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Old Park wartime workers and their silverware

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 20, 2014

By Gavin Jones

Old Park Works football team, with James Butler at left with towel

Old Park Works football team, with James Butler at left with towel

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THIS photograph sports a few wounds, but considering it's almost a hundred years old now, and has spent much of that time tightly rolled up, it's not in bad shape.

It was loaned to us by Kathryn Williams of Brewood in Staffordshire, and was taken, as the board in the centre of the image shows, at the Old Park Works in Wednesbury in 1917/18. The works football team competed in the Birmingham Suburban League and Wednesbury Charity Cup, and were winners of both, the trophies proudly displayed in front of the team.

The picture originally belonged to Kathryn's grandfather James Butler of Darlaston, who is the man on the left hand side with a towel draped over one shoulder. He would presumably have been the team's trainer or coach, and the team were so successful it seems a good proportion of the management had turned up for the team portrait to bask in their glory. In fact they outnumber the players by quite a stretch.

The First World War was still being fought in 1917 and a for most of the following year, so these men must have been in reserved occupations. The Old Park Works being a large concern producing metal, they would surely have been supplying the military.

If you can tell us anything more about this team, please write in to us at the usual address, give us a call on 01384 567678, or send an email to gjones@blackcountry bugle.co.uk.

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