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Memory Lane Memories and nostalgia about Crystal Palace F.C

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  #61  
Old 28-12-2020, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by olly cromwell View Post
First of all this has been a very interesting debate that has been made by some very knowledgable individuals and in a very good spirit, so thank you for that

There indeed is a lot of contradictory evidence on the shirt design and colours (if indeed they all wore the same design of shirt, given that other teams didn't) and Alcock may have simply taken the safer option of just naming the colours.

Where exactly the clubs would have got their shirts from is interesting, there is unlikely to be the local sports shop and the kits would have had to have been a mixture from what sports were available namely tennis, cricket, golf etc in the early days until some firms started to specialise in football
A fascinating question, Olly. From studying newspaper archive, there were certainly outfitters advertising football shirts, knickerbockers, socks and other equipment by the 1870s.

In the case of CP1861, the members, from what we have gleaned about them, were quite well off in comparison to the average Victorian man, which is probably why they had the time and resources to be such pioneers in Association Football.

So, without actual evidence, I would guess, being cricketers, they already had flannels and some sort of sports shirt to start with.

Before the Football Association formed in 1863, the earlier codes of football mainly originated from public schools, so again, without evidence, I would hazard a guess that there was already some sort of sports shirt worn specifically for playing at the schools, even if it was originally adapted from an ordinary shirt.

CP1861’s earliest rivals included Forest FC, formed from ex-pupils of Forest School in Walthamstow and indeed some of the earliest CP players studied there too, so it’s a good starting point, without any picture of the CP1861 teams to look at Forest, who the Palace players would have presumably known well.



This picture is dated 1863 (Forest’s first ever match was at Crystal Palace in March 1862) so this is as close as we can get to at least an idea of what was worn, you would be forgiven if you thought they looked like cricketers, which essentially, most, if not all the earliest footballers also were.

Forest were known to have worn a very thin red and white pinstriped shirt, initially. By 1865 - the club became know as ‘Wanderers’ - because the club mainly played games away from their Epping Forest base.

Later records show they played in orange, purple and black shirts, which like CP1861, are presumed to have been hoops.

All we have are contemporary artists sketches and other club’s photos from the era to give us our clues.




Royal Engineers, first ever FA Cup winners in 1872 who beat CP1861 in the Semi Finals.



The other thing to bear in mind when considering the kit is that the descriptions given in the FA Handbook only cover the later seasons of the club’s existence



So there are around 6 to 7 years before 1868 when there is no description, apart from a very brief article which states the club as having Frank Day as secretary (he was the original CPFC secretary) playing in Penge (which we know happened between 1863-1867) and playing in red and black (which we have no further corroboration of).

So the earliest years will remain a tantalising mystery and in the unlikely event that some photographic or definitive journalism appears, we can keep guessing!
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Old 31-12-2020, 12:30 PM
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Interesting snippets from the Norwood News dated November 1960. Palace were drawn at home to Hitchin in the FA Cup 1st Round.

A lot was made of the fact that Palace had also drawn Hitchin in the first ever FA Cup draw of 1871, when Palace drew 0-0 at Hitchin, due to the rules, both teams were given a bye into the next round in 1871 - Palace beat Maidenhead 3-0, but Hitchin got thrashed 0-5 by eventual winners the Royal Engineers.

The tie in 1960 was almost exactly 89 years afterwards - as far as the Norwood News were concerned, this was the return fixture!






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  #63  
Old 03-01-2021, 03:47 PM
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I'm wondering why Alcock would specify "dark blue" and not mention light blue if that was the case. I assume light blue was referenced in other team kits in the handbooks, so it was a recognised colour?

The Crystal Palace Cricket Club colours were black, red and lavender (source: Brian Pearce's cricket book).
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Old 03-01-2021, 08:40 PM
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I'm wondering why Alcock would specify "dark blue" and not mention light blue if that was the case. I assume light blue was referenced in other team kits in the handbooks, so it was a recognised colour?

