99 – The Originals

Kicking off this feature I thought it might be good to dip into the club official history (and yes we have a proper book about it written by Jimmy Lickorish,) to explore some little known facts from our archive.

Although we plan to dot back and forth through history, surfing it’s waves, ebbs and flows with scant regard for a linear chronology – I did think we should start at the very beginning, which as Julie Andrews reminds is, is a very good place to start…

Perhaps suitably enough for a club who has to this day teams named after drinking  vessels- Southgate Hockey Club first meeting took place in a pub. The Cherry Tree Public House was the location and in a bleak October afternoon in 1886, 20 early hockey enthusiasts showed up to create the club that we know and love today.

The Cherry Tree (now called ye olde Cherry Tree) is still a pub today and its walls can probably still remember the undoubtedly raucous scenes as the club was sworn into existence by upstanding forward thinking members of the local community. Southgate clearly needed hockey and these chaps decided to bring it.

Here are the names of those originals:

A L Ford, W J Phillips, W A Burke, G & J Newman, H Goodwin, B & P Miles, I F Saunders, F P Francis, C Preston, E P Sugden, C Warner, R Davies, R Faithfull, R T Vivian, W B Brown, G A White, P F White, A E White

In terms of the opposition- Wimbledon Hockey club can technically be called our oldest rivals along with Ealing Hockey club who formed our only two opponents in that very first season. Wimbeldon were subsequently joined by Surbiton, Teddington and Molesey and whilst Molesey have ceased to exist- amazingly Surbiton and Teddington remain on our fixtures list and have done so almost without interruption for nearly 135 years.

A long way from the giddy delights of our new Trent Park home, Southgate Hockey was originally played in the north east corner of Broomfield Park which is on the road from Palmers Green to Southgate with a simple builders hut acting as our first pavilion. The very first changing rooms were the pub toilets of the Cock Inn some 15 minutes walk to the playing fields. This arrangement was far from popular with Southgate early It was a lovely place full of sanded floors and spittoons. Perfect for post match drinking. 

In the 1889/1890 the first official league table was produced with Southgate cementing their place in the hockey hierarchy with a 4th place finish (alas behind Teddington). 

And the rest as they say is history