Essays on Football in the North-East of England 1880-1930
Chapter 1 ‘From Time Immemorial’: The Alnwick Shrovetide Football Match and the Continual Remaking of Tradition 1828–1890
In the Bailiffgate Museum in Alnwick there is a large volume rather misleadingly entitled Alnwick Shrove Tuesday Football Match Minute Book 1871–1953.2 The title is misleading in two respects. Firstly, the earliest entries date from 1869, not 1871, and secondly the book is not really a ‘minute book’ at all. It is a leather-bound scrapbook of over 200 unnumbered pages, proceeding in strict annual order from 1869, with two or three pages devoted to each year. But each annual entry consists of a miscellany of items. There are indeed individual pages of minutes stuck into the book which record, very briefly and schematically, the proceedings of the annual meeting of the match organising committee, usually held a week or so before the match. These hand-written entries appear to have been taken from an original minute book (or books) dismembered for the scrapbook. In each yearly entry the small, lined, exercise-book sheets of minutes are interleaved with press cuttings and (in later years) with press and other photographs of the match. Altogether the press cuttings ←11 | 12→and the photos take up far more pages in the scrapbook than the minutes themselves.
Nonetheless, whether strictly a ‘minute book’ or not, this document is an invaluable source for the history of Shrovetide football in the Northumberland county town of Alnwick, and I duly spent a number of days studying it in its museum home.
I was surprised, therefore, to find a second copy of the ‘Minute Book’...
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