a large hand in the rebuilding of London's West End. There was a great need for the development of offices and shopping areas to get the capital on its feet again, and the Levytes, David with his charm becoming established as the top development agent, and the younger jovial Joe, were chief players.  

However, on January 8, 1952 David Levy sadly passed away aged just 47, the result of a long illness of a rare blood disorder. He had been moved from his deluxe apartment at the Grosvenor Hotel in Park Lane to spend his final days in a sickbed at the London Clinic in Harley Street. Two days later his memorial service took place at the Great Portland Street Synagogue, before his last remains were buried in Willesden Cemetery in a plot not far from his mentor Jack Phillips.

Just prior to David’s death, the Levy brothers transferred their assets to a small-property company they had acquired called Stock Conversion Investment Trust. David’s untimely demise meant he would not witness the rapid growth of the company, or how his brother Joe would soon be propelled to giant status in the post-war property industry. Before long Stock Conversion had office blocks going up in the Strand, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road, High Holborn, Kingsway, Victoria Street, Edgware Road, and most notoriously in Euston Square.
Over the next three decades the company that David Levy set up with his brother Joe was the leading development agency in the West End. DE&J Levy prided themselves on their motto ‘Changing the Face of London.’ And they did just that, arguably much of it was to the detriment of London’s skyline: ugly concrete, steel and glass office blocks rising up to spoil long held vistas. By 1958 the enterprise was responsible for nine million square feet of new office development and investments of almost £100 million. It all made Joe Levy an absolute fortune.

But could it have been achieved without the clandestine meetings with London County Council planners and the shady deals done in the corridors of power to obtain building licenses. One tends to think not.

In 2014 the DE&J Levy Co Ltd. rebranded itself and is now the less cumbersome Levy.

Acknowledgements and sources:  Bill Kirby; John Lawrence for the image; London in the Twentieth Century by Jerry White; The Property Boom by Oliver Marriott; The Times newspaper; The Changing Face of London - British Pathé film 1957.

Original article from HH28 Autumn 2015
Copyright © Jack McInroy

Friday, 4 December 2015

In a Class of Their Own

I was sent a complimentary copy of a new book today, which was a nice pleasant surprise.

In a Class of Their Own: A History of English Amateur Football by Terry Morris is nearly 400 pages thick, so plenty of reading to do over the Christmas period.

There are a few pages on Lorraine ‘Pa’ Wilson, the founder of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club which may interest subscribers of the HH.


Ian Wright

This tribute to one of my old friends is from the archives and originally appeared in the Dulwich Hamlet v Crystal Palace programme 27 July 2011.

Ian Wright
26 October 1957 - 13 June 2011

As we approached Belair Park on our way to another supporters match, Ian told me, “This is definitely going to be my last season.”

He had been thinking about ‘retiring’ for some time, but couldn’t face it. His brain told him to pack it all in but his heart still had a bit of catching up to do. Within weeks, however, the statement Ian had made in the car had become incredibly poignant.

He was always proud to pull on the pink and blue shirt of Dulwich Hamlet, and from his late thirties Ian had been a regular in the Supporters team; not just in the Elevens but in the mid-week Sevens team as well. In the last 15 years he must have turned out hundreds of times. Even into his 50s his kitbag was always on hand if he was required.

In more recent days he was quite content to get fifteen minutes as a late substitute – but that wasn’t always so. He used to frown sometimes about lesser skilled players given a full ninety minutes while he patiently stood by or reluctantly ran the line. “How can those two play ahead of me?” he would ask. And I would reply, “Well, to start with Ian, they’re twenty years younger than you.”

Ian and I went back more than two decades, and we played together on more than 500 occasions. We knew each other’s game inside out, and we both continued into middle age playing for the love of it, well aware of each other’s declining abilities.

I was introduced to Ian when he was about thirty years old. His sister and brother in law have always been among my closest friends. He began to attend my local church, and as we had a couple of dozen men and youngsters who loved playing football at every opportunity Ian fit in very well. Eventually he became a regular attendant at church meetings. It was only recently that we began to see less and less of Ian, and although he spoke to a handful of us of his ailments – he was developing a serious kidney problem – it wasn’t generally recognised that he was in such a bad state.

He lived his entire life in south London. Born in Wimbledon in 1957 he dwelt at various times in East Dulwich, Camberwell, Battersea, Wandsworth and Walworth. Like most post-war kids he grew up with his backside sticking out of his trousers and his toes poking out of his shoes.  But Ian remained that way. “How old is that tracksuit, mate? It looks like something out of the eighties” I’d say. And the truth is, he’d probably been wearing it since then. And even when he occasionally forced himself into a suit and tie, the addition of a jersey and baseball cap always made him appear slightly eccentric. It was difficult to prise that cap from his head: the moment he left the pitch after being subbed, out came the fags and on went the cap.

