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1895-96 Thames Ironworks

Birth of a Dynasty

Although Dave Taylor, a foreman in the shipbuilding department, undertook the task of forming a football club within Thames Ironworks in the summer of 1895, the idea was not his alone nor was it a 'spur of the moment' decision. With the demise of the Old Castle Swifts there were a number of its former players who were employed at the Ironworks and now found themselves without a club.

Arnold Hills, who had been involved in a bitter industrial dispute with his employees that year, thought that the formation of a football club might help improve the mood of his workforce. On 29 June, 1895, Dave Taylor announced in Hills quarterly Thames Iron Works Gazette, that he intended to establish a football club.


The information appeared under the headline: "The importance of co-operation between workers and management". He referred to the dispute that had just taken place and insisted he wanted to "wipe away the bitterness left by the recent strike". Hills added: "Thank God this midsummer madness is passed and gone; inequities and anomalies have been done away with and now, under the Good Fellowship system and Profit Sharing Scheme, every worker knows that his individual and social rights are absolutely secured."

The article asked workers interested in joining the Thames Iron Works Football Club to contact Francis Payne, a senior clerk at the company. Charlie Dove, an apprentice riveter with the Thames Iron Works, was one of those who paid an annual subscription of 2/6 (12.5p) to join the club. He was joined by about fifty other colleagues in this new venture. Training took place on Tuesday and Thursday nights in a gas-lit schoolroom at Trinity Church School in Barking Road. Training mainly consisted of Army physical training exercises. They also went for runs along the Turnpike Road (Beckton Road).

Other employees who played in the team included Thomas Freeman (ship's fireman), Johnny Stewart (boilermaker), Walter Parks (clerk), Walter Tranter (boilermaker) James Lindsay (boilermaker), William Chapman (mechanical engineer), George Sage, (boilermaker), George Gresham (ship's plater) and Fred Chamberlain (foreman blacksmith).

Arnold Hills

The club was financed by members' subscriptions and a generous contribution from the Thames Iron Works. It was run by a club committee made up of "clerks, foreman or supervisors at the Iron works". As over 50 men had joined the club, it was necessary to find enough matches for two teams.


Home games took place at Hermit Road, Canning Town. It had previously been used by Old Castle Swifts, a company club sponsored by Donald Currie, the owner of the Castle Shipping Line. Old Castle Swifts had been the first professional football club in Essex but it went out of business at the end of the 1894-1895 season.


Francis Payne was appointed as club secretary. The local newspaper praised Arnold Hills for forming a football team: "If this example were only followed by other large employers, it would lead to much good feeling."


Robert Stevenson became captain of the team. He was the Thames Ironworks most experienced footballer and had previously played for Woolwich Arsenal. Other players included John Woods, who also played cricket for Essex and George Gresham, who had been a regular scorer with Gainsborough Trinity. However, the star player was the 17 year old William Barnes.

In the Ironworks' for season they did not enter a league but played friendly fixtures instead. The fledgling club did however enter the West Ham Charity Cup and the English Cup (FA Cup).

Thames Ironworks Committee

Chairman: Mr F. Payne

Treasurer: Mr G. Johnson

Secretary: Mr A.T. Harsent



C. Hill, A. Dance, Cameron Firth, Selby, W. Proctor, G. Patterson, T. Dearl, T. Robinson, D. Large, D. Taylor, E. Smith,

E. Bickford and J. Cearns.


The following were selected to form an emergency committee:

F. Payne, G. Johnson, A.T. Harsent, C. Hill, E. Smith

The newly formed Thames Ironworks FC played their very first match on 7 September, 1895 against the Royal Ordnance Reserves at their Hermit Road Ground in Canning Town.

Hermit Road Ground

1 - 1 (Darby)

7 September 1895

Full Line-up unknown







The Ordnance reserves journeyed to Hermit Road, Canning Town to meet the Thames Ironworks club which is now composed to a large extent of players from Old Castle Swifts, St Lukes and Anchor, among them being Stewart, Parks, Sage, Wood, McCulloch and other well know players. They have entered the English Cup and are drawn to meet Chatham at Canning Town in the Qualifying competition. The home team won the toss and elected to play with the sun and the wind at their backs. Despite this advantage however it was not until about 30 minutes from the start when their outside left (Darby of Plumstead) received the ball just upon the 12 yard line and promptly sent it passed Henshall who had no chance whatever of saving the shot. After this play became warmer but half-time arrived without any addition to the score. About 25 minutes after the recommencement a combined run by the Ordnance forwards took the ball down to their opponents goal where a bully took place. At length the ball came out to Hart who scored the only goal of the second half. The remainder of the game was full of excitement but the pace slackened in the last ten minutes and the result was a draw.

