Harrow’s Sporting Communities

Headstone Manor and Museum celebrated National Sporting Heritage Day through a series of online blogs, the release of new catalogue records, and the launch of a pop-up exhibition display at Harrow Leisure Centre. This activity was part of wider project of digitisation and collections management focusing on Harrow’s industrial heritage to uncover untold stories about sports, through the working class communities, both men and women, that once worked at Kodak, and Hamiltons & Co.

Hamilton & Co Football Club, 1920. Courtesy of Headstone Manor & Museum

“Sports have always held a significant place in human culture and serve as a powerful means of uniting communities. Through my time volunteering for this project, I have found it enthralling to witness how tightly knit communities were formed, largely owing to their sports amenities, teams, and events. The focal points of our exploration were the Hamilton’s Brushes and Kodak factories, and it was a delightful experience piecing together a picture of the interconnectedness of these communities through photographs, leaflets, and bulletins.

Kodak Netball Team, 1951. Courtesy of Headstone Manor & Museum

Each item had its own story to tell, yet I found myself particularly drawn to the bulletins – a treasure trove of photographs and accounts of events where sporting triumphs were showcased alongside other community news like wedding announcements. This aspect highlighted a profound sense of camaraderie and unity among the Kodak factory workers, where accomplishments and victories were shared with the entire collective. Moreover, major sporting events were promoted weeks in advance through dedicated advertisements, emphasising the anticipation and involvement of the entire community in these activities.

Pop up display at Harrow Leisure Centre. Courtesy of Headstone Manor & Museum

Looking back on this volunteering experience, I am excited by the realisation that the sporting history of two factories that no longer stand in Harrow continues to be recounted and remembered through projects like this one. It is gratifying to have played a part in ensuring these historical narratives are shared, and to take part in remembering history.”

Liza scanning archives at Headstone Manor & Museum

This post has been written by Liza Yousf, who volunteered with the Collections Team at Headstone Manor & Museum in connection with the Sporting Heritage Grant funded by Sporting Heritage and Microform Ltd.

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