125+ YEARS OF HISTORY
We are a young, vibrant, and growing club with a long and proud history in hockey.
It is always difficult to write the history of a Club's existence over 100 years, for the obvious reason that 'Records', and many of those who made them, have long since disappeared.
This History is only possible because of the hard work done preparing the Histories for our 50th and 75th Anniversaries by David Archer who did considerable research in producing them.
CHISWICK: 1903 - 1906
The Hockey Club was formed in October 1903, through the efforts of the late Major VR. Hoare and MT, P.A. Baumgartner with a strong following from the Cricket Section.
The officials in the first season were:
President: J.E.K. Studd
Vice Presidents: DM. Hogg; V R. Hoare
Captain 1st.XI: P.A. Baumgartner
Hon. General Sec: C. Wills
The Club used the facilities of the Polytechnic Grounds at Merton Hall, Wimbledon. From small beginnings, the Club rapidly grew and by 1906 was fielding 5 teams.
In 1905 the colours adopted were dark blue and white shirts, with white shorts, which, apart from a short period prior to World War 1 when they were changed to scarlet and green — have stood the test of time.
CHISWICK - 1906-1914
In 1906 the Club moved to Chiswick where it was to remain for the next 90 years, with excellent facilities including 3 high-quality grass pitches, a well-equipped pavilion but no bar, as this was a stipulation imposed by Kynaston Studd, the founder of the Polytechnic Institute.
The Club's first international honour was gained in 1911 when Leslie Eedy played for England. In 1913 the Club gained the honour of having a representative elected to the Committee of the Middlesex County Hockey Association. As far as can be seen the Club has been on that Committee ever since.
In August 1914 the Committee reluctantly closed the Club for the duration of the war.
CHISWICK - 1919 -1939
On Wednesday 10th September 1919, a general meeting was held to re-form the Hockey Section at the start of the first full season after the War, and to elect officers to perform this task. Amongst our new members was the famous athlete H.M. Abrahams who played outside right.
The post-War period was a difficult time for the Club, with only two teams being fielded in 1919. This gradually increased to 7 by 1930/31 with some high quality talent at the club, including no less than eight players in representative hockey. I. MacEwan and J. Sneddon played for Scotland and Hilton, R. Sneddon, O.W Whitby, Oehlers, Osmand and S.G Burrows played for the County or County 'A' sides. In 1924/25 the decision was made to change the club colours to black, white and blue shirts with blue shorts.
In 1931 the Club went to the Easter Festival at Weston-Super-Mare, which was to become our permanent Easter home for over half a century.
CHISWICK - 1939 - 1946
At the Annual General Meeting on April 1939 the Club elected its officers for the coming season. In September, when War was declared, the Club found itself with only 20 members left to play, and a Committee of 4 to run the Club.
Throughout the hostilities the Club had the services of the Hounslow Hockey Club members. These additions, with the help of our own members on leave from the forces, enabled us to run at least one team during the period of 1939 and 1946. Polytechnic was one of the stronger sides during that period with a win ratio of 61%.
CHISWICK - 1946 – 1953 (50th Anniversary)
With the cessation of hostilities in 1945, the Club settled down once again to increase the membership and hence its playing strength. Humphrey Wall was elected as Captain of the First XI. The year 1947 produced one of the smallest number of games played in a season, with seven consecutive games being cancelled from February, owing to prolonged snow in the London area. The Club ran three elevens from the start of the season and four from 9th November.
In 1950/51 we were running 5 sides.
The following season the First Xl had only 22 goals scored against them. A significant feature is that we had David Archer in goal. He had played for Middlesex 'A' the previous season, but now he created a Club record by playing in all seven county games end was awarded his County honours for his performance. The season also saw members playing for County ‘A’ Teams — Tim Wåll and ‘Mac’ McEntegart (Middlesex) and Bob Baxter (Essex). In the following year Sydney Burrows gained a place in the Norfolk side while Bob gained a full Cap for Essex. The club scored twice as many goals as they conceded and our success rate was 65%.
Chiswick – 1953 – 1963 (Diamond Jubilee)
The ten years leading up to the Jubilee celebrations were probably some of the most successful in the Club's history.
The new era started in October 1953 with various events celebrating the Club's 50th Anniversary. On 3rd October the First XI played a strong H.A. XI and won by 3 goals to 1, despite the fact that the H.A, had 2 Internationals and 8 County players. It is reported that our oldest member, E Gambles, in his eighty-sixth year, cycled from Ealing to be part of the fun.
In September 1956 David Archer was selected for the Great Britain Team at the Melbourne Olympics and played each match with GB finishing fourth.
In February 1962 the Club learned with regret that John Craven, who had played with distinction for the top two teams, had died in Switzerland. His wife, Mary, presented the Club with a perpetual Trophy in his memory, an award which is still today presented to the person who has done most for the Club over the previous year.
