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Home: Non League Football Information: History:
The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s

 



London Harrier
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Oct 15, 2017, 3:51 PM

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The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s Can't Post or Reply Privately

In the Hereford Times, Saturday September 2, 1899, is an article titled “The History of Hereford Football Club”. It is the first of a detailed seven part series and throws up some very interesting questions.

According to the author, Mr J.Birch, the Hereford Football Club formed in 1878-79 as ‘Nil Desperandum FC’, a splinter from the Rugby club, becoming independent in September 1879. The name Hereford FC was adopted in September 1880. Home matches were originally played on Widemarsh common. I have read through the articles and can summarise as follows:

Hereford FC timeline:

1884. Club move to Edgar Street: QUOTE “The first ground acquired by the club was curiously enough the present meadow in Edgar Street which was opened on November 1st, 1884, with a match against Malvern”

1886-87 Club move to a ground called Moorfields for a season, which was “another meadow on the north side of Edgar Street, facing Canonmoor Street”

1887 Club moves back to the original Edgar Street ground.

1889 – Club move to Portfields

1891-92 – Club enter the FA Cup, losing 7-0 to Loughborough

1892-93 – Club enter Shropshire & District League

Mid 1890s – Club enter Birmingham & District League

Mid 1890s – Club return to Edgar Street.

1898- Edgar Street becomes fully enclosed with boarding. “The cost of the improvement was met by private subscription, the members of the committee finding the money”

1900-1910. From other sources it seems the club faced financial ruin and wound up.

Two key questions remain unanswered.

1. Were Hereford and Hereford City the same club? (I strongly suspect this isn’t the case)
2. Is the Edgar Street ground of 1884 the same one that exists now? According to Groundtastic magazine, Edgar Street wasn’t laid out until the 1890s. And the Wiki page has Edgar Street’s opening date as “late 19th century. "

If anyone can shed more light on this early Hereford, or the origins of Edgar Street, I’d love to hear more.


John Hansford
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Oct 15, 2017, 10:48 PM

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Re: [London Harrier] The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Probably off piste so to speak but Hereford Thistle FC where did they play and were they associated with Hereford or Hereford City?



John Hansford


bluedragon
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Oct 16, 2017, 11:02 AM

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Re: [John Hansford] The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


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Probably off piste so to speak but Hereford Thistle FC where did they play and were they associated with Hereford or Hereford City?


Not off piste at all! I have been researching Hereford Thistle to see if the club’s name indicates Scottish origins. I received some great help.

I believe “Hereford” were founder members of the Shropshire League in 1892/93. I think they added “Town” to their name in the 1895/96 season.

However, they played second fiddle to Hereford Thistle. The Thistle club was formed in 1885. To add further Scottish interest the club won “the Glasgow Cup” in the 1892/93 season. They left the cup to be played for by local teams when they advanced to join the Bristol & District League (later the Western League) in 1894/95. They were champions in their first season. In the 1895/96 season they joined the Birmingham & District League and were champions in 1896/97. In 1897/98 they were joined by Hereford Town in the Birmingham League. Thistle were a victim of their own success as players left to sign for professional clubs and they would be competing with the Town club for local players. They had one final season (1898/99) in the Birmingham League but continued to play, possibly in a Welsh League, after that. It is not known when Thistle were dis-banded. Hereford Town failed to win re-election for the 1902/03 season.

Hereford United was formed in 1924 and joined the Birmingham League for the 1928/29 season.

The origins of why the club adopted the Thistle name remains a mystery. Here are some of the possible reasons I looked at.

1) Hereford Thistle were often called the "Barrack Boys" in the local newspaper reports. However, this appears to be because they played at the Barracks Ground in the town rather than because of any military connection, i.e. a Scottish regiment stationed in the town.

2) The Reverend Thistle was appointed as Headmaster of Hereford Grammar School just after the team had been formed. A coincidence.

3) There is a Thistledown Road in Hereford but it is not the name of an area of the town. There is a village called Thistledown about 45 miles to the east near Evesham. These do not look likely.


pitch 63
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Oct 16, 2017, 11:43 AM

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Re: [bluedragon] The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Hereford Thistle played in the Herefordshire League in 1922-23 and the Worcester & District League the following season, but I have no information other than this. But there is a man who is not a member of this forum but reads the forum posts, who I met at a Bristol Premier Combination game at the end of last season, who I would think knows the answers to these questions.


London Harrier
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Re: [bluedragon] The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


In Reply To

In Reply To
Probably off piste so to speak but Hereford Thistle FC where did they play and were they associated with Hereford or Hereford City?