Ian grew up on the Dog Kennel Hill Estate just a stone’s throw from Champion Hill where he would venture over to watch Dulwich Hamlet play, and though he was a lifelong supporter of Crystal Palace, the Hamlet always remained very close to his heart. And yet in the years between 1970 and 1995 he hardly ever saw them play. He was so busy playing his own football for junior sides, and then Cobham Town, Colliers Wood, the church side, or anyone who would give him a game, that he was quite happy to just follow the Hamlet from a distance through the back pages of the South London Press.
He was a real ‘have boots will travel’ chap. So, when he was given the opportunity to play for Dulwich, albeit in the Supporters team, he was very proud to take up the offer.
In his day Ian was a workmanlike left sided central defender. Solid and dependable, confident on the ball and good in the air with a powerful header. For a big man he was also quite agile and when called upon to go in goal he displayed remarkable skill there too. One of Ian’s most memorable skills (if you can call it that, because it was also the most irritating) was his famous ‘step-over’. This was where the ball was coming towards him at pace in central defence and he would shape to make a hefty clearance. The striker usually leapt and spun to block the ball with his side, back or leading leg, only to find that Ian had completely sold him a dummy. But this manoeuvre would often outfox our own goalkeeper who would be left scrambling to keep the ball out of the net!

By a strange coincidence I once wrote a lighthearted piece titled ‘Ian Wright’ about our friend for the Champion Hill Street Blues fanzine in August 1994 following that summer’s Hamlet v Palace pre-season friendly. I’m pretty sure this was Ian’s first visit to the ground in a very long time, and still a couple of years before his first game for the Supporters team.  He left before the end, disappointed that no Palace ‘stars’ had been included in the line-up.

One memorable game Ian played in was in May 1997 when he scored the match winning penalty in the shootout that decided the Canary Cup final at the Hitchin Tournament. He was also in the side that were dumped out of the West Bromwich Albion Tournament in the Midlands a month later, when a perfectly good Hamlet goal was deemed to have bounced over the bar when it had in fact bounced under it and through a hole in the net. Several of the players from those early games are still part of our current aging side: Steve Rickerby, Shaun Dooley, Matt Hammond, Mishi Morath, myself. A familiar face from the Premier League, FIFA referee’s assistant Steve Child, was also one of our players back then.

Apart from football Ian was also a keen golfer, and once every six months or so I would join him and Joel Virgo for a round. Some folks may not realise that when Ian turned up looking a bit dishevelled on a Saturday morning at Belair Park for a 10.30 kick off, he had usually been up since five and already played eighteen holes at New Addington with Joel. I always found it very odd, traipsing around a golf course with Ian, because in this realm, he really seemed to struggle with simple arithmetic. He’d take three or four strokes down the fairway, lose a ball, three putt – and still come away with a score of 5.

When Ian left the Post Office, where he had worked since leaving school, he took up a job as a driver delivering cooked meats. The company changed ownership several times over the years but Ian was a mainstay. He hardly ever took a day’s leave; he was a good timekeeper; always reliable; a very good driver; and knew the South East better than anybody. I was his travelling companion on many, many occasions and marvelled that he would just point the car and drive without any navigational aids. He knew exactly how to get to our destination and usually by more than one route. Blowing smoke from the side of his mouth out of his wound down window he would continue his monologue about the state of the nation or some current affair as we inched our way to the match. “I’ve played there.” he’d say as we passed a county league ground. “I’ve played there.” as we passed an open field. The next patch of grass: “I’ve played there.” And I never doubted him.

On the very rare occasion that he consulted a map he would ask me to reach over to the backseat to the door compartment and pass him his book. This was a well thumbed ancient Road Atlas of Great Britain that Alfred the Great may have been familiar with. The maps contained very few motorways, and Milton Keynes did not even exist! But he would never update. And besides, the main A-roads were still there, so why bother? More often than not on the return journey from an away match with the Supporters team we would make a detour to one or other of his customers – a café or a bakers shop where he delivered meat pies – where he could pick up a free lunch. He didn’t like to open up his wallet unless it was really necessary.

One of the few times he abandoned his car was for a trip we made to the continent for a match against the Paris St Germaine supporters at the French club’s training ground in Versaille. We took the overnight coach from Victoria instead. That was a great experience for me, representing our club on foreign soil, yet Ian had “been there, done that” in Prague and in Italy a few years before.

Watching Dulwich Hamlet’s first team with Ian was also quite interesting. He kicked every ball and appreciated the opposition’s play as much as his own team. I once had a very long conversation with him that lasted an entire half about the myriad Hamlet matches he claimed to have witnessed over many years. He wasn’t very pleased when I easily proved to him that he could not possibly have seen as many games as he was making out. To start with he was playing on Saturday afternoons himself throughout the 70s and 80s, and made his reappearance at Champion Hill only in the mid 90s! Yet he honestly believed he was one of the club’s most loyal supporters. And then the opposition scored and he stood up and applauded. “Ian,” I enquired, “Are you sure you actually support Dulwich at all?”

Ian’s final game for the supporters was only a few months ago. I remember it because we scored a particularly pleasing team goal. As I was giving out congratulations to all and sundry for the passing, the movement, the tricky bit of skill, the excellent finish, I could hear someone hollering out my name: “Jacko! Jacko! Jacko!” I turned to discover Ian standing on the edge of our box stabbing his chest with his index finger gesturing for me to credit him some audible praise for his part in the build-up that I somehow missed. It made me chuckle (it still does). “Well done Ian. Good clearance.”

