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1896-97 London League (Division One)

For the 1896/97 season the club entered the London League and new players arrived in the form of Edward Hatton, Johnny Morrison, Fred Chalkley and Frank Dandridge. The campaign started well as Vampires were beaten 3–0 at home in the opening game. Another home win followed when the 1st Scots Guards were beaten 2–0. This was the last match played at Hermit Road; the club had found a new ground at Browning Road, East Ham.

The FA Cup brought a trip to Kent where the Ironworks were overwhelmed, losing 8–0 to Sheppey United, although an injury to Hatton caused them to play with ten men for most of the game.

In the West Ham Charity Cup first Claremont Athletic were beaten 2–0, followed by another 2–0 victory over Manor Park in the semi-final. Thames were then paired with West Ham Garfield in the final. As current holders, Thames were the favourites, but they relinquished their hold on the trophy after losing 1–0. A further competition entered was the London Senior Cup, where they scored victories over West Norwood, Marcians, Wandsworth and Barking Woodville. Up next were Bromley and after two draws the Kent club came through, winning 2–0 on their ground.

In the league, Thames were doing well after wins against Vampires and Ilford but this all changed on 1 April following a 5–0 defeat against 3rd Grenadier Guards. The Guards eventually won the league while Thames finished as runners-up. It was announced by owner Arnold Hills that he would help fund the building of a new ground, which would also be used for athletics and cycling. The work was soon completed and in June 1897 the company held a gala day for the opening. There were 8,000 present to see the enclosure, which was named the Memorial Grounds.


21 August 1896

Thames Ironworks F.C. Have consented to fill the London League vacancy caused by the withdrawal of Royal Ordnance. The Irons 'kind' acceptance will avoid a considerable re-arrangement of the new Leagues fixtures.


Hermit Road Ground

3 - 0 (Hatton 2, Gresham)

19 September 1896

Barnes, Stevenson, Hurst, Morton, Dandridge, Davie, Dove, Rossiter, Hatton, Morrison, Gresham

This match was played at Hermit Road on Saturday, and was the homesters first London League engagement, and so creditable a display did the Ironsiders give that they ran out the winners by three goals to nil — to the pretty evident surprise of their opponents. The homesters made but one alteration from the team which opposed Chatham the previous Saturday, the alteration being the substitution of Barnes for Graham as goalkeeper, The Vampires were strongly represented. 
Right from the commencement the "Ironsides" were attacking, a corner being forced off Barber quite early in the contest. From this Gresham scored, After this the Vampires tried to gain access to Barnes' charge, but Stevenson was in fine fettle and could not be passed, and the Ironworkers were soon pressing again. A couple of fouls against the visitors resulted in the leather being placed in the net without touching anyone. A subsequent free kick looked more dangerous, but Baker cleared in clever style. The Ironworkers' left wing was very prominent and were within an ace of adding to the score, but half-time arrived with the score still indicating the home side leading by one goal to nil. In the second half the "Ironsides " played an even better game than before, and whilst they scored two more points, they were successful in their efforts to prevent the Vampires from scoring even a solitary goal, and so the match ended in a three to nil victory for the Ironworks, much to the satisfaction of their supporters. Hatton, Morrison and Gresham were the pick of the home forwards; Dandridge, centre-half, Stevenson and Barnes being also frequently prominent.

Barker, Hutchinson, Francis, Spearpoint, Mordin, Bentley, Read S., Read H., Barber, Darling, Simpson.


2 October 1896

The Thames Ironworks FC have received notice for Ald. Bethel that they have immediately to vacate their ground at Hermit Road. The Secretary has written asking for one months notice.

On or after Monday next 5th October 1896 Mr. Dave Taylor will take over the duties of secretary. The club is once again fortunate in securing his services. Mr Taylor is an employee at the works and officiated as secretary when the club was first formed. His address is 14, James St. Plaistow. Mr Taylor has recently had the misfortune to have his right eye injured somewhat by getting a splinter and there will be no bad effects after a week or two.
It is unfortunate that the club has had its ground taken away in this manner and alterations are certain to be needed in their fixture list. A new ground is planned at Harold Road near the Upton Manor but work has not yet started. As soon as they vacate the Hermit Road ground an enclosure in the Beckton Road almost opposite the St Lukes ground will be ready to receive them and here, it is expected they will do battle for the remainder of the season.


