The Early Days
Woolwich Polytechnic was formed in 1890 as a craft and commercial institute that also fostered a number of recreational clubs and activities. A Woolwich Polytechnic Old Boys Association existed prior to the First World War but was in abeyance during the War as many of its members joined the forces and many failed to return.
The Association was reformed in 1920 and meetings and dances took place at the Poly or at the Town Hall. Community spirit being much to the fore in those days, chess, debating, drama, Ping-pong (sic), swimming and tennis featured as well as football and cricket. Even then the fortunes of the various clubs waxed and waned.
The New School
A secondary school came into being alongside the Polytechnic. This School split in 1928 when Woolwich County School was built on a green field site at Red Lion Lane, Shooters Hill with a sports ground while a Secondary School continued in Woolwich. The re-named Woolwich County School Old Boys Association proceeded to recruit those former Woolwich Poly boys who were leaving the County School on completion of their studies.
A sports ground was also created at Footscray Road, New Eltham with a small oil lit changing hut and with the Old Boys Association having an option to purchase it for £1000. The new school played rugby so soccer became less of a draw leading ultimately to the demise of that section and its replacement by rugby. Meetings and activities now took place in the new School gym or games room but despite regular dances and occasional public plays etc money remained tight.
A dedicated band of stalwarts on the committee handled all the usual club business and some also supplemented the groundsman's work with their own labour. In March 1935 the School became Shooters Hill School - a Grammar School - and the club became the Old Shootershillian Association. The changing hut fell into disrepair and in 1938 the LCC built a more substantial pavilion, with hot water and lighting but no telephone : this lasted until 1988 when it burnt down.
The Clubhouse Era
The advent of the Second World War in September 1939 meant that little sport was played from 1940 to 1945. As members returned from the forces activities restarted and a War Memorial Fund started with the aim of purchasing a clubhouse and ground. The first tangible result was the purchase of a house at 72 Footscray Road early in 1949 which was turned into a clubhouse including a much needed bar.
Characters appear to be less in evidence these days. After the War there were those who sported a military air and moustaches such as J J Upfold and Les Done. The bubbly Don MacDonald and his wife Eileen were the drivers behind Annual Dinners in the 1960's.
One who had been active as a Committee man throughout was Wilf Bailey who became a long serving and distinguished Chairman in 1954. Among later tireless workers on behalf of the club were Dennis Frampton, Brian Amor, Geoff Sullivan, Brian Kennett and Andy Harrison. An extension was added to the clubhouse in the 1970's and became the bar and a venue for table tennis and club dinners. The School had changed to a comprehensive and we became Shooters Hill and Eaglesfield Old Boys Association.
The various GLC maintained grounds at Footscray Road fell into disrepair in the early 1990's making it essential to acquire our own ground and by the efforts particularly of the then Chairman Dennis Frampton we acquired Mayday Gardens on a long lease in 1992 and set about improving the pavilion. Now an open club, social membership became an important part of our activities.
In 1999 Metrogas C C who had previously played at New Eltham took over the cricket mantle and continued the tradition of playing in the North Kent League - they became Shooters Hill C C (2001). Today rugby supports three to four sides who play in Kent League 2 as Shooters Hill RFC.