Dulwich Hamlet History Notes

Discussion in 'Dulwich Hamlet FC' started by PartisanDulwich, Jun 24, 2015.

  1. Dulwich Mishi

    Dulwich Mishi Old Skool Terrace Dinosaur-embracing the new-veau!

    Could you narrrow it down to which part of the 1930s perhaps? Do you know if it was First Team, Reserves, A Team &/or Juniors?
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  2. the 12th man

    the 12th man Well-Known Member

    This is from Saturday 2nd May 1931
    The first team had a London Charity Cup Semi Final and this game followed it.
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  3. the 12th man

    the 12th man Well-Known Member

    15477360346403542683033303464608.jpg 15477361282271430717830324826493.jpg

    Isthmian League season 1933/34 first team fixture.
  4. PartisanDulwich

    PartisanDulwich Well-Known Member

  5. Kamikita

    Kamikita New Member

    Thanks 12th Man, sorry for my late response, I've been away dealing with a family emergency. It's nice to see my grandad's name there in the programmes.
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  6. Kamikita

    Kamikita New Member

    Thanks Mishi. I asked my dad today and he said he thought my grandad was with Hamlet for about 5 or 6 seasons, starting as a junior and then in the first team. Re the time period, the programmes that the 12th Man has kindly posted above show him playing for the juniors in 1931 and the first team in 1934.
  7. PartisanDulwich

    PartisanDulwich Well-Known Member


    Dulwich Hamlet October 1928
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  8. PartisanDulwich

    PartisanDulwich Well-Known Member


    Edgar Kail April 1932
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  9. PartisanDulwich

    PartisanDulwich Well-Known Member

    upload_2019-1-25_12-2-25.png Team Colours 1905
    (trying to decode this)
    SLP 29 April 1905
  10. PartisanDulwich

    PartisanDulwich Well-Known Member


    Dulwich Hamlet Cricket
    "pink & blues"
    1 May 1897 SLP
  11. PartisanDulwich

    PartisanDulwich Well-Known Member

    "Dream of every schoolboy and junior playing football in the parks and back streets of South London is to play for the famous Dulwich Hamlet on their wonderful ground at Champion Hill"

    Daily Mirror
    28 September 1949
    Reg Merritt

  12. Dulwich Mishi

    Dulwich Mishi Old Skool Terrace Dinosaur-embracing the new-veau!

    I could try to 'de-code' it...but the context of the whole article, and any other mentions around this would help...
  13. PartisanDulwich

    PartisanDulwich Well-Known Member

    Dulwich Hamlet Football, Cricket and Gymnastics Clubs
    Sporting Life 17 January 1906
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  14. PartisanDulwich

    PartisanDulwich Well-Known Member


    Roots of Dulwich Hamlet FC
    SLP 18th February 1893
  15. Dulwich Mishi

    Dulwich Mishi Old Skool Terrace Dinosaur-embracing the new-veau!

    Yes, this has featured in the 'Hamlet Historian'....there's actually no proof that the romanticised tale of the founding of the Club with boys giving money to 'Pa' which is in the official blurb on the Club that is sent out to editors for our away programmes actually happened. This cutting seems to confirm the actual founding of our Club to the very day, & matches with the 21st anniversary Coming of Age Dinner photo that is in the boardroom. But these 'facts' have yet to be acknowledged by John Lawrence, which is a shame.
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  16. PartisanDulwich

    PartisanDulwich Well-Known Member

    William Benchley

    "One of the founders of Dulwich Hamlet FC"

    Headmaster of Dulwich Hamlet school when the founding meetings were organised
    later Mayor of Camberwell and President of the local National Union Teachers

    Note: also Brenchley Gardens


    Edinburgh Evening News 12th October 1932

    Alderman William Benchley J.P. (1858 – 1938)
    William Brenchley was born on 5th June 1858 at 1 Hereford Place, in the registration district of Mile End Old Town, in London’s Docklands...

