CRYSTAL PALACE

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CRYSTAL PALACE

Postby LEATHERSTOCKING » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:05 am

Can anyone help as to when the Crystal Palace grounds including the football field in Sydenham stopped being used for football? The Crystal Palace itself I know burned down in 1936; my parents lived in New Eltham at the time & watched the sky lit by the flames. I guess that concluded the Sydenham site as a sports venue but I`d be grateful for any confirmation.
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Re: CRYSTAL PALACE

Postby bluedragon » Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:57 pm

LEATHERSTOCKING wrote:Can anyone help as to when the Crystal Palace grounds including the football field in Sydenham stopped being used for football? The Crystal Palace itself I know burned down in 1936; my parents lived in New Eltham at the time & watched the sky lit by the flames. I guess that concluded the Sydenham site as a sports venue but I`d be grateful for any confirmation.


Yes, as I understand it the fire was the end for some time for the site as a sports venue. At the start of the Great War the grounds were taken over as a War Service Depot and that marked the end of the ground staging the FA Cup Final. The famous amateur club, Corinthian FC, used the ground as their home ground from after the War and drew crowds of 50/60,000 for big FA Cup ties. They were literally made homeless after the great fire with the grounds being declared unsafe. That possibly was a factor in the decision taken shortly after by Corinthian FC to join forces with Casuals FC to form today's Corinthian-Casuals FC.
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Re: CRYSTAL PALACE

Postby ScottishFA » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:21 pm

There's a terrific book which has the full story of the Crystal Palace ground, with lavish illustrations: 'To the Palace for the Cup' (1999) by Ian Bevan, Stuart Hibberd and Michael Gilbert.

You are right that the fire in 1936 brought an end to football matches, but only on a temporary basis. Corinthian-Casuals returned to Crystal Palace from 1950, initially for a few games a season, and then for all their games 1957-60. They continued to play there sporadically for another decade and their final game was in November 1970, by which time it had been revamped as a multi-sport venue.

Even after that it was used for amateur games, such as the Arthur Dunn Cup final, and the last game of football was 1982. The National Sports Centre now stands on the site of the old cup final ground, so it is still possible to see a bit of the original layout.
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Re: CRYSTAL PALACE

Postby bluedragon » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:32 am

That sounds like a great book. I have always been fascinated by old photographs of the ground and the distance that many of the spectators in the huge attendances were from the play.

Off at a slight tangent. After the Great War the management of the Crystal Palace ground had hopes of re-establishing its status as a top football venue and hosting six figure crowds. Its location also meant that large crowds could disperse easily. It looks as if the ground re-opened for football at the start of 1922/23 season when Corinthian entertained Tottenham Hotspur and prior to the match unveiled the club’s War memorial. The pitch had been moved closer to the stands that provided seats for 6,000 spectators. The dressing rooms apparently were not a communal area for each team but an individual dressing box for each player.

Both Corinthian FC and Casuals FC played at the ground when it re-opened and this led to early proposals for an amalgamation. Casuals FC left Crystal Palace in 1925 citing the difficulty of attracting spectators and the knock-on financial effect. The first definite moves towards an amalgamation were made immediately after the Crystal Palace fire and finalised in June 1937 when the decision was taken that the two clubs would be run under a single committee. This was initially for a three-year period but later became permanent and the clubs completely amalgamated in January 1939. The aftermath of the Crystal Palace fire may have only been one factor in the decision to amalgamate with Casuals FC. A newspaper of the day said: “Corinthians particularly have found ever-increasing difficulty in getting together sides of the required strength”.

Corinthian-Casuals FC returned to Crystal Palace for the 1957/58 season. At this time First XI matches were played at the Oval cricket ground. In 1951 the London County Council (LCC) had taken over the derelict site from the Crystal Palace Trust. The club reached an agreement with LCC for use of the ground for matches at the beginning and end of the season when the Oval would not be available to them. It was also to be the home ground for the club’s reserve XI. The LCC had made some improvements to the pitch and ground to facilitate the move. The club played its first match on its return against Isthmian League opponents Clapham on 31 August 1957. Their first game that season at the Oval was on 5 October and they returned to Crystal Palace on 29 March 1958. The club had first call on the pitch but it was available to other clubs when not required. The arrangement with Surrey CCC for the use of the Oval lasted until the 1962/63 season during which the club moved to become a tenant at Dulwich Hamlet FC. Meanwhile the National Sports Centre was being built on the Crystal Palace site although it looks as if the athletics track was the last part of the development and this allowed Corinthian-Casual to retain the use of the Crystal Palace pitch when perhaps there was a clash of fixtures with their landlords or for reserve XI matches. Crystal Palace reserves used the pitch within the re-developed stadium’s athletic track in the early 2000’s.
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Re: CRYSTAL PALACE

