As part of our 125th Anniversary Celebrations, this Saturday and Sunday, (almost to the exact date, 125-years ago!) we welcome back to 'The Shrine' The Clubs first ever opponents.
With one or two exceptions (due to pre-arranged Cup fixtures), over the Weekend, both the Senior and Mini & Junior Sections of Club will host our old friends from Aston Old Edwardians RFC.
For those who may not know the history of The Club, below is a brief look at the 'early years'
In 1883 King Edward VI Camp Hill Grammar School opened in the Digbeth area of Birmingham. Although the school moved to Kings Heath in 1956, the original Victorian building still stands proudly at the junction of the A34 and Birmingham’s busy middle ring road.
During the 1880s a number of Rugby Football matches between the ’School Team and Masters’ and a team of Old Boys took place but it was in 1893 that Camp Hill Old Edwardians formally came into being (pic 'The Boys' of 1893)
The Headmaster of the School, the Reverend Arthur Jamson Smith, was appointed the first President. This tradition continues to the present day , the current Headmaster Martin Garrod, being the Club’s 11th President.
The first shirts were maroon (the Camp Hill School colour) with a diagonal sash of light blue (the Kind Edward’s Foundation colour). The sash was replaced by a horizontal band just before the First World War. In recent times the shirt design had changed a number of times, in common with other clubs, but the original colours have been retained**
The new Club’s first game took place on 14th October 1893 against this Weekends opponents, Aston Old Edwardians (the old boys of King Edward VI School, Aston) at Showell Green Lane, Sparkhill. Camp Hill won the game 13-0 with the first try being scored by 17 year old E H ‘Teddy’ Parker. In that first season, Camp Hill played 16 matches, won 12, drew 2 and lost just 2.
Coincidentally 1893 can also be regarded as the year when modern Rugby Union Football was born. It was in that year that the decision to ban professionalism was taken, leading to the formation of the Rugby Football League in the North of England. In 1893 referees were, for the first time, given the power to blow a whistle to stop the game when a rule was broken. The advantage law was introduced and balls were to be of standard measurements.
For the first time, points were awarded for a try. Previously, scoring a try just gave the scoring team the opportunity to convert the try into a goal (a conversion). Before 1893 a try earned nothing if the goal kick was missed.
**SKULL & CROSSBONES
You may note from the Picture, on the Middle Row (far left) a certain Cecil P. C. Cariss wears a 'jersey' with a Skull & Crossbones insignia.
Cecil Cariss , went on to become a very well-known figure in the Birmingham property business. He set up and ran a family surveyors and estate agents, Cecil Cariss & Sons on Kings Heath High Street.
In that first season, Cariss was 19 years old. He was ‘deputy captain’ of the team and was described by Barry Bowker in his Club history covering 1893-1953 as “a bull like fullback, made redoubtable in appearance by the skull and crossbones (the Queen’s College insignia) on his jersey”.
Queen’s College was situated on Paradise Street in the centre of Birmingham, directly opposite the main entrance to the Town Hall (the building remains there to this day)
We have no definitive evidence that Cecil studied at the College, only the comment made by Barry Bowker, but, as Bowker was a professional historian and a man of great accuracy, we have no reason to doubt this.
The Club has spoken to Cecil Cariss’s grandson Richard, but unfortunately, neither he nor his two brothers can cast any further light on this aspect of their family history.
The link between the Skull & Crossbones and the history of Rugby Football runs very deep. The game was ‘invented’ at Rugby School. In the 19th Century. Each of the major public schools played their own version of football, played to their own rules. The rules laid down at Rugby School went on to become what we now know as ‘Rugby Football’.
The game at Rugby School was played between houses. Most schools still operate a house system but in boarding schools, they are the houses where pupils actually live.
The main house at Rugby School is called ‘School House’ and to this day, their match shirts carry the skull & crossbones insignia.
It would appear that many institutions and individuals used the skull & crossbones to demonstrate their link to the Rugby version of football rather than any other.
As a 'doth of the Cap' to the Skull & Crossbones 'legend', the insignia is now displayed on all Club Match Shirts.
Out of interest, in the year of the Club foundation, the following events also occurred -
- Settlers make a land run for prime land, in the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma!
- Mahatma Gandhi arrives in South Africa, where he lived until 1914!
- The Poet and Soldier, Wilfred Owen was born, as was the Musician, Ivor Novello and the Main Club Chairman, Dave 'Skin' Maiden (last one is a fib!)
- The first British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship held at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club
- Elementary Education (School Attendance) Act leads to raising of school leaving age in England and Wales to eleven!!!
See you at The Weekend
Updated 09:33 - 15 Oct 2018 by Nick Freeman