Vol 12.13 The Blair Cup

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Vol 12.13 The Blair Cup

Post by Les1949 »

This article was in the postponed Eastbourne Borough game.


Things you may not know, or didn’t know you knew!

A Charity Cup Competition between the two World Wars

I decided that for this article I would look back to the early days of Hampton FC and, in particular, the Blair Charity Cup.

Now, the thing about researching Local (and Family) History is that it is quite easy so spend hours – if not days – in fruitless research until you are ready to almost give up. Fortunately for my sanity, Lesley, always has some very good advice – if it’s not working CHANGE something. All will become clear very shortly.

The Blair Charity Cup is another competition that features quite often in Hampton’s history. The Blair Cup was donated by Mr R D Blair after WW1 to be competed for by clubs in the local area. The Blair Cup competition was intended to raise funds for charitable purposes. As far as we know, the competition did not re-appear after WW2. As Tony mentioned in Vol 1 of the club history the Blair Cu, in its time, was a very popular competition and served as a way to gain local ‘bragging rights’. Being a local ‘informal’ competition has its problems as records are somewhat sparse.

George Marlow of Hampton Court Place FC was Chairman of the Cup Committee, whilst Bert Bowell was Secretary – both involved, at some time, in the founding of Hampton FC.

Again, referring to Tony’s research, in the first year, 1919, various clubs entered, amongst them were Hampton Court Palace and Hampton Nursery Workers. In April 1921 (at Beveree!), Hampton Court Palace beat the Nursery Workers 4-0 in front of an estimated crowd of 800. £20 was raised for charity, equivalent to approximately £1,000 today.

Hampton made the 1924/25 Final losing 4-1 to Old Hamptonians; 1927/28 a 6-0 loss against Hanworth; 1929/30 saw a first win, 4-1 against Old Hamptonians; 1930/31, 2-1 over Metropolitan Water Board, in front of a crowd rumoured to be 1,000; 1931/32, Old Hamptonians were beaten 8-0; 1932/33 an appearance in the final, but no info; 1938/39, a 5-1 win over Hanworth Casuals. Quite possibly the last ever final in the competition. As can be seen it was a genuinely local competition, fitted in with all the league and other cup commitments.

So, who was Mr R D Blair, who originally donated the trophy? Well, that was the problem that I was faced with. R D Blair did not appear to exist. The nearest possibility was a Sir Reginald Blair, who was MP for Harrow after WW1, but he did not seem to have any link with this area. However, reversing the initials made all the difference.

In 1911, Duncan Ramsey Blair, who originally hailed from Scotland, was living in Hampton. Described as a Financier, Blair lived in The Cottage, Thames Street. Now, that just happens to be opposite where the first Hampton FC President, Thomas Foster Knowles lived. Just too much of a coincidence, it would be improbable that Blair and Knowles (a successful Banker and Businessman) would not be moving in the same circles. One thing that the new football club got right was to bring together the great and the good in the local area to get Hampton FC off to a good start. So, I think it is a reasonable assertion to say that D R Blair donated the trophy.

Only two other mentions of Blair have surfaced, one in 1911 when he was involved in a law case involving an attempt to defraud him. The second after he had moved to Amersham. Apparently, he and the Railway Companies got into trouble when cattle were moved from Oban during a Foot & Mouth outbreak!

Sadly, no photo of him or the Blair Cup can be found. Duncan Blair passed away in 1950.

The Old Historian
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