The Crystal Palace Cricket Club colours were black, red and lavender (source: Brian Pearce's cricket book).
Alcock was dependent on club secretaries for submitting their club's colours and most just mentioned the primary colours. The military academies and regiments seemed to have had the most elaborate uniforms which their secretaries dutifully submitted. The Royal Military Academy, for example, wore black, blue and yellow jerseys and stockings, blue serge knickerbockers and black and blue velvet caps with gold tassels and the Royal Engineers wore jerseys, nightcaps and stockings of blue and red horizontal stripes and dark blue serge knickerbockers (shorts which had to cover the knee).

Light blue was mentioned as a colour on occasions, although rarely, although not always where you would have expected it. For example we know the Cambridge University Association played in light blue although their colours are only listed as broad blue and white stripes, without mentioning that they were light blue.

Crystal Palace's jerseys were only ever listed as blue and white, so we don't know what actual shade of blue it was or how the blue and white was configured; although it was frequently mentioned in Alcock's Football Annual whether a club's colours were configured in hoops, bars or stripes.

Alcock never mentioned hoops, bars or stripes for Palace's colours and he had first hand knowledge of our shirts as he played for Palace in the early 1870's. Bicoloured halves were common in the 19th century (Blackburn Rovers have continued this tradition) and my assumption is that that is how Palace's colours were configured, but the plain fact is we just don't know but no one has offered any logical, reasoned alternative. Finding a photograph of the early amateur team to prove it one way or the other remains a 'Holy Grail'.

Regarding the shade of blue, what we do factually know is that the outside ironwork of the Crystal Palace was painted blue and white so it seems logical, in the absence of any other plausible explanation, that the football team mirrored these colours. The blue and white of the Palace was painted so that the whole building appeared to be made of crystal and contemporary prints of the time show it to have been a sky blue and white.

Brian Pearce's cricket book is a very well researched mine of information; it took him 20 years to research and write. I have not been able to fathom out why the cricket club would have chosen the totally different black red and lavender as its colours as I can see no obvious connection with the Palace.

It's clear that the northern football historians, who dispute that today's Palace can establish a link with the original cricket and football club of 1857/1861 have never read Pearce's book as it provides information that helps prove the link.

The Crystal Palace Club never folded or was disbanded after 1876, as is commonly held, as it can be shown that many of the original footballers were still running the club in the 1880's and playing cricket for the club into the 1890's. The evidence strongly points to the fact that the club stopped playing football, because it was damaging the cricket pitch, and resumed in 1895 when the Crystal Palace Company built England's first national stadium at the Palace and we finally had our own pitch. Ironically, the company built the stadium to take over hosting the F.A. Cup Final, which had been booted out of the Oval for damaging the cricket pitch!

Pearce proves a direct link between the original Crystal Palace Cricket Club, the Crystal Palace Company and W.G. Grace's new London County Cricket Club that was established at the Palace in 1898. He tells us that the London County Cricket Club was administered by an executive committee that was made up of seven of the Crystal Palace Company's directors, four representatives of the Crystal Palace Cricket Club and W.G. Grace himself, as Crystal Palace Sporting Director. So, the company and the cricket club worked together to run the London County club.

But neither the amateur Crystal Palace Football Club nor the amateur London County Cricket Club pulled in the crowds that the Crystal Palace Company wanted, which then led to W.G. Grace, general manager Jesse Cozens and Edmund Goodman setting up today's professional club in 1905.

It is the 'DNA' of the Crystal Palace Company, which owned, managed and was involved in everything that happened in the Crystal Palace, from the day it opened, that provides the common thread that links our club of today with those early amateurs.

Without the Crystal Palace and the Crystal Palace Company there would not have been a Crystal Palace Football Club, amateur or professional, then or now.
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Old 04-01-2021, 02:09 PM
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I've managed to glean some more information which might help with exploring new avenues of research until more concrete evidence becomes available.

We know from the first mention of the CPFC 1861 kit colours in Alcock's 1868 handbook is that Palace colours are "blue and white". As players had to provide their own kit in the early days, it's possible that any style shirt was suitable as long as it was in the club colours. It explains why team photos of the period have players wearing different shirt designs.

I know Alcock played against Palace for Forest FC in 1862 and 1863 and the Wanderers in 1866 and 1868 so would have seen the Palace kit first hand. I'm sure he would have listed the shorts and sock colours if there was a unified set at the time.