CHISWICK – 1963 – 1978
This period commenced with a new Patron in Quintin Hogg, who gave his name to our former home, the current Richmond Hockey Club.
As part of the celebrations for the Centenary of the Polytechnic Institute in November 1964. the Club selected to play against Hounslow H.C. who did so much, with Polytechnic H.C to keep hockey alive during the war.
In February 1965 the Club started playing evening hockey at Crystal Palace Sports Centre, led by Eric Harverson who was eventually awarded the Torch Trophy by H R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1974 for his long and dedicated services to hockey.
The 1965/66 season saw the First XI going from strength to strength, with a success rate of 70%, under the captaincy of ‘Rad’ Radford, who in 2003 was still turning out for the Veterans Team. In the 1976/77 season we acquired excellent indoor and all-weather outdoor facilities at Cranford Community Centre.
1972 saw the innovation of League Hockey started by the H.A. This was to benefit hockey at the top level a great deal, but it played havoc with the traditional Club Fixtures that we had enjoyed for so long. Later even the Home fixtures were played elsewhere as the First XI was required to play on astroturf pitches which we did not have. The so-called 'Club spirit' took a nosedive. Nowadays, when we have league hockey being played at all levels, we wonder what all the fuss was about.
In 1972, John Riley, a teacher at a local School, Elliott School, was appointed Coach and started mid-week training, enjoyed by all levels at the Club. His involvement had its effect on our results in a very good season 1972/73. He also encouraged boys at his school to take up hockey and we were able to field a Colts Team for the first time ever. The records for the 11 years show a 65% success rate.
THE NEXT 25 YEARS – 1978 - 2003
The name of the Club was changed in 1990, to remove the suggestion that it was a Students' Club and to give the Club a sense of locality. It was changed to “PHC Chiswick” — derived from Polytechnic H.C.
The old-stagers who compiled this history now exist in the form of the Windsor Vets Team. They have a reputation for being one of the most sociable Vets sides and their half-time drinks are renowned on the circuit.
Amalgamation with Ladies
Partly from the initiative of the Hockey Association and partly from pure common sense, the Men's and the Ladies' Sections were amalgamated on 1st April 1996. The first Chairperson was Jo Dusty' Miller and the two Club Captains were Gurinder Sumra and Nina Hamilton respectively. The opportunity was also taken at the same time to re-write the Constitution and Rules — a task undertaken by Roy Furness and Simon Hennell.
Merger with Chiswick Ladies H.C.
In the summer of 2002 the Club amalgamated with Chiswick Ladies H.C, principally to improve the standard of the Club's Ladies Section.
In the 1980s the Death Knell to grass hockey was sounded, partly because of the League structure, which eventually decreed the surface to play on, and partly because of the need to have a reserve pitch to use in bad weather. It started with the First XI, but was gradually extended. We got in at the beginning when Cranford Community Centre constructed Redgra pitches and we had the use of one for our Saturday matches and for evening training once a week. Later still, we moved our League games to the Astro pitches at Feltham.
This meant that more and more Teams were playing ‘Away' every week and we rarely saw our own Club at Hartington Road, Chiswick, In the end the Vets were the only Men's Team that played at Chiswick.
Mainly due to the intransigence of the University of Westminster (the new name for the Polytechnic of Central London), both in putting at risk the traditional links we had with the Institute, and their inability to provide an Astro pitch at Chiswick, it was decided that we should find a new home. Our President, Roy Furness came to the rescue and negotiated with the use of Cranford Community Centre including the exclusive use of a room that we could treat as a Clubhouse. Accordingly, we moved to Cranford in September 1998.
The Club was in the forefront when the concept of Regional Leagues came into being. It started with the First XI in the MBBO League and after mixed successes, it eventually achieved promotion to the Second Division of the South Premier League at the end of the 2002/03 season, and again in 2018/19 under Nick Giles, and Captained by Mitch Barrack.
Leagues for other levels gradually came into being and we now have 6 teams at various levels of the Leagues. The latest entry, before 2019, into the League system was in 2001/02 when Peter Crowcroft took the Sixth XI into the County League, however we’ve now re-started that 6th XI in the London League.
In 2001/02 Chris Hovington joined from Brooklands as a Coach and the Team missed promotion by only one point. The following season (under Gavin Adair) it was promoted to the South Premier League for the first time, a level we have just achieved again in 2018/19. In 2002/03 the Second, Third and Fourth XI's joined the Pizza Express London League.
The Club has always entered the knock-Out Competition run by the County. It never won the Cup, except back in the 1970/71 season, but it was a faithful supporter of the event.
It also entered the Hockey Association Cup and Trophy Competitions The latter was designed for Clubs not in the National League and it was in this Cup, in 1992, under the Captaincy of Stuart Wright, that the Club got to the final only to lose narrowly to Sheffield Bankers (0-2). 2019 saw a reunion of that team against the current Chiswick vets and the Windsor Vets.