Not off piste at all! I have been researching Hereford Thistle to see if the club’s name indicates Scottish origins. I received some great help.

I believe “Hereford” were founder members of the Shropshire League in 1892/93. I think they added “Town” to their name in the 1895/96 season.

However, they played second fiddle to Hereford Thistle. The Thistle club was formed in 1885. To add further Scottish interest the club won “the Glasgow Cup” in the 1892/93 season. They left the cup to be played for by local teams when they advanced to join the Bristol & District League (later the Western League) in 1894/95. They were champions in their first season. In the 1895/96 season they joined the Birmingham & District League and were champions in 1896/97. In 1897/98 they were joined by Hereford Town in the Birmingham League. Thistle were a victim of their own success as players left to sign for professional clubs and they would be competing with the Town club for local players. They had one final season (1898/99) in the Birmingham League but continued to play, possibly in a Welsh League, after that. It is not known when Thistle were dis-banded. Hereford Town failed to win re-election for the 1902/03 season.

Hereford United was formed in 1924 and joined the Birmingham League for the 1928/29 season.

The origins of why the club adopted the Thistle name remains a mystery. Here are some of the possible reasons I looked at.

1) Hereford Thistle were often called the "Barrack Boys" in the local newspaper reports. However, this appears to be because they played at the Barracks Ground in the town rather than because of any military connection, i.e. a Scottish regiment stationed in the town.

2) The Reverend Thistle was appointed as Headmaster of Hereford Grammar School just after the team had been formed. A coincidence.

3) There is a Thistledown Road in Hereford but it is not the name of an area of the town. There is a village called Thistledown about 45 miles to the east near Evesham. These do not look likely.


Very interesting.

I’m not sure if Hereford FC were renamed Hereford Town though? The history articles referred to in my OP make no reference to the Town suffix being added and a B&DL table from September 1899 has ‘Hereford’ listed.

Mind you, I’ve seen plenty of occurrences of clubs referred to in the press of the day by their first name only.

I would do a bit more digging but the archive website seems to be down at present.

EDIT: I possibly stand corrected. The B&DL Table from February 1897 has Hereford Town listed,

All fascinating, but rather confusing!


(This post was edited by London Harrier on Oct 16, 2017, 2:56 PM)
Attachments: B_DL league Table September 1899.PNG (252 KB)


bluedragon
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Oct 16, 2017, 4:15 PM

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Re: [London Harrier] The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

The excellent Centenary Book of the Birmingham (now West Midlands (Regional)) League lists Hereford Town and Hereford Thistle. I wonder if the club felt obliged (or indeed were told) to add the suffix "Town" to clearly identify them from "Thistle" when they joined their neighbours in the Birmingham League? It is certainly confusing.


London Harrier
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Oct 16, 2017, 4:21 PM

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Re: [bluedragon] The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


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The excellent Centenary Book of the Birmingham (now West Midlands (Regional)) League lists Hereford Town and Hereford Thistle. I wonder if the club felt obliged (or indeed were told) to add the suffix "Town" to clearly identify them from "Thistle" when they joined their neighbours in the Birmingham League? It is certainly confusing.


It's funny you should say that, as I was thinking the same thing. However, this theory rather falls apart in the 1898-99 season as Hereford and Hereford Thistle appear along side each other. I've attached the final tables from the B&DL from 1896-1899 to illustrate the name changes. I'm still stumped.

Smile
Attachments: BDL 1896-97.jpg (41.9 KB)
  BDL 1897-98.jpg (36.5 KB)
  BDL 1898-99.jpg (60.8 KB)


bluedragon
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Oct 16, 2017, 5:41 PM

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Re: [London Harrier] The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

It is only in the 1898/99 table of the three attached that the club appears as “Hereford”. The fact that both Hereford clubs are shown in capital letters suggests that it is from a local paper. In the Hereford Times I found a report of a meeting that had “Hereford Football Club” in the title but went on to say it was reporting on the AGM of Hereford Town Football Club. Given that the Birmingham League Centenary Book shows “Hereford Thistle” and “Hereford Town” in its records it does suggest that the “Town” was added to avoid confusion in the Birmingham League but the club continued to be known locally as simply “Hereford”. Confusing!


Ropemaker
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Oct 16, 2017, 6:16 PM

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Re: [bluedragon] The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Can't help with the Hereford conundrum but whilst researching Hailsham Town, a rival club, Hailsham Athletic, appeared for a few seasons around the First World War.

Hailsham Town were just Hailsham FC in those days but were sometimes referred to in the local press as the "Town club", presumably to avoid any possible confusion between the two clubs



Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you.


