1st September 2014

Sway CC - 84 years ago!

Many thanks to Colin Mantle who has unearthed this photographic gem from the records of Sway FC.

The picture shows the Sway Cricket Club side of circa 1934/5. It is already known that the Club has formed and re-formed several times over the last 140+ years. The Club was definitely playing matches as far back as 1873 and is likely to have played up to around the time of the outbreak of WW1. It was also already known that the Club reformed some time after WW1 and was playing competitive games in the late 30s before taking a break for WW2. Reforming again after WW2 the Club was active in the late 40s and was still playing games at least up to the late 60s. Much more research is needed by yours truly - some trips to the Hampshire Records Office are in the pipeline for the winter.


The people in the photo are as follows:

BR L-R: Mr Arthur Chaffey (b.1882), Corbin, Walt Crouch, Viv Dennett, Charlie Beverly

MR L-R: Les Meaden (1910-1990), Charlie Crouch (b.1897, Hampshire Regiment in WW1)

FR L-R: Reg Woodford (b.1906), Walt Street, Reg Meaden, Master Viney, Harold Broomfield (b.1895)

There are lots if interesting things about the photo and the people in it, not least that Reg Meaden bears a striking resemblance to Chris Straw!

Firstly, close examination shows picture was taken at Pitmore Lane looking approx east north east towards Brockenhurst/Setley. The row of trees in the background is still there with the pavilion located just to the right where it remained until it fell/burnt down in 2005.

As can be seen in the difference between the two pictures is how much the gorse has encroached in recent years (worsening rabbit problems) as the boundary fence was clearly visible in the 1934 photo but much of the north west corner is now a spiky mess.

On examination of the picture with a magnifying glass it becomes obvious that the pic has had the 1930s equivalent of being "photoshopped". Getting all players together for a team photo is always a problem and it seems things have not changed. If you look at the middle row of the photo the two chaps Les Meaden and Chalrie Crouch have clearly been "added in" afterwards as is evidenced by bits of a bloke wearing a jacket the arm of a man wearing a jacket visible in several places.

Another thing that is striking is that for the most players in the team look right hard nuts by comparison with us modern pampered lot. This is not really that surprising given that some of those pictured would have been through the Great War and almost all of them are likely to have had fairly tough physical jobs.

Next we come on to the cap badges....no Sway tower back then, zooming in shows that most of the players were wearing baggy Sway caps with a large "S" on them. The boy is wearing a cap badge that appears to have what looks like a West Ham style castle (anyone know what presumably local school that was?).

Quite a few of those shown were active members of Sway football club. Specifically mention on Sway FC's website as having given long service were Reg Meaden and Len Bootle who we think took the photograph.

We are going to try and find out more about the individuals shown in this photo and as part of this I will email an ex-Sway player from the 1940s who lives in Florida.....watch this space.

If anyone has any snippets of information no matter how small about Sway CC's early history or that of it's players we would love to hear from you. Please email dave@marshall-family.tv