Royal Ordnance 'A'

Henshall F., Trigg, Ranson G., Ritchie, Crawford, Hogben, Cossar, Gray, Hart, Benn, Berry

Tuesday 10 September 1895

At a meeting of the London Football Association held at 61 Chancery Lane, 30 new clubs were admitted to membership. Among them was Tottenham Hotspur and Thames Ironworks F.C.
DARTFORD "A" : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

4 - 0

14 September 1895

Line-up unknown


Houghton, French, Remington, Crane, Walden, Hamilton, Bass, Exeter, Watson, Dabner, Bradley

MANOR PARK : Friendly


7 - 1

28 September 1895

Line-up unknown

STREATHAM : Friendly


3 - 0

5 October 1895

Line-up unknown


CHATHAM : FA Cup (First Round Qualifying) 
Maidstone Road Ground
0 - 5
12 October 1895












Thames Ironworks waived their right to play this tie at home and journeyed to Chatham where they were defeated 5-0. The game was witnessed by 3,000 spectators. Chatham lost the toss and kicked off against the wind and sun. As the turf was in capital condition play ruled fast. Playing with the wind behind them during the first portion the visitors made a fairly good show in the open but were generally lost when nearing the goal. All round the home men played a smart game and a quarter of an hour from the start a fine centre by Dickenson was improved upon by Millar. Shortly before the interval the same player headed into the net from a bully close to goal. Chatham outplayed their rivals in the second half, the visitors rarely becoming dangerous. The third point came from the foot of Lewis, Watson misjudging the ball. Lawrence gained the fourth from a free-kick and Stanford the last with an overhead effort. The goalkeeping and defence of the visitors was the best part of their play although Lindsay did well in the forward rank.

Jones, Robertson, Brockwell, Fletcher, Humphrey, Lewis, Enfield, Lawrence, Millar, Dickenson, Stanford.


Hermit Road Ground

1 - 2

19 October 1895

Line-up unknown

OLD St. STEPHEN'S : Friendly

Wormholt Farm, Uxbridge Road

4 - 0 (Unknown)

26 October 1895

Line-up unknown

READING 'A' : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

2 - 3 (Chapman, Lindsay)

2 November 1895

Gibson, Taylor, Stevenson, Gillies, Williams, Woods, Gresham, Chapman, Lindsay, McArthur, Barnes

The original fixture between Reading Reserves against Ilford was cancelled and instead the Berkshire club arranged to meet the Thames Ironworks at Canning Town. 
Bartlett the Reading captain loss the toss and Hatton kicked off for the away side. Play was moderately fast from the start, the teams being evenly matched. Reading pressed through Gray, Hatton and Rossiter. Twenty minutes from the start the home team scored with a fine shot by Chapman. Half-time: Thames 1 Reading 0. On the resumption Reading had all the play, making rings round the homesters, each of the visiting forwards distinguishing himself and they were rewarded, Hatton doing the needful, a fast shot of his entering the net off the backs' toe. This success encouraged Reading to redouble their efforts, and Dandridge sent in a fine shot, which Rossiter helped into the net. Soon afterwards McArthur and Barnes indulged in a capital run on the wing, and Lindsay equalised the score, amid cheers from the partisans. For the rest of the game the away side penned their opponents, but although the goal had some narrow mistakes they were only able to score on one occasion. Dandridge put on the winning goal with a fine shot. Time arrived with the score 3 to 2 in favour of Reading.


Cooper J., George J., Watts E., White A., Dandridge F., Davie P., Gray T., Bartlett, Hatton E., Rossiter B., Warburton C.


Hermit Road Ground

4 - 0 (Unknown)

9 November 1895

Gibson, Taylor, French, Gillies, Williams, Woods, Chapman, Gresham, Stevenson, Barnes, Sage


Hermit Road Ground

4 - 0 (Unknown)

1 November 1895

Gibson, Taylor, French, Gillies, Williams, Woods, Chapman, Gresham, Stevenson, Barnes, Sage


Hermit Road Ground

2 - 1 (Unknown)

23 November 1895

Gibson, Taylor, Stevenson, Gillies, Williams, Woods, Chapman, Gresham, Freeman, Barnes, Sage


Hermit Road Ground

3 - 1 (Unknown)

30 November 1895

Gibson, Stevenson, Taylor, Gillies, Williams, Woods, Chapman, Gresham, Dove, Barnes, Sage

DARTFORD : Friendly


0 - 2

7 December 1895

Gibson, Stevenson, Taylor, Gillies, Williams, Collins, Woods, Sage, Dove, Chapman, Gresham

From the 5th issue dated December 1895

The Football Clubs representatives on the Thames Ironworks Federated Clubs Committee are:

Mr. T. Dearl of 52 Malmesbury Terrace and Mr. T. Hansell 35 Oscar Terrace, Forty Acre Lane.
The Football Club secretary is Mr. T. Havsent 52 Mary St. Canning Town.

