Thursday 25 July 2019

Help for Ralph Deptford Football Club Bronze Athletic

Hi there, 

I am trying to gather more information on the former Deptford Football Club Bronze Athletic who played there home games on the ground at the end of Yeoman Street off of Plough Road, Deptford. They seem to have become defunct about the  time of the First World War. 
The reason for all this is the action photo I have included. When I tried to get more information on Twitter three separate people suggested the photo could be of Bronze Athletic and one suggested the chimneys in the photo could be the old Deptford Power Station. If it is the DPS the photo could have been taken close by to Bronze Street which may be how the club got their name. I’ll include an accompanying team photo just in case. 
Any help would be so gratefully received. 

Kind regards. 

Ralph Sheridan. 


Charlie said...

I've had a quick rummage. Seems that in the years immediately prior to the First World War they were "one of the strongest amateur teams in the county" according to the Kent & Sussex Courier in January 1913, which also mentions their headquarters was the Merry Cricketers pub, presumably the one that was on Lower Road a stone's throw from Yeoman St.

Another interesting snippet from the same piece reads: "It was stated by a gentleman spectator that the Bronze Firm had spent £300 on an enclosure for their employees."

Doesn't sound like the ground was exactly swanky though: "Imagine, if you can, a level stretch of black mud slush, as black as tar and similar in substance; rain in torrents, the evil-smelling ozone of a factory or gasworks in close vicinity sweeping the ground; 22 players and a referee smothered in mud head to foot, vainly struggling to keep on their legs and continually measuring their length the sloppy substance; a handful of spectators huddled together under some corrugated roofing on either side; the masts and funnels of the boats in the docks in view at one end."

Ah, the beautiful game.

I've found a couple of 1911 references to them playing 'at Woolwich' (and one from the same year mentioned they had 'a deaf and dumb goalie' by the name of English).

Charlie said...

A bit more rummaging reveals that Bronze ('the new Greenwich club') joined the Second Division of the London League in 1909, sharing the Angerstein Athletic ground at Charlton with Deptford Invicta. The two sides met in a London Charity Cup tie on Christmas Day that year with the Kentish Independent noting "this will be a stern struggle, the two sides are local rivals and the Bronze have several old Deptford men playing for them". Invicta won the game 6-1.

Anonymous said...

Hi Charlie, thank you very much, that's a great help. Coincidently I only found out last night that the Manganese Bronze Company were based at St George's Dock and owned acres of land around it which suggests they may have owned the land the footall pitch was on and the factory works and large chimneys behind the fans could be the companies factory works. If only I could identify those chimneys or maybe find a photo of the works showing them.I'd be so pleased to receive further information. Thank you.