Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Come on the 'Stutes!!!!

I'm not not a big fan of football, occasionally it's diplomatic to 'support' Liverpool because I'm married to a Liverpudlian, apart from that I rarely watch a match on TV. BUT had I not been behind my stall at the Saffron Walden Arts Fair yesterday, I would have been watching 'THE MATCH' on the telly yesterday afternoon. I'm talking about the FA Cup second round match between Histon FC and Leeds United. If you were around in the 1970s and took a vague interest in sport you will know the mighty Leeds United - not quite what they were but still a force to be reckoned with. But Histon . . . "who? what? where?" you are probably asking, is a village just west of Cambridge with a football team which has been climbing up through the lower rungs of the English football league tables and is riding on a wave of local pride.

A phone call to a neighbouring stallholder spread the news round Saffron Walden Town Hall like wildfire - Histon 1 - Leeds 0. Smiles all round and fists punched the air, we forgot that we were a bit chilly and that punters had dwindled during the usual lunchtime lull. Well done the 'Stutes (short for Histon Institute) this was the most exciting day in Histon's history since Mr Chivers opened his jam factory. I loved the poetic match report in The Times today. The village can keep the flags up alongside the tinsel and Christmas lights – the next round is also at home against Swansea City in the new year.

So why do I support Histon ? . . .

This is a picture of the Histon Branch of the Co-op in about 1930. The man on the far right wearing a long white apron is the grocery manager Kitchener Hart, my paternal grandfather, he set up home in Histon after he married. The shop looks fabulous - look at the window displays!

These rather serious portraits were probably taken just after his engagement to my Grandma. I wonder what the badge is that he's wearing? Sadly Kitchener died aged only 35 from infection after appendicitis. My Grandma never remarried; her neice still lives in Histon.

Postscript: After a few minutes searching on the web I found this medal (above right) on the Red Cross website, it looks very similar to the one Kitchener is wearing in the photo (above left). The discription reads:

British red cross society
County/Branch badge

Instituted: 1911
Discontinued: 1956

These badges were awarded to officers and members of any Branches of the British Red Cross or its voluntary aid detachments (including Overseas Branches) while a connection with the Branch was maintained.

The badges are worn on the left side with either uniform or civilian dress.

There is more about the work of the 'Voluntary Aid Detachments' or VADS here.


  1. We watched the match live on the telly it was just like being back in the seventies - no high tech TV pictures just lots of blurry raindrops on the camera lens.
    Your family history photographs are so fascinating it proves that shops are not what they used to be. It is sad that Kitchener died so young from a simple thing as appendicectomy.
    It was good to visit your stall on saturday - I can't wait to decorate my tree! Hope you had some good sales despite it being such a cold and miserable weekend.

  2. Hi Rhiannon - great to see you at the Arts Fair. I saw a bit of the match on the evening local TV sports news. It was like watching a mud fight in a power shower!


  3. Yes what a great match! something very special in watching 'giant-killers' in action. Do you think that badge might be red cross?

  4. It was lovely to see you yesterday - my husband came away very impressed by the high quality of everyone's work, while I just said 'But of course!!'

    Fascinating glimpse into your family history - and it does make me feel very lucky to be alive now rather than then!

  5. Hi Matron - Well spotted! It looks as if it is a Red Cross Society County Badge. Isn't it amazing what you can find out on the web!

    Hi Dottycookie - good to see you on Sunday! And good that we impressed your OH.
    You're right, you had to tough and lucky to survive what we consider quite minor illnesses.


  6. Just stumbled on your blog, great stuff, crammed with lots of wonderful images and muse, I love the old photo of your paternal grandfather in front of the shop, Good blog keep it going, oh finished my tea back to work ho hum.


  7. Love the shop photo - there's a fully-operational shop just like it in the Beamish Museum, Co Durham, well worth a visit.

    It's as good a reason as I can think of to support a football team ;)


  8. What a fantastic post - so fascinating. I love an underdog story and the family connection makes it, well, one of the best reads I've had in ages (a top antidote to chic lit).

  9. Ah, the magic of the cup! We sat and watched most of it - probably the first time Jon's got me to sit through a football match... Your stall looked great!

  10. Welcome to PPPs James! Some of the the cottages you've painted look very familiar :-)

    Hi Joanna - I would love to visit the Beamish Museum.

    Hi Silverpebble - once you start delving family stories are far better than fiction!

    Thank you Sarah & Jon - hope you'll be supporting the 'Stutes in the next round!



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