The same issue of the Gazette announced the death of two of the Thames Ironworks directors:

Mr. F. Ernest Hills who died on November 5, and Mr. E. Henry Hills who passed away on December 11th.

MILLWALL : Friendly

The Athletics Ground

0 - 6

14 December 1895

Gibson, Stevenson, Taylor, Morton, Collins, Gillies, Woods, Sage, Dove, Chapman, Gresham

OLD St. STEPHEN'S : Friendly (by Electric light)

Hermit Road Ground

3 - 1 (Dove 2, Collins)

16 December 1895

Gresham, Taylor, Stevenson, Gillies, Williams, Collins, Sage, Dove, McArthur, Chapman, Gresham

In the presence of a large crowd an attempt was made to carry out a match by the aid of electric light at Canning Town but it was not altogether a success. Twelve lights each of 2,000 candle power had been fitted up by the Thames Ironworks Shipbuilding Co Ltd but the engine was not powerful enough to keep these going and as the light varied a great deal little or nothing could be seen at times. Rain fell during the contest and recent downpours made the turf very heavy and slippery. The Ironworks scored first after seven minutes through Dove. The same player was also successful in notching a second goal and at the interval taken after 30 minutes play the Thames Ironworks led by 2-0. In the concluding half Collins added further to Thames account whilst Josey kicked the only point obtained for St Stephens.

Old St. Stephen's:

Heapy E.H., Donaldson F.H., Dennington, Faulkner, Skeggs, Brown, Josey, Slade, Morris, Cattell, Murray.


Hermit Road Ground

1 - 4 (Unknown)

21 December 1895

Line-up Unknown

SOUTH WEST : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

4 - 1 (Unknown)

25 December 1895

Line-up Unknown


Hermit Road Ground

5 - 1 (Unknown)

26 December 1895

Line-up Unknown

LEWISHAM St. MARY'S : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

7 - 0 (Unknown)

28 December 1895

Line-up Unknown


Hermit Road Ground

5 - 1 (Unknown)

4 January 1896

Graham, Stevenson, Taylor, French, Collins, Morton, Chapman, Gresham, Dove, Woods, Sage

UPTON PARK : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

2 - 1 (Unknown)

18 January 1896

Graham, Stevenson, Taylor, French, Collins, Morton, Chapman, Gresham, Dove, Nichols, Woods

BARKING WOODVILLE : Friendly (by Electric light)

Hermit Road Ground

6 - 2 (Unknown)

20 January 1896

Graham, Stevenson, Taylor, French, Collins, Morton, Chapman, Gresham, Dove, Woods, Sage

Before a large gathering the 10 lights each of 200 candle power were a success. The company have been hard at work for some time experimenting and have spared no expense. The lighting gave a very good view. Woodvale kicked off and at once were forced to defend. Davies the visiting captain and goalkeeper was twice called upon to make good saves early on. Nichols put the home side ahead but Lanford soon equalised. Before half-time Dove place Irons ahead again and added two more soon after the break to record a true hat-trick. Stevenson made it 5-1 before Lanford reduced the gap but Stevenson restored 'Thames' four goal margin just before the end.

Barking Woodvale:
Davies, Bows, Christie, Campbell, Joslin, Hearn, Dixon, Glenny, Dean, Somerville, Lanford.


Hermit Road Ground

5 - 0 (Unknown)

25 January 1896

Line-up Unknown

MANOR PARK : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

7 - 2 (Unknown)

1 February 1896

Line-up Unknown

ROYAL ORDNANCE : Friendly (by Electric light)

Hermit Road Ground

2 - 1 (Dove, Sage)

6 February 1896

Graham, Taylor, Hurst, Morton, Collins, Woods, Stevenson, Sage, Dove, Gresham, Chapman


Hermit Road Ground

4 - 0 (Unknown)

8 February 1896

Gibson, Stevenson, Taylor, Gillies, Williams, Woods, Chapman, Gresham, Dove, Barnes, Sage

PARK GROVE : West Ham Charity Cup (Semi-Final)


1 - 0 (Unknown)

15 February 1896

Line-up Unknown

VAMPIRES : Friendly (by Electric light)

Hermit Road Ground

1 - 3 (Gresham)

17 February 1896

Graham, Taylor, Hurst, Hilton, Dove, Gresham, Stevenson, chapman, Morton, Woods, Farrell

The idea of the Thames Ironworks Shipping Co. Ltd to consider those who are prevented through their daily avocation from attending afternoon matches by carrying out by aid of Electric Light matches on their ground at Canning Town has certainly taken root judging by the big crowd that paid gate to witness the contest. To enable a better view of the game the ball was whitened. The match was delayed until 7:50pm by the late arrival of the visitors. Once on the field Vampires showed good combination and were deservedly ahead at half time through a goal by Ward. Mid-way through the second period Irons' experienced a doubtful decision which would have brought the scores level when Waller cleared a shot that looked as if it might already have crossed the line. Vampires went two-ahead when Ward scored again and still further in front when Dodd hit a third. Near the end Gresham got one back for the home side.