A local outfitter may have later provided the team with a set of shirts and one-inch hoops was the design most widely used at the time. However, it is possible the Palace shirt might have been wider hoops, halved or quartered.

Vertical stripes did not become available until the following decade with the invention of a new loom. The Forest FC pic of 1863 has players wearing a combination of different shirts – including stripes – but apparently these are the unique house colours of Harrow School and not present elsewhere.

Apparently, knickerbockers were only available in white or dark/navy blue during this period and "serge" is a tough woollen fabric chosen for its durability. With only the one type of blue available for these, it's likely "dark blue" was just the only blue available and listed as "blue". Whereas the socks had more colour options so were specified as "dark blue".

Light blue – typically known as Cambridge Blue – was described as such as it was a very unusual choice for the period. Alcock wore the Palace shirt on several occasions between 1870-73 yet does not list "light blue" in his handbooks.

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Old 04-01-2021, 03:34 PM
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The earliest advert for football uniforms I have come across is by James Lillywhite, Frowd & Co of Newington Causeway in the 1873 Football Annual. Do you have any other sources or reference points PE?
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Old 04-01-2021, 03:48 PM
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The earliest advert for football uniforms I have come across is by James Lillywhite, Frowd & Co of Newington Causeway in the 1873 Football Annual. Do you have any other sources or reference points PE?
I've only just started looking into this and will let you know if I find further reference points. The Victorian outfitters could be a good route to ascertain colours and fabrics. There might be a Penge or Sydenham business that advertised in the local papers at the time that provides more info.

Re the serge knickerbocker colours, it might explain why England wore dark blue and also white in their first official internationals of the 1870s, with Scotland opting for white.

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Old 05-01-2021, 12:22 AM
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I didn't know that - thanks. Is there anyone on here who actually remembers seeing Palace play in white shirts/black shorts?
I have an old style "rattle" given to me by my uncle who first took me to Selhurst in 1964. Black and white. As I was 9 I have no in depth knowledge.
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Old 05-01-2021, 01:40 PM
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I've only just started looking into this and will let you know if I find further reference points. The Victorian outfitters could be a good route to ascertain colours and fabrics. There might be a Penge or Sydenham business that advertised in the local papers at the time that provides more info.

Re the serge knickerbocker colours, it might explain why England wore dark blue and also white in their first official internationals of the 1870s, with Scotland opting for white.
It's not an area I've really researched but having dug into it a bit more I have come up with a number of names in the early 1870's, most of whom were in London, who were already sports outfitters and who advertised what were called club uniforms or foot-ball costumes - Kent & Lewin of 149, Fenchurch St; William Matlock of 9, Harleyford St, Kennington Oval, who boasted he made the footballs used by the Wanderers; John Lillywhite of Seymour St; John Wisden of Cranbourn St and Edward J. Page of Kennington Park Rd. The only non-London firm was R.Daft of 1, Lester Court Nottingham - Richard Daft was a Nottingham and England professional cricketer and a founder member of Notts County F.C. The 'gold mine' would be if any of these firms' archives survive but I would doubt that very much.
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Old 05-01-2021, 05:18 PM
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I didn't know that - thanks. Is there anyone on here who actually remembers seeing Palace play in white shirts/black shorts?
I started watching Palace in 1961. The shirts were predominantly White with claret and blue across the chest, the shorts were black
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Old 10-01-2021, 11:22 PM
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From the FA minute book in 1863. Rule no.9: "That each club shall forward to the Secretary a statement of its distinguishing colours or costume."

Right, where did FA secretary Ebenezer Cobb Morley keep this info?
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Old 10-01-2021, 11:58 PM
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Charles Alcock’s 'The Book of Rules of the Game of Football' printed in 1871 for the USA audience, read online: To view the link you have to Register or Login

Alcock says: "It is desirable in matches that a uniform dress should be worn by each side, and here the primary colors, such as blue and red, are most useful in rendering the two parties easily distinguishable, and thus preventing the confusion which otherwise ensues.