Postby ScottishFA » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:39 pm

I should add, there are a couple of cheap second-hand copies of the book on amazon just now - which surprised me as it has been out of print for years.
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Re: CRYSTAL PALACE

Postby LEATHERSTOCKING » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:47 pm

Thank you both for the very interesting posts. I`ve sent off to a book website for the book for just over a pound. Queen`s Park played Corinthians seven times @ the Crystal Palace grounds, the first a 2-1 home win on 26th February 1923 and the last a 4-2 Spiders win on 9th April 1932. In all, Queen`s won 3 & lost 4 on the Sydenham pitch. The clubs` last of 70 meetings was on 2nd January 1936 at Hampden Park. The last two London meetings post Crystal Palace, 1934 & 1935, took place at White Hart Lane where, remarkably, Pilot Officer John Warfield scored all Corinthians` goals in a 7-1 win in the latter game; and it was only 1-0 @ half time!
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Re: CRYSTAL PALACE

Postby bluedragon » Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:05 pm

LEATHERSTOCKING wrote:Pilot Officer John Warfield scored all Corinthians` goals in a 7-1 win in the latter game; and it was only 1-0 @ half time!


John Mortimer “Johnnie” Warfield was born at Parkham in Devon and educated at Buckland School, North Devon. He was an all-round sportsman and was a good cricketer as well as a footballer. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in 1930 and was later given a permanent commission rising to the rank of Air Commodore before retiring in 1961. He was mentioned in despatches in 1942, was awarded an OBE in 1946 and was made CBE in 1949 for service in Malaya. On the back of his seven goals against Queen’s Park he was chosen to captain the Combined Services team that toured South Africa in May/June 1935 and was in the goals there as well. I cannot find him getting so much as a trial for the England Amateur team.

I believe that his son is England Rugby Union International from the mid-1970’s Peter Warfield who I think may have had a commission in the Army. He was born in Waddington, Lincs, in 1951 at the same time JM Warfield was station commander at RAF Waddington. Too much of a coincidence?
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Re: CRYSTAL PALACE

Postby LEATHERSTOCKING » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:53 am

You`re absolutely correct, the Cystal Palace book is an absolute gem and a snip @ £1.48 from an online second hand bookseller. I`d advise everyone to get a copy. Queen`s Park, of course, made an additional appearance @ the Palace - newspaper headline should have read "QUEEN`S GO TO THE PALACE"*, tee hee. Anyway, letting the chortling die down and continuing apart from the 7 games vs. the Corinthians Queen`s also played out a goal-less draw(aet) with Aston Villa on 11th March 1899 for the Dewar Shield also known as the Sheriff of London Shield after it`s doner Thomas Dewar London`s Sheriff in 1897-98. The Palace book`s authors made a slight mistake in stating(page 96) that Queen`s beat the Corinthians in a two legged semi final. There was no semi final, the Shield committee had decided @ a meeting early in February to invite the Spiders & Villa to participate who, after a deal of negotiations over the date and the molifying of opponents due to be met that day(a lucrative fixture vs.3rd LRV for Queen`s and an important league one for Villa on their way to the title) duly turned out before a healthy 12,000 thus boosting the charity funds by a four figure sum.

Two other minor infractions involving Queen`s Park & the Palace - page 136, If Corinthians were in Glasgow on Easter Saturday 1924 they weren`t playing Queen`s who were winning 3-1 at Brockville. The authors must have been working too late on that season because on page 140 tthey have Corinthins beating Queen`s 4-1 twice @ Sydenham. Come on chaps, it was only once!

* That headline was almost exactly used back in the 70`s when I used to go regularly to Selhurst Park at which time they had penchant for signing Scots & Bert Head bought Gerry Queen from Kilmarnock. Great team with John Hughes and Willie Wallace too - beat Manchester Utd. 5-1 & I was there!! but they just couldn`t beat a fellow London club for love or money.
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