    Though from a working class background, William was well educated, literate and trained as a school master. In the 1881 Census he is recorded as a teacher, lodging with the Wilson family in Stoke Newington. However, shortly after this he moved to Camberwell, where he was to remain for the rest of his life, to take the position of Class Master at Bellenden Road School. He lived at 11 Gordon Road, Camberwell, and on 7th October 1882, William married Elizabeth Beckett...

    In 1891, William succeeded Mr J Tavener as Headmaster of the nearby Dulwich Hamlet School for boys, where he stayed until 1901. William’s log book as Headmaster, which begins on August 24th 1891, is written in his own clear, fluent hand. He describes his constant efforts to improve the school buildings, the curriculum and the pupils’ work, noting with pride the excellent comments on the standard of education from the inspectors of the School Board for London. By 1894, the school curriculum covered geography, mechanics, French, algebra, English and science (physical, mechanical, botanical and physiological)...

    William was also an important and pivotal member of the local community, the President of the East Lambeth National Union of Teachers, and keen to record on 2nd May 1904 that the London County Council had taken over the running of schools and education. At about this time he was also a member of the committee which founded the Nunhead and Dulwich sub-libraries, and the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts...

    William’s career outside of education was eventful and illustrious, shaped by an aim to change the social inequalities of the day...

    For this reason, and as a local resident in an area where the population was expanding rapidly, William Brenchley became aware of the need for a new cemetery. Ordinary people at this time often could not afford expensive funerary costs and were unable to bury their dead in a dignified manner: all that was available to them were unmarked paupers’ graves. William was Chairman of the Educational Endowments and Burial Committees, and also Chair of the Cemeteries Sub-Committee, and as such made the decision to establish the Camberwell New Cemetery at Honor Oak, which began at the top of One Tree Hill, and is still in use today...

    The New Cemetery, a 61 acre site, was opened in 1927, and its chapel, the largest in London, designed by the architects Aston Webb and Sons, was completed in 1928. It was an ambitious project, and a costly one, as the Camberwell Borough Council Minutes for Wednesday October 19th 1932 state that the total expenditure to date on the new cemetery was £98,880 13/- 6d; the amount spent in the borough on new housing over the same period was nil...

    Alderman William and Camberwell Borough Council devised a more affordable system for local people by digging graves which could accommodate eight coffins, with space above for eight small headstones. However, these early graves quickly filled with water once dug, as they were positioned at the top of the hill, which was covered in a thick layer of clay. It is said that mourners were often soaked by the splashing of coffins lowered into graves full of water. Then, over time, according to local folklore, the occupants of these higher graves slid down the incline of the hill and were later discovered at the bottom of lower, freshly dug graves...

    Alderman William achieved his life’s ambition to complete fifty years of service in public life, and his death left a vacancy on the Council in what was then Alleyn (Dulwich) Ward. The Camberwell and Peckham Times remarked that there would be ‘nobody to take his place,’ whilst The South London Press called him the ‘Father of Camberwell Council’.

    In Alderman William’s honour, the road between the park and the cemetery was also named Brenchley Gardens.

    © Amanda Thomas, 2003.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
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  17. Roger D

    Roger D Well-Known Member

    I don’t think we’ll ever get the true story of the club’s foundation now. The two versions are not automatically incompatible. It is quite possible two boys suggested a club and possibly offered some money and that this morphed into a formal club at the cited meeting. It’s also worth noting that more than two names have appeared in print as the two boys just to further muddy the water.

    My gut reaction is that the boys do feature in the story somewhere, it appeared in print during Pa’s life from memory and he was a prolific writer to local newspapers if he thought there was an error in their reporting about DHFC. (We nearly ended up with the nickname the Lambs which seems to have been unofficially used due to the youth of our early sides. One of the local papers referred to the Hamlet as the Lambs and found themselves on the end of a missive from Pa making it quite clear that was not our nickname.)