"A tight fitting woolen jersey is better than a flannel shirt, being less liable to tear, and moreover is warm and comfortable. Knockerbockers, or knee-breeches and long woolen stockings, too, are generally worn, as they allow a freedom to the legs; and, in some cases, in very cold weather, a rough, thick guernsey is not thrown away."

Note American cap colours and the blue shade...
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Old 11-01-2021, 12:16 AM
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Old 11-01-2021, 01:06 AM
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The earliest advert for football uniforms I have come across is by James Lillywhite, Frowd & Co of Newington Causeway in the 1873 Football Annual. Do you have any other sources or reference points PE?
Alcock's 'Football: Our Winter Game' (1874) has outfitter adverts and he also mentions school colours...

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Old 11-01-2021, 01:26 AM
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From the FA minute book in 1863. Rule no.9: "That each club shall forward to the Secretary a statement of its distinguishing colours or costume."
Was that added for Charlton....
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Old 11-01-2021, 01:27 AM
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... "A tight fitting woolen jersey is better than a flannel shirt, being less liable to tear, and moreover is warm and comfortable. Knockerbockers, or knee-breeches and long woolen stockings, too, are generally worn, as they allow a freedom to the legs; and, in some cases, in very cold weather, a rough, thick guernsey is not thrown away."
What... No gloves!
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Old 11-01-2021, 05:26 AM
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Charles Alcock’s 'The Book of Rules of the Game of Football' printed in 1871 for the USA audience, read online: To view the link you have to Register or Login

Alcock says: "It is desirable in matches that a uniform dress should be worn by each side, and here the primary colors, such as blue and red, are most useful in rendering the two parties easily distinguishable, and thus preventing the confusion which otherwise ensues.

"A tight fitting woolen jersey is better than a flannel shirt, being less liable to tear, and moreover is warm and comfortable. Knockerbockers, or knee-breeches and long woolen stockings, too, are generally worn, as they allow a freedom to the legs; and, in some cases, in very cold weather, a rough, thick guernsey is not thrown away."

Note American cap colours and the blue shade...
A great bit of detective work, P.E. and with it you begin to realise how much slower the game must surely have been - no need for VAR then, or even photography during the matches!

All we have are artists impressions, probably drawn in pencil. Here from Alcock’s 1871 book is what I think CPFC1861 v Forest (who later became the Wanderers) would have looked like - Palace in the hoops, Forest in the pinstripes.

Alcock played for both clubs - so we can at least hope he was instructing the artist from personal memory!

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Old 11-01-2021, 09:48 AM
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What is this a drawing of CPS ?

Did Alcock give any explanation with the drawing ?
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Old 11-01-2021, 12:03 PM
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A great bit of detective work, P.E. and with it you begin to realise how much slower the game must surely have been - no need for VAR then, or even photography during the matches!

All we have are artists impressions, probably drawn in pencil. Here from Alcock’s 1871 book is what I think CPFC1861 v Forest (who later became the Wanderers) would have looked like - Palace in the hoops, Forest in the pinstripes.

Alcock played for both clubs - so we can at least hope he was instructing the artist from personal memory!

Unfortunately, there is no caption for this sketching and is probably a more generic illustration of a match. Around this time, someone would take blurry photos from a game then back at the newspaper's office, an artist would use these to create a sketch like this and add in extra details he sees fit.
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Old 11-01-2021, 12:04 PM
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What is this a drawing of CPS ?

Did Alcock give any explanation with the drawing ?
It’s from the link provided by Penge Eagle for the book ‘Our Winter Game’ - by Alcock dated 1874.

There is no description of the picture from what I can see. In reality, it could be any two of hundreds of teams from the period. I just thought the pinstripes certainly matched a photo of Forest FC from 1863 shown earlier in this thread and the hoops match my information of what the CPFC1861 design would have been - but we simply don’t know for sure.

It’s doubtful we can ever solve the mystery, the clues for me all suggest CP1861 played in thin blue and white hoops with dark blue shorts (knickerbockers).

I thought it was fascinating that the cartoonist Jim Mercer in 1960 seemed to have a similar idea to this picture from 1874 - so it’s as good a reference we have without any actual photograph or accurate description of the shirt design.
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