Hermit Road Ground

2 - 0 (Gresham, Rossiter)

8 October 1896

Charsley, Stevenson, Holstock, Bird, Dandridge, Davie, Nichols, Rossiter, Hatton, Gresham, Morrison

The 1st Scots Guards would later withdraw from the League and their record was subsequently deleted.

1st Scots Guards:

Pennington, Milligan, Dawson, Cresswell, Gash, Harrison, Kirk, Kilkenny, Rough, Thompson, Innes

SHEPPEY UNITED : FA Cup 1st Qualifier

Botany Road

0 - 8

10 October 1896

Southwood, Stevenson, Holstock, Bird, Dandridge, Davie, Nichols, Rossiter, Hatton, Gresham, Morrison

Sheppey United:
Stalker, Barnes, Davies, Mathews, Blount, Walker, Jones, Lissenden, Rule.

WEST NORWOOD : London Senior Cup (Preliminary Round)

High View Park

2 - 1 (Rossiter, Stevenson [pen])

17 October 1896

Charsley, Stevenson, Dove, Morton, Hickman, Stares, Rossiter, Sage, Davie, Morrison, Gresham

West Norwood:

Holledge, Niel, Sharples, Bullock, Cretchley, Russell, Goer, Mann H., Stone, Mann C., Rome


Herne Hill

1 - 4 (Sage)

22 October 1896

Graham, Stevenson, Holstock, Morton, Dandridge, Bird, Dove, Sage, Hatton, Gresham, Morrison

3rd Grenadier Guards:

Robertson, Sgt. Goodman, Milarvie, Ball, Pte. Goodman, Hill, Tomlinson, Lloyd, Molyneux, Sheeran, Turrell


Nightingale Lane, Hornsey

1 - 0 (Hatton)

24 October 1896

Graham, Stevenson, Neil, Bird, Dandridge, Dove, Rossiter, Williams, Hatton, Davie, Morrison

Crouch End:

Inyers, Brimelow, Slark, Ardley, Cane, Hatch, Turner, Wilkins, Miller, Heath, Flowers


31 October 1896

Football Club's New Ground

Two Members of the Town Council Concerned in a Case which Justice Kekewich must Decide

A remarkable story has reached me, writes a HERALD representative, in connection the arrangements made for the conveyance to the Town Council of the land in Hermit Road, Canning Town, which Alderman Bethell has succeeded in securing as a recreation ground for the people. It would be unwise to mention names, but the facts, as related to me by one who is closely Interested in the matter, are as follows:

On the Hermit Road land there was a big enclosure, a high fence protecting the ground used by the Thames Ironworks' Football Club. It was necessary for the Club to vacate the ground before the land could be conveyed to the Town Council, and when the question of a new pitch was discussed a gentleman who has taken an active interest In the recreation ground project gave the Club permission (so It is alleged) to use a piece of land in Beckton Road, at the back of the Board School.

It is stated that no attempt was first made by this gentleman to obtain the consent of the owners of the land, but this is contradicted. In any case, the high fencing was removed to Beckton Road, and erected on the new site, the posts being sunk deep Into the ground, and the goal-posts concreted in, and a pavilion put up. The land had belonged to the wife of a member of our Town Council, but it has recently gone into the hands of this lady's brothers.

The agent for these gentlemen, casually (it is said) visiting the spot, was astonished to see an army of navvies at work sinking goalposts, etc., and generally busy. He at once reported the matter to his principals, whose wrath rose very considerably, and who straightway took the matter before a judge in the Law Courts, It was at first feared that the opening football match on the new ground, last Saturday, would not be allowed to take place; but it did take place, and the club officials are now. anxiously awaiting the result of an application for an injunction, which is being made to-day to Justice Kekewich. By the way, the Councillor referred to is now before the burgesses seeking re-election.

MARCIANS : London Senior Cup (Second Round)

Raynes Park

4 - 0 (Gresham 2, Bird, 1 untraced)

11 November 1896

Graham, Stevenson, Taylor, Bird, Dove, Stares, Rossiter, Gresham, Ridges, Davie, Morrison


Money, Hollands, Adamson, Ridont, Wall A., Morris, Arnold, Ronaldson, Wall H., Herbert, England

Friday 13 November 1896


The club complained that other clubs were being uncooperative in arranging dates and they could not undertake to play South Essex League and London League games on the same day.

