Hockey, at last, has its own archive museum. The dream of a number of enthusiasts has been realised. The Museum is at Butts Road in the lively leafy Surrey town of Woking in England.
It has come about largely through the energy and initiative of a group of enthusiasts. Two pairs of people, Mike Smith and David Wareham, on one hand, and Patrick Rowley and Dil Bahra, on the other, with largely the same objective of working to preserve hockey’s rich heritage, met some four years ago. They immediately decided to form a Hockey Archives group.
The group was later expanded to include Katie Dodd, the former England international, and Ian Wilson, the Treasurer of England Hockey.
The sextet blended instantly and enormous progress has been made. You can see how far we have progressed. We have launched our own web site: www.hockeyarchives.co.uk.
The collection, spanning the 125 years of hockey’s existence, so far consists of books, magazines, photographs, videos, drawings, paintings, besides trophies, plaques, and the changes of hockey clothing, balls, and sticks – even hockey stamps. Some fascinating, even unique, things came into our possession.
We are also in the process of obtaining extensive hockey statistical hockey records both for the UK and international hockey.
But this is not just about the higher levels of our game.. Our collection is a montage of hockey at all levels.
The initial driving force for this Museum came from Mike Smith, of Mercian sports goods fame, and chartered surveyor David Wareham, a former hockey umpire and official.
Pat Rowley and Dil Bahra, as members of the Hockey Writers Club, had become increasingly aware of the dearth of readily available information on the game. Pat had realised how little was available back in 1969 when he wrote “The Book of Hockey”. Dil was particularly interested in India and the sub continent.
When Katie Dodd joined England Hockey, she tried to pull together a historical display of women’s hockey. Her energy and drive made her a natural leader for our group.
Ian Wilson was responsible for trying to save what records of England and UK hockey existed when England’s National Stadium at Milton Keynes was sold. He set up an England Hockey Archive Steering Group and played a major role in making sure hockey literature was found a home at Bath University.
Our web site has been sponsored by Denys Shortt, the former England U21 international, through one of his businesses. He is one of many in hockey who are supporting our venture, people who want to put something back into the game they love.
Thankfully many enthusiasts around the UK, the country where hockey was born, and the rest of the world, have retained and collected hockey memorabilia.
So if you know of anyone, wherever they are in the world, who would like to join us in our initiative or provide memorabilia, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Just look under Contact on our web site..
We are extremely grateful to Woking Borough Council and its enterprising museum, The Lightbox who have made the site at Butts Road available to us (at peppercorn rent) and provided valuable guidance and help.
Hockey now has two collections of archives. We played an important role in the setting up of the hockey section for Bath University’s sports library where their archivist Lizzie Richmond has done a wonderful job.
Our next venture will be to make a display to have on view, possibly in Central London, in time for the London Olympics.
Soon we will seek to secure individual donations while currently we are working to make the Museum a Charitable Trust.
Meanwhile do get in touch with us. We need your suggestions, ideas, and contributions.
Hockey’s Heritage is assured.
Article submitted by Patrick Rowley.