Ian Wright passed away on Monday 13th June 2011 at work. Having just made a delivery in the City he collapsed and died as he returned to his vehicle. It was an instant death - thrombosis of the heart (blood clot) – and attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

His funeral took place on July 11th and his body (along with his Hamlet shirt and Crystal Palace scarf), was buried in the Camberwell Old Cemetery. One particular floral tribute was in the figure of the DHFC club crest, another was a striking pink and blue spray. It was a real honour for me to have been handed one of twelve red roses from Ian’s sister Janice to toss into her brother’s grave. He was a friend of mine. I’m going to miss him.

Jack McInroy, July 2011

Memories of ‘The Hamlet’

By Richard Mann

Looking back over 60 years the memories often appear in black and white, but memories of my winter Saturdays were often pink and blue.

A short walk from the bus stop opposite Ruskin Park took us along Champion Hill to the old ground. Dad bought the folded single sheet pink programme before we rattled through the turnstile and crunched our way along the cinder terraces to join the school caps, flat caps, school blazers, belted raincoats and de-mob overcoats to our favourite spot.

Leaning on rail, halfway up the terrace just short of the halfway line, opposite the players’ tunnel, we waited to be joined by George and Fred, two of mum’s brothers. The stylus on the club record player hissed and clicked its way into the same familiar light orchestral pieces which were only interrupted to announce the team changes. Cheers or groans met the inclusion or omission of a crowd favourite while I scribbled the details in our programme.

The teams in their collared shirts, high waisted shorts, dubbined ankle length boots and thick shin-padded socks entered to cheers from the home supporters, and from the usually small band of away supporters who stood behind the goal at the Champion Hill end. The opposing teams included those who have since joined the Football League like Wimbledon, Barnet and Wycombe Wanderers.
Other than a 6-6 draw with Kingstonian it’s difficult to remember details of particular games, but memories of certain players remain with me, and how the way they played revealed something of their character or personal hinterland.

Photo: From the collection of former DHFC player Ron Eastland 

Memories are not history but recollections fed through the imagination. I think of Dave Darvill, the goalkeeper as Dulwich’s own Bert Trautmann; fair-haired, groomed, meticulous and un-showy, tugging the net, marking out the centre of the goalmouth and tossing his cap into the corner of the goal, to be used when the sun began to sink. At right-back, No.2, the programme announced The Rev. Cowley; athletic, enthusiastic and committed, doing his absolute best to ‘fight the good fight’ in footballing terms. Tom Jover, former Olympic sprinter featured on the left-wing and whose speed could see him arriving ahead of the pass that was intended for him.  John ‘Jack’ Everitt on the right-wing;  square jawed, direct and brave, could have been an infantry man, while Ron Crisp at wing-half or inside-forward was the quiet, reserved calculating timer of the run that saw him arrive just in time to steer a perfect header past the goalkeeper. Captain Ernie Skipper at centre-half brought the same authority and leadership to the role which served him as a school headmaster but Les Brown with that Bobby Charlton quality of, a scorer of great goals rather than a great scorer of goals, was my favourite. Playing with great energy and a smile, an attempt at the outrageous was never far from his mind as he placed the ball for a free-kick 40 yards out. 

Amongst the teams I saw were a German representative side which included Helmut Rahn who scored Germany’s winner in their 3-2 victory over the favourites Hungary in the 1954 World Cup Final. An African team played in bare feet, and with National Service still in force I saw Eddie Clamp of Wolves and Albert Quixall of Sheffield Wednesday, both England internationals, represent the British Army.

Cricket shared the sporting calendar with football and those talented in both games found time to play both. Doug Insole played cricket for Essex and on the wing for Corinthian Casuals and Dulwich often featured Arthur Phebey who also played cricket for Kent. It was Arthur Phebey who brought out my uncle Fred’s full range of coaching skills as he stood, like a batsman taking in the position of the fielders, with his foot on the ball while deciding where his next pass should go. “Get rid of it!” was uncle Fred’s advice.

Fred died last November; he was the youngest of mum’s eight brothers. I went to his funeral and he wore his Dulwich Hamlet tie for his journey to the next world. He was 91.

Original article from HH28 Autumn 2015
Copyright © Richard Mann

Thursday, 3 December 2015


Issue No.28 of the Hamlet Historian will be on sale on Saturday 5th December at Champion Hill.

Our cover stars (seated above Arthur Aitken) are Stanley Smith and David Levy pictured during the 1930/31 season. Both men are featured in separate articles.

Mishi Morath continues his series on the 1977/78 season and Richard watts recalls another promotion season, that of 1991/92. We can also thank Mishi for some interesting photographs of the old Champion Hill ground.

Also on Saturday a large group of Old Boys will be returning to the club at the initiative of Kimm Connett, who played for Dulwich Hamlet in the 1970s and 80s. Kimm will be launching the DHFC Former Players Association.

So get down to the ground on Saturday, pick up the latest HH and chat with some heroes of yesteryear.