Waller, Ward A., Wieland, Francis, Mordin, Marshall, Simpson, Cruise, Ward H., Dodd, Gladwell

St. LUKE'S : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

1 - 0 (Stevenson)

22 February 1896

Graham, Taylor, Hurst, Morton, Collins, Woods, Stevenson, Sage, Dove, Gresham, Chapman

Thames F.C. Won the toss, and the Saints kicked off with a strong wind against them. The visitors at once pressed, Fenn having to save several shots. Play them became fairly even for some time, although the Ironworks had the best combination. Chapman made one or two fime attempts to score, his first shot just skimming the cross-bar, to the evident disappointment of the Thames' supporters. later on a free kick was awarded to the Ironworks, and Woods placing the ball nicely to Captain Stephenson, that player headed into the net, much to the surprise of Fenn. At half-time the score remaining unaltered. During the second half the game was strong contested, the Saints, who had the wind in their favor, doing a lot of pressing. On several occasions the homesters experienced very hard lines, once or twice striking the cross-bar, but Graham was very safe. Nothing more was scored, the game resulted in a win for the Thames Ironworks by one goal to nil.

St Luke's:

Fenn, Wright, Funell, Waghorn, Parkingson, McKay, Jones, Burton, Butterworth, Darby, Reid

READING 'A' : Friendly 


2 - 4 (Gresham, Woods)

29 February 1896

Graham, Taylor, Hurst, Morton, Collins, Hilton, Woods, Lindsay, Dove, Gresham, Chapman

The Ironworks team meet at Canning Town Station at mid-day and took the 1:33pm train from Paddington for the 3pm kick-off at Reading. Gresham gave the Irons an early lead but the home side scored the next four goals. Woods for visitors completed the scoring.

Cooper, White C., Neighbour, White A., Davie, Holmes, Hadley, Hatton, Reid, Mills, Rossitter.

PARK GROVE : West Ham Charity Cup (Semi-Final)

St Luke's, Becton

3 - 0 (Stevenson 2, [og])

7 March 1896

Graham, Tull, French, Woods, Williams, Hickman, Chamberlain, Sage, Stevenson, Stewart, Chapman

The supporters of both clubs were there in strong force. Owing to the heavy rain in the morning the ground was in a very greasy condition, and there were little pools of water nearly all over the ground. Park Grove were the first to arrive, in full strength; the Ironworkers arrived a few minutes later, but owing to residential qualification and their club having only been formed this season, seven out of their first eleven were disqualified; consequently the team were chiefly reserves.
Park Grove having won the toss, the Ironworks kicked off, and before long it was evident the latter had the best of the game. Stephenson missed one or two chances in front of goal, one being a penalty kick, which everybody expected would be a sure goal; but no doubt the greasy nature of the weather  accounted for many of the mistakes on both sides.
The first half of the game was stubbornly contested, and when the whistle was blown the game was even. The second half was certainly a more exciting game; short passing became the order of the day. The superiority of the Ironworks combination thoroughly disorganised the Park Grove, Literally running them off their legs. The brilliant play of Johnny Stewart, of the Old Castle Swifts, was strikingly prominent, and contributed much to the success of the Ironworks.
Robert Stevenson seemed to recover his dash and skill, repeatedly sending in unerring shots for goal, and although the goal-keeper did good service, he succeeded in netting two out of the three goals scored. The third goal was scored by Cooper, the opposing full back who headed in from a centre by Chapman.
Park Grove seemed altogether fagged out when the whistle was blown, leaving the Thames winners by 3 goals to nil.

Park Grove:

Cable, Cooper, Chalkley, Harris, Warren, Earle, Price, Horswill, Wood, Alward, Stafford

WEST CROYDON : Friendly (Electric light)

Hermit Road Ground

5 - 0 (Chapman 2, Gresham 2, Stevenson)

9 March 1896

Graham, Taylor J., Hurst, Morton, Collins, Woods, Stevenson, Sage, Dove, Gresham, Chapman

The game was very interesting, both teams being well matched. Gresham was the first to score for the home team, then Chapman netted the second goal. Corners were very frequent at this time, Stephenson scoring another goal. This made matters rather warm for the visiting team, who tried hard, but the home defence was too much for them. At half time the score was 4 goals to nil in favour of Thames Iron Works. The second half had not commenced long before Chapman scored the fifth goal, the home team being satisfied, apparently, and contented themselves with preventing their opponents scoring.

West Croydon:

Elliott, Woodland H., Mitchell, Adey, Toogood, Peters, Bellamy, Farrell, Mulford, Kettel, Woodland C.