    However, the simple fact is that DHFC do indeed formally emerge out of that formal meeting and not any informal arrangement.

    I am also of the belief that we probably played friendlies in the second half of 1892/93, which is not recognised in the club history as far as I am aware. Starting mid-season was not unheard of back then. This would permit the statement that we lost every game in our first season to be true and also tally with the existence of a fixture card from 1893/94 – seemingly now lost – which recorded the scores and shows we did not lose every game that season. Unfortunately I doubt that theory will every be proven one way or the other.

    It's also worth noting that Alderman Brenchley was a Liberal from memory. Many of those involved at Dulwich Hamlet in the early days were true blue, including Pa who was a Tory councillor, however it is clear that political beliefs were left at the door. At the 21st Anniversary dinner Pa said something like one of the things he was proudest of was that the clubs greatest player had been the village coal man. This may well have been a bit of a pop at local rivals Townley Park, who appear to have been established to cater for people from a reasonably affluent background. I stress that is my suspicion and not proven.

    One area that has yet to be fully studied is the link between education and the early Hamlet. Clearly it is known we were an old boys team associated with a school at one point however several officials were educational professionals and in the early days we seem to have had a disproportionate number of teachers playing for us. At least one of the earlier Easter tours effectively saw two tours. The full party were present for the weekend and the games however a sub-party consisting of people involved in schools who were on holiday stuck around a bit longer. World War one fatality Tom Rose was one of the teachers associated with the playing side of the club.

    Edited to say that Freeman - the ground owner mentioned in one quote - sadly subsequently hung himself in one of the buildings on the land he owned. From memory one of the pavilions but please check that before using it as a fact. Also Horton, the cricketer, was - again from memory - important in the early DHFC but had to retire prematurely due to illness.
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  18. PartisanDulwich

    PartisanDulwich Well-Known Member

    I do think Pa Wilson has tended to dominate the histories of Dulwich Hamlet FC along with the sometimes quoted a club founded by Tory Freemasons, it seems only right that William Benchley be written back into the history, after all he was the Headmaster at Dulwich Hamlet School when the football team was formed and undoubtedly key in organising the meetings

    NOTE: William Benchley daughter was also a famous pioneering plant scientist Winifred Benchley
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  19. Roger D

    Roger D Well-Known Member

    Pa does dominate but probably correctly. There are accounts from people involved in the early days that make it clear the main reason the club thrived was Pa's willingness to fund ongoing losses.

    His contacts also seem to have been very important in sourcing grounds, Dulwich FC and Champion Hill FC both relocated to West London unable to find a local ground whilst at points DHFC leased two. His contacts were certainly crucial in saving the ground during WW1.

    As for Tory freemasons, there were certainly plenty of both in the early days. Hardly surprising given the Tories were elected unopposed in Dulwich in 1900. (Limited franchise obviously.) However there is no reason to believe the club was political. There is contemporaneous evidence that - once an open club - the only criteria that mattered was the ability to play football. Wealth and politics were neither here or there. The club is known to have held smokers at Peckham Liberal Club despite Pa's personal beliefs.

    Edited to say I did approach the local Tory party about 15 years ago to see if the had their old membership lists to try to get to the bottom of how many were involved with both them and DHFC. The membership lists have been thrown out at some point so the exact crossover will never be known.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
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  20. Dulwich Mishi

    Dulwich Mishi Old Skool Terrace Dinosaur-embracing the new-veau!

    And one of our current Vice Presidents, at least, is a freemason, so it still happens... & another is a member of the Peckham Liberal Club.
  21. PartisanDulwich

    PartisanDulwich Well-Known Member

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  22. dcdulwich

    dcdulwich Well-Known Member

    Peckham Liberal Club has no association with any political party. Quite a few Hamlet fans are members - I suspect on account of cheap beer and ditto snooker and pool tables.
  23. Dulwich Mishi

    Dulwich Mishi Old Skool Terrace Dinosaur-embracing the new-veau!