The clubs record at the time of withdrawal.
P:2, W;2, D:0, L:0, F: 5 A:2 Pts 4

14 November 1896

The hon. secretary (Mr. R. Cuer) read a letter from the Thames Ironworks Football Club stating the club's intention to withdraw form the First and Second Divisions of the South Essex League.
Mr. Shelton (Leyton) moved that the resignation be accepted and that all League matches with the Ironworks be cancelled. 
Mr, Hant (Woodford) seconded, and it was agreed to.

On the 14 November 'Thames' cancelled a South Essex League fixture at Brentwood and played a friendly with Grays instead.

Grays United 2 Thames Ironworks 2


17 November 1896

The Thames Ironworks Club having joined the ranks of the professionals, consequently withdrew from the match with Brentwood in the South Essex League, which was fixed for Saturday, Nov. 14. The club, however, offered to play a 'friendly' with Brentwood on condition that a guarantee of a few pounds was given. The condition was accepted, the Brentwood team not caring to abstain from play for three Saturdays in succession. Brentwood won by 2 to 0.


20 November 1896

The Thames Ironworks FC had turned professional, hence their withdrawal from the South Essex League. They will not now be able to take part in the Essex and London Cup competitions".

A week later the same paper published a denial by club secretary D.T. Taylor. He said: "The matter had not even been thought about"

"I (editor) can only say that the rumour was public property and the same statement appeared in the London Football Editions. We are pleased however to give the denial publicity and learn that the statement is untrue"

The same edition announced E.G. Hatton an Irons forward would be joining Old St Stephens.

Thames Ironworks FC will soon be on their feet again. True they will have to go as far as East Ham for a piece of ground but their enthusiasts  do not care a rap about that. An area of land hitherto known as the cornfield is being laid out for them and they will commence with a London (or Essex) Senior Cup tie on December 5th.


21 November 1896


In the Chancery Court, on Friday, a motion was moved on behalf of Mr. Atkinson to restrain Mr. Arnold Frank Hills, the managing director of the Thames Ironworks Shipbuilding Company; Mr Payne, the honorary secretary of the athletic club connected with the works; and Ald, J.H. Bethell, the defendants in the action, from enclosing a piece of land situate in Plaistow, for the purpose of playing football. Mr. Renshaw, Q.C., and Mr. John Henderson appeared for the plaintiffs, and Mr. Warrington, Q.C., and Mr. R.F. Norton for defendants. Plaintiffs' contention was that without their leave the land had ben fenced in, the pavilion and goalposts had been erected on the land, and football matches had been adverties to be played by the Thames Ironworks Football Club. The defendant Mr. Hills, in addition to being managing director of the firm, was also president of the Athletic and Football Clubs. By consent, Mr. Hills was dismissed from the action as having nothing to do with the matter, and for the defence it was stated that the land was waste land, and leave had been obtained to use the land for football from Mr. Bethall, who had been appointed agent by plaintiffs to sell the land.
Mr. Justice Kekewich, in delivering judgement granted an injunction against Messrs. Payne and Bethell, but reserved the costs.



2 - 2 (Dove, [og])

28 November 1896

Graham, Chalkley, Taylor, Morton, Dandridge, Bird, Rossiter, Gresham, Dove, Davie, Morrison


Smith H., Drummond, Culling, Gregory, Markham, Hutchins, King, Porter, Legg (2 unknown)

LEYTON : Essex Senior Cup (First Round)

Browning Road

2 - 3 (Stevenson, 1 untraced)

5 December 1896

Barnes, Chalkley, Taylor, Morton, Woods W., Hickman, Dove, Sage, Stevenson, Stewart, Stares

First game at Browning Road


Walker, Elliott, Jupp, Fincham, Davis, Cartwright, Read S., Russell E., Russell A., Fraser, Biner


1 January 1897

"What would the Thames Ironworks club do without their President Mr A. F. Hills one would hardly care to predict but certain it is that with such a man at the helm the 'Irons' have little to fear for the future prosperity. Mr Hills who is a J.P. is also very liberal with the 'pieces' and the satisfactory position of the club is almost entirely due to his judicial supervision. Mr Hills is not a keen lover of professionalism and rumour afloat about the Ironworks club are hereby flatly repudiated. Bearing all these things in mind the London League can be pronounced fortunate a gentleman of such influence and practical enthusiasm.