Thursday 12th March 1896.
Following a circular issued "by Mr, George Fordham, a meeting was held at Finsbury Barracks, City Road, London E.

Mr. F. E. Stuart was voted to the chair and he immediately called upon Mr. Fordham to explain his idea. In a brief speech that was thoroughly to the point, he said he observed a decline in interest in soccer in the capital, The speaker said that he thought the best idea to revive interest would be the formation of a London League (Hear ! Hear !).
The Football League movement North and South had done an immense amount of good for the game.
He had received requests from Southampton St. Mary's and Uxbridge to be included, but he desired that the organisation be confined within a 12 mile radius of London.
He therefore moved that a London League be formed. He was seconded by Mr. Bentley of Charlton United and without any discussion the motion was carried unanimously. A dilatory discussion then took place about how manv clubs should be included, and if it would be open to 'pro' and amateurs mixed, or just amateurs. It was decided to mix. There would be 3 divisions of approximately 10 clubs each.

Division One:

Woolwich Arsenal, Millwall Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur, Royal Ordnance, Clapton, London Welsh, Vampires, Ilford, 3rd Grenadier Guards, 1st Scots Guards.

Division Two:

Old St Stephen's, Thames Ironworks, Queens Park Rangers, Barking Woodville, Civil Service, Old St Mark's, Leyton, Stanley, Fulham, Bromley.

Division Three:

3rd Grenadier Guards, Barking Woodville Reserves, Charlton United, Clapton Clifton, Wood Green, Pemberton, Electric Athletic, Wandsworth, Metropolitan (Railway), + (One Vacant).

A further meeting was arranged on the 26th March 1896.

St. LUKE'S : Friendly

Becton Road

1 - 3 (Unknown)

14 March 1896

Line-up Unknown

WOOLWICH ARSENAL : Friendly (Electric light)

Hermit Road Ground

3 - 5 (Gresham 2, Fitzjohn)

16 March 1896

Graham, Taylor J., Hurst, Morton, Collins, Woods, Stevenson, Sage, Dove, Gresham, Chapman

A mixture of first-teamers and reserves represented the Arsenal at Hermit Road, The Woolwich club were placed 7th in the Football League Second Division at the time of this encounter.

Woolwich Arsenal:

Fairclough, Powell J., Gordon, Powell A., Caldwell, Kington, Bennett, Chalmers, Meade, McAvoy, Mills

WEST BROMWICH ALBION : Friendly (Electric light)

Hermit Road Ground

2 - 4 (Chapman 2)

20 March 1896

Graham, Taylor J., Neil, Morton, Collins, Stares, Fitzjohn, Sage, Stevenson, Gresham, Chapman

About 1,500 people were present at Hermit Road, Canning Town, to see West Bromwich Albion and Thames Ironworks play football by electric light. This match was the third in a series of four which made up the Midlanders four day tour of the London area.
The game during the first quarter of an hour was dull, neither side appearing to upset themselves. Banks scored a couple of goals, Morton worked hard for his side, and once robbed one of the Richardson’s with great cleverness, The Thames, after a bit, began to infuse a little life into the game, their left wing making an ugly rush, which ended in Reader being fairly and squarely beaten. As time wore on the game was brisker, the crowd vigorously applauding Graham for a clever save.
The play during the second half was more interesting. The Thames forwards were decidedly eager, and once Reader had to kick away a likely shot from the inside left. However, the Albion got dangerously near Graham, who, after clearing several attempts, was eventually beaten. Richards again scored for the Albion, and towards the finish Chapman got home again for the Thames, the final score being 4 to 2 in favour of West Bromwich.

Albion were bottom of Division One at the time and subsequently took part in the Test Matches - which they survived.
This match at Hermit Road was the third in a series of four which made up the Midlanders four day tour of the London area. Their other engagements were:-
v. West Norwood (18 March) High View Park won 4-0
v. Roston Burkes XI (19 March) Tufnell Park won 4-1
v. Wycmbe Wanderers (21 March) won 4-1

West Bromwich Albion:
Reader, Cave, Williams, Perry, Higgins, Taggert, Hutchinson, Richardson, Flewett, Richardson W., Banks.


Issue of March 1896

The electric light football matches of the Thames Ironworks F.C. Which were initiated some two or three months ago have become a great success.
Considerable difficulty was met in the first match due to the unsteadiness of the light. An opponent was heard to remark that the light always went out just when the Ironworks men had taken a shot at goal. This trouble has now been remedied but of course even in the first match it was the same for both sides.

BARKING WOODVILLE : West Ham Charity Cup Final

Spotted Dog Ground

2 - 2 (Stevenson, Stewart)

21 March 1896

Graham, Lindsay, French, Woods, Williams, Hickman, Barnes, Sage, Stevenson, Stewart, Chapman

LEYTON : Friendly (Electric light)

Hermit Road Ground

3 - 0 (Unknown)

23 March 1896

Line-up Unknown



Thursday 26th March 1896.