    Yes, I actually knew that... but it didn’t suit the purpose of my post
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  24. dcdulwich

    dcdulwich Well-Known Member

    Fair enough!
  25. Roger D

    Roger D Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know if Alderman Brenchley was involved in the club over the F.A / A.F.A split period? I've just been looking into the history of Dulwich Wood F.C. - who went with the A.F.A. At the end of their third season (1908/09) they held a dinner at the Crown & Greyhound when they collected the trophy for the North Surrey League from Mr. F.K.C Brenchley. Also present were F.S. Brenchley and W.W. Brenchley. Could that have been William Brenchley and an indication that not all were happy with the Hamlet's decision to back the F.A?
  26. Roger D

    Roger D Well-Known Member

    Doing a bit more digging around Brenchley it looks like an error has crept into our history, it's one I've repeated as well TBH.

    It seems Councillor Brenchley has been mis-identified at times. There were actually two

    Councillor F.E.C Brenchley - Liberal
    Councillor W. Brenchley - Conservstive

    A SLP report on a Tory candidates meeting in their edition dated 29/10/06 confirms that Councillor W. Brenchley was Headmaster at Dulwich Hamlet school. At the meeting he stated that he had "killed" the last electrical lighting scheme and would oppose further financial obligations for the borough.(Pa was cut from the same cloth.) The Chairman, speaking for all the Tory candidates stated they did not support a reduction in workmen's wages but would ensure they "worked for the 30s they received "

    Despite adding William to the list of prominent Tories in the club (and he was very close to C.T. Hunt suggesting that he may be another) I remain comfortable that the evidence shows DHFC was not a party political institution in any way and was open to all.

    Edited to say surely either F.K.C or F.E.C was a newspaper typo and that those two are one man.
  27. dcdulwich

    dcdulwich Well-Known Member

    There’s a Brenchley Gardens, of course, that runs past Camberwell New Cemetery which, I assume, must be connected. I hesitate to mention it on here but a certain John Beasley wrote a number of books about the origin of local road names. That would be in SE23 though and I’m not sure he ventured beyond SE5, SE15 and SE22 in his coverage of local history.
  28. Dulwich Mishi

    Dulwich Mishi Old Skool Terrace Dinosaur-embracing the new-veau!

    Ah...the same John Beasley who led the failed campaign against our current ground, without which there would simply be no Dulwich Hamlet today! He them had the front to suggest the name 'Sport road' for the approach road into our ground & Sainsbury's. We went garrity & deluged the planning department with the suggestion 'EDGAR KAIL WAY'...unsurprsingly he lost...again!

    He sometimes does venture further than you think...as I certainly know him to stick his nose in where it's not wanted! :D

    He also opposed the Homebase/ground on Greendale application at the turn of the century...you may recall it was John who came out with the now legendary quote about walking down dog Kennel Hill looking like Tuscanny.
    With the Homebase application he downgraded somewhat...saying that strolling along Greendale reminded him of the Peak District.

    If ever I had the time & inclination to write about the various campaigns to move our ground(which I never will!), the building of the current one & hopefully the return onto the Greendale site, I'd call the book 'From Tuscany to the Peak district'!

    During the battle from the end of the Eighties for our current ground when a group of working class football fans took on a group of middle class NIMBY agitators and won, a rarity in itself, he made up a pressure group called OTDOGS...the Opposition To the Destruction of Open Green Space. When the later Homebase application came round he couldn't use it as we re-claimed it on our leaflets & posters with our OTDOGS group: Our Team Don't Oppose Greendale stadium.
  29. dcdulwich

    dcdulwich Well-Known Member

    Haha! The very same - which is why I hesitated to mention it!
  30. PartisanDulwich

    PartisanDulwich Well-Known Member



    Football ad's 1900 - note you could get the sash even back then
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019

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