London Harrier
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Oct 16, 2017, 7:15 PM

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Re: [bluedragon] The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Slightly off tangent, I’m amazed at how little information there is on the twentieth century exploits of Hereford City in the British Newspaper Archives. It seems they were invited (and declined entry) into the Southern League in 1910 and were in the Worcester and District League in the 1930s. Other than that, there isn’t a lot to gleam.

Strange considering various sources have them sharing at Edgar Street until their eventual demise around 1938/1939.


(This post was edited by London Harrier on Oct 16, 2017, 7:17 PM)


London Harrier
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Re: [bluedragon] The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

An interesting addendum to all this.

According to Hereford United: A Pictorial History, written by the club historian Ron Parrott, Hereford FC/Town became Hereford City.

The 'Hereford City Football Club' referenced in newspapers in the nineteenth century appear to be (somewhat confusingly) a Rugby team.


PaulC
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Oct 16, 2017, 11:27 PM

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Hereford Thistle played in the Herefordshire League in 1922-23 and the Worcester & District League the following season, but I have no information other than this. But there is a man who is not a member of this forum but reads the forum posts, who I met at a Bristol Premier Combination game at the end of last season, who I would think knows the answers to these questions.


I'm confused.

In 1924 according to the Birmingham Gazette 28 June, Hereford United were formed from the merger of Thistle and St Martin's. They were accepted into the Birmingham League.

The Wiltshire Times 18 April 1925 reports Thistle and City intended amalgamating 'next season'. The Western League secy was to write to Thistle to see if they would be interested in joining.

They can't both be right!


London Harrier
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Re: [PaulC] The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


According to Hereford United: A Pictorial History, written by the club historian Ron Parrott, Hereford United formed from a merger of St Martins and RAOC Depot in 1924, adding "Thistle and city refused to play ball" (in a merger).

The Birmingham Daily Gazette - Saturday 22 August 1925 writes: “A good deal of interest has been taken in the trial games of the Hereford United Club. which did seemingly well last year in its first season in the Birmingham Combination. Lichfield Mercury - Friday 24 April 1925 also has Hereford United in the 1924/25 Birmingham Combination table. See attached.

I suspect the Wiltshire article made reference to City and Thistle (two independent clubs at the time Hereford United were in existence) possibly forming a second and separate merger club. The incorrect information seems to be that Hereford United formed from Thistle and St Martins, rather than ROAC and St Martins.

This is merely my interpretation. I could be well wrong. It is interesting, however, that references to Hereford Thistle all but disappear after 1924/25.

Confused? You should be.Smile


Birmingham Gazette Article: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000669/19240628/205/0009

Wiltshire Times Article: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0001557/19250418/255/0011

Attachments: Lichfield Mercury - Friday 24 April 1925.PNG (141 KB)


London Harrier
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Feb 22, 2018, 11:07 AM

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Re: [PaulC] The original Hereford FC and Edgar Street in the 1880s/1890s [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I threw the net a bit wider on my archive search and found a few interesting snippets that may answers some of my original questions.

At the Hereford (Town) Football Club AGM, May 1902, A Mr CJL Abbott confirmed the club would not seek readmission to the Birmingham League. Heavy debt is cited in multiple reports. This ties in with the club disappearing from the Birmingham & District League records from 1902-03

The Hereford Journal, January 1903, reports on a presentation night of the Hereford Excelsiors Football Club. Among the speeches, a departing Mr CJL Abbot (a force in local football it seems) said “had it not been for certain unexpected changes taking place, he should have tried to resuscitate the Hereford Football Club next season.”

The logical conclusion from the above is that Hereford FC (or Hereford Town FC as they appear in league tables) folded around 1902.

Fast forward a few years and the aforementioned Hereford Excelsiors re-appear on the timeline. In May 1910, the Southend Standard and Essex Weekly Advertiser reports the Hereford Early Closers FC “took up the nomenclature of Hereford City two years ago” and have since amalgamated with Hereford Excelsiors. City then turned down an opportunity to join the Southern League and instead joined the Worcester League.

There are a couple of anomalies with this – Hereford Early Closers appear in a 1912 match report – but broadly speaking it seems to tally, as reports for Excelsiors and Early Closures after the 1910 date dry up completely.

Hereford City’s last campaign in the Worcester League is 1925-26. I’m not quite sure what happened to them after that, although they are still playing into the mid-1930s.

Hereford Thistle are listed in the Worcester League tables of the 1920s with Hereford City. Thistle’s last campaign in this competition appears to be 1924-25. The Sports Argus of August 1925 confirms they have withdrawn. Why and what became of them, I don’t know.


(This post was edited by London Harrier on Feb 22, 2018, 11:10 AM)

 
 


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