Held at the Fen Cafe, Fen Court, Fenchurch St. , EC. Mr. Gelliver was voted to the chair.

The following clubs withdrew after previous election:  
Division One : Ilford;   

Division Two : Old St Marks, Barking Woodville, Old St. Stephens
Division Three : Metropolitan (Railway), Pemberton.

No reply had been received from Tottenham Hotspur, Woolwich Arsenal , Millwall or Wood Green.
Although having withdrawn from Division II, Barking Woodville applied for admission to Division One.


Woodford, Ilford Reserves, Clapton Clifton, Brentford and Cray Wanderers applied for admission to Division Two.


Chiswick, Old Tottonians, Orient, Shepherd's Bush, Thames Ironworks Reserves, Walthamatow Town, West Hampstead and Cray Wanderers (should they not gain election to Division II) asked for a place in Division Three.

A sub - committee to draft League rules was elected as follows : 
F. Payne (Thames Ironworks), H.E. Boyce (Clapton Clifton), C. Dixon (Barking Woodville), Geroult (Royal Ordnance), Q.M.S. J, Newton  (3rd Grenadier Guards)

A further meeting held at "Ye Olde Bell", Doctors Commons  E. C. on.......... In the election of officers.
Mr. A. F. Hills became President, George Fordham, Secretary, Mr. M. J. Wells (Vampires) Treasurer, Mr. Geroult (Royal Ordnance), Chairman.

The composition of the 3 Divisions for the League's first season was expected to be:

Division One:

1st Scots Guards, 3rd Grenadier Guards, Vampires, London Welsh, Ilford, Clapton, Barking Woodville, Crouch End, Royal Ordnance.

Division Two:

Thames Ironworks, Queens Park Rangers, Leyton, Stanley, Fulham, Bromley, St Lukes, Woodford, Brentford, Clapton Clifton.

Division Three:

Charlton United, 3rd Grenadier Guards, Barking Woodville Reserves, Chiswick, Old Tottonians, Orient, Shepherds Bush, Thames Ironworks Reserves, Walthamstow Town, West Hampstead.

BARKING WOODVILLE : West Ham Charity Cup Final Replay

Spotted Dog Ground

0 - 0

28 March 1896

Graham, Lindsay, French, Woods, Williams, Hickman, Barnes, Sage, Stevenson, Stewart, Chapman

After playing a drawn game of two all on the previous Saturday, Thames Ironworks and Barking met again at the Spotted Dog, Upton.  Barking kicked off before a small attendance, and play was at once brisk. The Thames were the first to attack, Stephenson and Barnes being very conspicuous. A foul against Williams temporarily relieved the pressure, but French returning, and the Barking defence was again troubled. The Barking woke up and transferred play to the opposite end, but French was very strong at back, and kept them at bay. Inglis made some beautiful individual runs, but was not well supported at centre. Stewart and Chapman got away, and the latter had hard luck in the final shot, which just went over. Hands against the Works well up in goal looked dangerous, but Inglis muffed the ball and was robbed. McCappin saved a very swift shot from Stewart, and shortly after had to negotiate a second from Stephenson, which he did in marvellous style. Thames obtained two corners in quick succession, but both were futile, yet they kept up a hot attack, and Emberson had a very busy time. Barnes got away at a fast rate, and made repeated efforts to score, but the interval arrived with the score sheet a blank.
Re-starting, the Works pressed, but Emberson returned, and Graham’s charge was in danger, but Inglis shot behind. Play right up to the finish was of a give and take character, although the Ironworks were the chief aggressors. Neither side scored.


McCappin, Emberson, French, Holland, Wilson, Fletcher, Baverstock, Langford, Lucas, Middleton, Inglis


Hermit Road Ground

0 - 3

30 March 1896

Graham, Catling, Hurst, Morton, Collins, Stares, Woods, Fitzjohn, Stevenson, Gresham, Chapman