WANDSWORTH : London Senior Cup (Third Round)

Browning Road

7 - 0  (Dove 3, Gresham, Morrison, Rossiter, Stevenson)

2 January 1897

Match Abandoned:
80 minutes Fog

Duff, Chalkley, Taylor, Stares, Dandridge, Bird, Rossiter, Gresham, Dove, Morrison, Stevenson

The fog affected match with Wandsworth was played at Browning Road, East Ham on Saturday 2 January 1897. Referee Mr. A. Avery of the London FA was forced to call the tie off in the 80th minute, due to fog, with the home side leading 7-0. Charlie Dove the Irons' centre-forward scored a first-half hat-trick as his side took a 6-0 lead into the break. Wandsworth missed a penalty when Duff saved the spot-kick. There was a very small attendance.


Young, Morton, Ritchie, Sydenham, Ballantyne, McNiven, Johnston, Conrade, Stephenson, Morell, Hunter


8 January 1897

"An emergency meeting of the London Football Association was held at Finsbury Barracks on Tuesday 5th January to hear the Thames Ironworks FC claim to be awarded the London Senior Cup-tie v Wandsworth. Ironworks stated that had the visitors turned up on time the match would not have been abandoned ten minutes from the end due to fog.
'Thames were leading 7-0 at the time Wandsworth claimed that it was the fog that delayed them. The London F.A. ordered that the match be replayed.

WANDSWORTH : London Senior Cup (Third Round)

Browning Road

3 - 1 (Stevenson 2, Gresham)

9 January 1897

Duff, Chalkley, Tranter, Stares, Hickman, Bird, Rossiter, Gresham, Dove, Morrison, Stevenson



BARKING WOODVILLE : London Senior Cup (Fourth Round)

Browning Road

2 - 0  (Dove, Morrison)

16 January 1897

Duff, Chalkley, Tranter, Bird, Dandridge, Stares, Rossiter, Davie, Dove, Morrison, Stevenson

Two Barking players were sent off for arguing with the referee.


Barking Woodville:

McCappin, Chalk A., Hollingshead, Chalk E., Wilson, Breens, Kirk, Moore, Graham, Inglis, Langford

BROMLEY : London Senior Cup (Fifth Round)

Browning Road

3 - 3 (Stares, Dandridge, Dove)

30 January 1897

Duff, Chalkley, Tranter, Bird, Dandridge, Woods, Stares, Gresham, Dove, Morrison, Davie

Match Abandoned:
Extra time bad light

This tie was 3-3 at 90 minutes. In extra time C. Stares scored for the 'Irons' but the referee was forced to abandon the game due to poor light.



BROMLEY : London Senior Cup (Fourth Round Replay)

Queensmead Recreation Ground

2 - 2 aet (Gresham, Morrison)

6 February 1897

Duff, Chalkley, Tranter, Morton, Dandridge, Bird, Rossiter, Gresham, Dove, Morrison, Darby


Bayman, Carr, Jeary, Ridgway, Gedney, Norman, Payne, English, Osborne, Tyson, Harvey

BROMLEY : London Senior Cup (Fifth Round 2nd Replay)

Queensmead Recreation Ground

0 - 2

13 February 1897

Duff, Chalkley, Read, Morton, Dandridge, Bird, Rossiter, Gresham, Dove, Morrison, Darby

Neutral venue could not be found for this second replay. Bromley won the toss for choice of grounds.


Bayman, Carr, Jeary, Ridgway, Gedney, Norman, Field, English, Osborne, Carter, Harvey

CLAREMONT ATHLETIC : West Ham Charity Cup First round)

Browning Road

2 - 0 (Unknown)

20 February 1897

Duff, Chalkley, Read, Morton, Dandridge, Bird, Rossiter, Gresham, Dove, Morrison, Hickman

Claremont Athletic:

Robinson M., Roberts, Storey, Burford, Perry, Rix, Gill, Robinson H., Clark, Mitchell W., Mitchell G.


