Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Curatorial Corner - 19th October 2011

Football, Steeplechases and Regattas

The Curatorial department at STEAM have been working on a conservation and re-storage project for over 100 fragile and historically important handbills.  The handbills all date from 1909 and highlight the very interesting social history of the Edwardian period.

January 1909 handbill

The brightly coloured handbills advertise excursion trips to various destinations, including Wales, London, Cheltenham and Windsor.  The handbills are a buzz of information giving details of prices and timings for the excursion trains.  There are also adverts informing passengers of what they might see at their destination.  In June 1909 an excursion from Wolverhampton to London was arranged for passengers to go and see the Africa and the East Missionary Exhibition and in March of the same year local services were put on for the North Warwickshire Hunt Steeplechases.  Adverts on the reverse of the handbills provide information on trips to Brittany on the steamer RMS Antelope, via the GWR Docks at Plymouth, or to Ireland via Fishguard on turbine steamers.

Some of the most interesting handbills advertise excursion trips to top league football matches.  Famous named clubs such as Aston Villa, West Bromwich and Reading appear on the handbills, but other clubs such as Glossop and Clapton Orient (later renamed Leyton Orient) also appear playing against these top flight teams.  Even 100 years ago football played an important part in people's lives and the GWR was making it possible for the fans to travel to matches.

The handbills are a great find and definately make for an interesting read!

Reverse of February 1909 handbill showing football fixtures

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