The Royalists arrived on the scene a man short, so the vacancy was filled by French, one of the Thames Reserves. Fitzjohn and Catling were two new men “on trial.” The visitors lost the toss, when the referee gave the signal for starting Jones kicked off with the sun in his face. The visitors attacked on the right, and a corner was forced off ‘Curley’ Hurst, but the kick sent the leather behind. Hands against Gresham came to nought, and this same player put in some exceedingly tricky business. Chapman ran up, but erratic shooting spoiled his effort. Soon after this a brief but sharp struggle occurred in front to the home citadel – a goal looked positively certain, when Collins relieved in grand style. The sphere was rushed to the other end; Buist returned, and Catling missing, a score appeared imminent, Jones sent to McIntosh, but the latter was neatly robbed by Stares. Hands against barker looked serious for the Royals, but Buist kicked out, and then play was transferred to the opposite half, and Grham promptly punched one shot away, a second, from the toe of Greig, sailing just over. Gresham broke away, but got his leg hurt, and play was suspended for a few moments in consequence. The visitors reached close up, when Stares got the ball away just in the nick of time. Almost immediately afterwards Graham saved two hot shots. Then for some time the Ironworkers managed to keep play in their opponents’ half, but failed to get past the backs, Barker being especially noted for a brilliant display. Later on Greig put the ball in, but was off-side. A corner which the visitors forced off Collins was quickly cleared by Morton. The men from Greenwich continued to attack, and Graham kept out several shots in first-class fashion. The interval came along with the Royalists leading by one goal to nil. Early in the second half Fitzjohn became prominent, but was not well supported. Hands against Morton close to his own goal followed a little later, and Buist put between, but no one touched the ball on its journey. Another try by Fitzjohn sent the leather over. Stephenson got possession from Hurst, ran up and tried with a long shot, but sent wide, a like result following an effort by Flowers. The Ironworks were playing much better just now, but correct shooting was right off. The Royals broke away, and getting up, Greig shot; Graham might have saved it, but was right behind the bar when he caught the ball, so that goal No. 2 was the result. The home side now appeared “pumped” – or the majority of them did – and had it not been for Graham’s really fine exhibition of goal keeping, the Ordnance would have scored heavily. A few seconds before “time” McIntosh put on a third point, and so the game ended with a win for the visitors.

Royal Ordnance:

Flowers, Barker, Buist, Innes, McKenzie, Ireland, French, Waddell, Jones, McIntosh, Greig


March 1896

We are making ourselves known and felt all over London, as will be seen by the voting at the first meeting of the New London League, when we polled the second highest number of votes for admission into the second division, that old-established West London club, Old St. Stephens, being top.
This League will be a new feature in London football next season; with proper management it should raise the whole tone and interest of football in the great city. I hope this time next year the Iron Works will figure prominently in their division. Everyone will agree with me that it would have been better for the game in Canning Town had St. Luke's and South West Ham. been elected too.
By the time this report is issued we shall have met two very strong teams, the first a strong team of the Arsenal, and West Bromwich Albion. I think we might well be proud of a club that can boast of meeting a First League team in the first year of its existence.

A. T. HARSENT, Hon. Sec.

St. LUKE'S : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

1 - 1 (Chapman)

3 April 1896

Graham, Neil, Hurst, Morton, Collins, Woods, Dove, Sage, Stevenson, Gresham, Chapman


Hermit Road Ground

3 - 1 (Chapman, Rossiter, Stevenson)

4 April 1896

Graham, Williams, Hurst, Morton, Collins, French, Rossiter, Dove, Stevenson, Gresham, Chapman

The home side kicked off, and at once attacked, Stevenson heading past George in the first minute, but the point was disallowed for off-side. Liverpool then got away, and after a series of shots Graham was beaten, one of the home backs making a mistake in front of goal. Griffiths and Hancock were again dangerous on the left. Graham having to save repeatedly. Gresham relieved the pressure by an individual run, and with an apparent easy opening shot wide. Not to be denied the homesters again attacked. Stevenson being very prominent, but the shooting was rather erratic. A foul against Hurst transferred play, but Williams relieved with a long kick. The play was now of a give and take description, either goal being in turn visited, though the visitors had rather the best of the exchanges. Rossiter and Dove tried hard to equalise, and after several attempts the former beat George with a low shot. The Casuals from the kick-off attacked, but Williams cleared and giving to Stevenson. the latter had little difficulty in placing his side once more ahead. Chapman immediately after added a third goal. The visitors were now completely confined to their quarters, Jackson and Woodruff being very busy, but both defended grandly. Crompton and Hancock made a combined run down, and Graham had to clear, but the ball was returned and the Thames obtained a corner which was fruitless. The interval now arrived with Thames leading by 3 to 1. In the second half, although the Ironworkers had the best of matters, nothing further was added on either side, so the final result was: Thames Ironworks 3; Liverpool Casuals 1.

VAMPIRES : Friendly

Hermit Road Ground

6 - 2 (Unknown)

6 April 1896

Graham, Hurst, Catling, Stares, Collins, Morton, Rossiter H., Rossiter C., Fitzjohn, Sage, Chapman

A contest between teams representing the above was the attraction at Hermit Road Ground on Easter Monday afternoon, but the Vampires, being on tour elsewhere, were prevented from sending a strong eleven. The game was not an interesting one, although rather amusing from the spectators point of view, the fun being created by the tricky ways in which the Thames baffled their weaker opponents. The result was a 6 to 2 victory for the home side. 