Hermitage, Norbury Park

2 - 1 (Butterworth, Morrison)

27 February 1897

Duff, Chalkley, Tranter, Bird, Dandridge, Morton, Read, Morrison, Butterworth, Gresham, Dove


Waller, Kidd, Marshall, Francis, Bentley, Russwurm, Read S., Mann H., Ward, Mann C., MacLachlan


Browning Road

3 - 2 (Read 2, Butterworth)

6 March 1897

Duff, Chalkley, Tranter, Bird, Dandridge, Morton, Read, Morrison, Butterworth, Gresham, Dove


Smith W., Drummond, Legge, Gregory, Markham, Wallis, Hadwick, Porter, Clarke, Mills, Hitchins


Windsor Recreation Ground

2 - 1 (Butterworth, Morrison)

9 March 1897

1st Scots Guards

Withdrew from the League - Record deleted

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

Browning Road

2 - 0 (Dove, Read)

11 March 1897

Duff, Chalkley, Tranter, Bird, Dandridge, Morton, Rossiter, Gresham, Dove, Morrison, Read



Manor Park:

Line-up Unknown


March 1897

Thames Ironworks Gazette announced a change of Football Club secretary.
Mr. D.T. Taylor taking over from T. Harsent.

(Mr. D.T. Taylor was secretary at Friday 27 November 1896)


Vicarage Field

0 - 1 

13 March 1897

Duff, Chalkley, Tranter, Jones, Dandridge, Morton, Read, Morrison, Butterworth, Gresham, Dove

Barking Woodville:

McCappin, Chalk F., French, Chalk A., Wilson, Breens, Evans, Kirk, Moore, Inglis, Langford

WEST HAM GARFIELD : West Ham Charity Cup (Final)

Spotted Dog Ground

0 - 1

20 March 1897

Duff, Chalkley, Tranter, Bird, Dandridge, Morton, Stares, Rossiter, Dove, Morrison, Read

The finalists were not allowed to field their first XIs' the rules of the competition confined it to reserves teams. Ironworks team appeared heavily loaded with senior men.
The Mayor of West Ham kicked off. 'Irons' had much the best of the early play, Heath saving shots from all their forwards. There was no score at half time, but in the latter half 'Gars' broke away down the right and from the resultant cross Barrett broke the deadlock. Exchanges became heated after this but referee R. Brown managed to maintain order

West Ham Garfield:

Heath, Clews, Shapcott, Townley, Hepell, Watson, Smith C., Baxter, Thompson, Robertson, Barrett


Browning Road

0 - 5 

1 April 1897

Charsley, Chalkley, Tranter, Dove, Hickman, Bird, Olivant, Chapman, Gresham, Morrison, Butterworth

3rd Grenadier Guards:

Rafter, Ball, Milarvie, Molloy, Robertson, Skidmore, Tomlinson, Lloyd, Molyneux, Sheeran, Turrell


Browning Road

4 - 1 (Butterworth 2, Cooper 2)

3 April 1897

Duff, Chalkley, Tranter, Dove, Dandridge, Bird, Cowie, Gresham, Butterworth, Cooper, Olivant


Browning Road

1 - 1 (Cowie) 

8 April 1897

Furnell, Chalkley, Tranter, Dove, Dandridge, Bird, Cowie, Gresham, Butterworth, Cooper, Olivant

Barking Woodville:
McCappin, Mayes, Hurst, Hawkes, Wilson, Breens, Longford, Inglis, Moore, Bavistock, Evans.


Tufnel Park

15 April 1897

London Welsh were suspended near the end of the season and as a result Thames Ironworks were awarded two wins and Vampires one win.


Browning Road

17 April 1897


14 May 1897

At the A.G.M. Of the London League held at the Mitre Tavern, Chancery Lane it was decided to enlarge the First Division to ten clubs, The Second Division too would be ten members.

Division One:
Barking Woodville, 
Brentford, Bromley, Ilford, Leyton, Queens Park Rangers, Stanley, Thames Ironworks, 3rd Grenadier Guards, 2nd Grenadier Guards

Division Two:
Forest Swifts, Fulham, Hammersmith Athletic, Orient, Harrow, West Croydon, Barnet, Metropolitan Railway, 2nd Life Guards, 'Vacancy'

Mr Arnold F. Hills of the Thames Ironworks was retained President of the League

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