30 March 1896

In order to remove any doubt which may exist as to the 'Thames Ironworks Club having no ground next season. I may say that I have received information that — whilst the present enclosure will probably be retained by the Thames Ironworks people until the close of the cricket season just commenced — another football pitch in the immediate vicinity will be ready for next season, and will continue to be used until such time as the new ground on the other side of Hermit Road Schools is available. The first eleven have three more matches (including to-day's) before finishing the season. Next Saturday the opponents are South West Ham, and a week later Millwall Reserves, both at home. To-day's fixture is placed under its proper heading..


Hermit Road Ground

3 - 1 (Unknown)

11 April 1896

Line-up Unknown

This event on Saturday last on the former's ground at Hermit Road did not produce a game of extraordinary interest. This was rather contrary to expectations, for a really smart contest had been anticipated. In the first portion of Way the home side had the wind and scored twice, whilst their opponents failed to defeat the Thames custodian. In the latter half both sides notched a point, and the final figures therefore recorded a win for the Ironworkers by 3 goals to 1.


Hermit Road Ground

3 - 0 (Gresham 2, Oxspring [og]))

18 April 1896

Graham, Catling, Hurst, Morton, Collins, Stares, Dove, Rossiter H., Fitzjohn, Patterson, Gresham

Thames started short, but their complement was soon made up. Ridges kicked off for South West Ham, and play was immediately confined to the Thames’ quarters. Three minutes from start George Edwards placed a capital judgement, and Ridges succeeded in beating Graham. Thames pressed, Chidley being called on to fist out a hot ‘un. Shaw had a splendid run up the wing, but Hurst succeeded in transferring play to the other end, where Gresham scored. South seemed disorganised, with the Ironworkers did all the pressing, at times exhibiting pretty passing. At length South worked the leather up the field, and a sensational melee occurred in front of the home sides’ citadel. Shot after shot was sent in – but Graham’s charge remained intact. Chidley was again afford an opportunity of displaying his abilities as a custodian, and he responded in a capital manner. Play once more in Thames’ half, Armit got the ball, had a clear goal, when he was badly fouled. Just on half-time Gresham notched number two for the Thames. The second half was not remarkable for clever football – Dove and Gresham were always in evidence for Thames, while Collins worked like a demon at centre half. Barnes netted the sphere for South, but the referee declared it off-side. A free kick against South resulted in a scrimmage in front of Chidley – Oxspring, in attempting to clear, kicking through his own goal, and Thames retired victors by three goals to one.

South West Ham:

Chidley, Oxspring, McDougall, Tann, Peddle, Edwards, Shaw, Armit, Ridges, Barnes, Munro

BARKING WOODVILLE : West Ham Charity Cup Final 2nd Replay

St Luke's, Becton

1 - 0 (Barnes)

20 April 1896

Graham, Stevenson, French, Woods, Chapman, Hickman, Chamberlain, Sage, Freeman, Barnes, Stewart

In the third match, after two drawn games the Ironworkers beat their opponents by one goal to nil. Although directly after the match the cup was formally handed to Captain Stevenson (Ironworks) it was decided to have a public ceremony with a concert thrown in, one object of the concert being to enhance the financial position of the club. This auspicious event came off on Tuesday evening at the Canning Town Public Hall, Mr. Arnold F. Hills (president of the club) presiding. The Chairman in an opening speech. said be thought they had some reason to be proud of the winners. He congratulated the team, which was almost a scratch team last October, on having won so many matches, and finally on carrying off the West Ham Charity Cup. (Applause.) Mrs. A. F. Hills then distributed the medals to the following members of the team :- Messrs. R. Stevenson, J. Woods, G. Sage, W. Chapman, Barnes, Stewart, French, Hickman, Chamberlain, and Freeman. She also presented prizes to the winners of the events at the Thames Ironworks Sports.


McCappin, Emberson, French, Holland, Wilson, Fletcher, Tovery, Langford, Inglis, Middleton, Baverstock.



Hermit Road Ground

1 - 1 (Rossiter)

24 April 1896

Graham, Stevenson, Hurst, Woods, Collins, Stares, Sage, Dove, Rossiter H., Chapman, Gresham

This contest was witnessed at the Hermit-road Ground on Saturday by one of the largest crowds that has been attracted to the ground during the season. The occasion was the final match of the home club.
The visitors scored in the first half, when they had the aid of the wind, as also the best of the game. In the latter half Thames scored, the left wing coming away and Rossiter shooting from a scrimmage in front of goal. This was only a few seconds before the finish, when the score indicated a draw of one goal each. Both sides would have registered more points but for the gallant defence of the respective goalkeepers. I have received the season's record in detail of Thames Ironworks F.C. I shall have to hold it over until next week, as the HERALD is being published a day earlier this week because the whole of the staff take a holiday on May Day.

Millwall Athletic:

Moore, Philip, McSpadden, Overton, Johnston, Aitken, Jones, Dale, Townsend, Westwood and Hollands. 

Next season Thames Ironworks
will be competing in the London League

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