Mostly Fulham: 1909

Last updated: April 2008



First: old age pensions; colour cine film shown (in London); flight across the English Channel (Louis Blériot, in 40 minutes). Founded/opened: Selfridges Oxford Street; Victoria and Albert Museum; MI5 (though it was a secret, of course!).  The (Conservative dominated) House of Lords refused to pass the Liberal Government’s budget, precipitating a constitutional crisis that lasted over a year. 

By Fri 6 Jan 1909 Fulham FC had signed forward Jimmy Sharp from Glasgow Rangers.  Henry Norris made clear one of the reasons for signing such a high-profile player ws to increase crowds at Craven Cottage.

Fri 15 January 1909 an article by Henry Norris was published in West London and Fulham Times; meaning that with Football Chat he had two platforms for his views that week.

Sat 16 January 1909 there was a particularly low crowd for the FA Cup tie Carlisle 1 Fulham 4, played at Craven Cottage at Carlisle’s request.  Chelsea were playing at home at exactly the same time.

Mon 25 January 1909 the England trial match North v South was played at Craven Cottage; but it went ahead despite thick fog and only 12000 turned up.

During January 1909 the FA was canvassing its members about bringing in a transfer deadline.  On Wed 27 January 1909 in his column in Football Chat Henry Norris expressed the same views that he held in the 1920s - that transfers of players should not take place between August and May.

Fri 5 February 1909 Henry Norris was almost certainly present at a meeting of FL club representatives called by its President, J J Bentley.  The meeting voted to ask the FA to abandon all its restrictions on players’ wages but Norris said later that he wasn’t the only one to be “disgusted” at the two-facedness of some of the representatives there.

Wed 10 February 1909 Henry Norris’ column in Football Chat caused a furore by predicting the collapse of the FA if at the AGM the full membership didn’t do what the FL clubs wanted about wages.  In the issue of Wed 17 February 1909 editor J J Bentley had to remind his readers that all the paper’s writers had the right to express their personal views.

Mon 8 March 1909 the FA withdrew its initial recognition of the Players’ Union after the PU had given several players legal advice and support to take their clubs to court.

During February and March 1909 the English football community again discussed the amalgamation of the FL and the Southern League: QPR FC had put forward a particular set of plans for this.  In Football Chat on Wed 10 March 1909 Henry Norris reported his opposition to QPR’s plan; he also said it wasn’t popular enough for any action to result.  In this column Henry Norris congratulated Northampton Town on (already) having won the Southern League Division One championship; and he made first mention by name of the club’s new manager - Herbert Chapman.

On Wed 10 March 1909 Henry Norris was at the Criterion Restaurant in Piccadilly where he was installed as the Worshipful Master of Kent Lodge number 15 for the second time, to serve in the post until March 1910.  Doing a second year as Master of a freemasons’ lodge was unusual; but Kent Lodge number 15 had suffered a decline in membership during the past two or three years. 

Thur 11 March 1909 Henry Norris was surprised to receive a letter from the Players’ Union telling him that he was no longer a President of the Union; since accepting their offer of the post, he hadn’t heard from them at all.

Wed 31 March 1909 after a series of particularly inept displays, Fulham’s players were barracked by their own supporters; the match result was Fulham 3 Burnley 0.

Thurs 1 April 1909 the (army organised) Cavalry Cup Final was played at Craven Cottage: 10th Hussars 0 21st Lancers 2.  Henry Norris’ wife Edith presented the prizes.

Sat 3 April 1909 the directors of Fulham FC, led by William Hall as chairman, entertained a number of football notables to lunch at the club.  Then they all watched the Boat Race from the Craven Cottage ground before the FA officials went off to Crystal Palace to see England 2 Scotland 0.  I presume Henry Norris stayed at Craven Cottage to see Fulham 2 Barnsley 2.

Probably Mon 5 April 1909 at an informal meeting of FL club representatives agreement was reached in principle for the FL to amalgamate with the Southern League - an idea Henry Norris was particularly keen on. 

Wed 7 April 1909 discussing players’ wages in Football Chat Henry Norris made it quite clear that his support for the abolition of restrictions on wages was because it would enable clubs to force most players’ wages DOWN.

Good Friday, 9 April 1909 Fulham FC fielded the reserves in Glossop 0 Fulham 0; they were later fined £50 by the FL for it.  And the rest given the first team didn’t work: on Sat 10 April 1909 it was Spurs 1 Fulham 0.  Henry Norris may not have seen either fixture: he was away on holiday over Easter.

By Fri 16 April 1909 West London and Fulham Times reported that Fulham FC’s manager, Harry Bradshaw, had resigned; no reasons were given.

Sat 17 April 1909 the match-day programme for Fulham 0 Hull City 3 confirmed that Harry Bradshaw would be leaving the club, and said that Phil Kelso was the man the directors wanted to replace him.

Sat 24 April 1909 Derby County 2 Fulham 1 was the last match of season 1908/09.  Fulham ended 10th in Football League Division Two; in their first FL Division Two season Spurs were 2nd and went straight up into FL Division One.

By Wed 28 April 1909 Phil Kelso had accepted the job of manager of Fulham FC; Henry Norris announced the appointment in his last column in Football Chat before it shut down - supposedly for the close season but in fact the paper was never published again.

Fri 30 April 1909 a meeting of the full FL membership, at the Midland Hotel Manchester, decided AGAINST amalgamation with the Southern League; and a national league was not formed until after World War 1.

Sat 1 May 1909 a game was played at Craven Cottage which the match-day programme called net ball (sic) but which from its description sounds more like rugby.  A club to play this game had been founded at Fulham FC with Henry Norris’ brother John Edward as contact.  Nothing more was heard of it so I guess the new sport failed to excite the public.  This was the first of the varied attempts made by Fulham to increase close season revenue by holding other events at Craven Cottage; but I don’t know whose idea it was.

Mon 3 May 1909 an ultimatum issued by the FA to members of the Players Union: to abide by all its rules or be suspended (and thus unable to play for any member club) provoked a players’ strike which was called off just before season 1909/10 began.

Tue 8 June 1909 AGM of FL, followed as usual by dinner at the Holborn Restaurant.  Henry Norris isn’t mentioned in accounts of the meeting and it may have been William Hall, as chairman, who attended it.

Eve Tue 29 June 1909 was the AGM of Fulham Football and Athletic Company Ltd.  At the end of its second season in the Football League the club had made a loss; it didn’t pay a dividend to shareholders.  Henry Norris had to field some awkward questions from the floor about the quality of players bought during season 1908/09, and the lack of new players so far this close season.

During July 1909 the sports paper Football Chat went into voluntary liquidation.  The title was bought for £100 and incorporated into Sport Set.  As I have not found any records of the company Henry Norris had shares in, I don’t know what his losses were on the Football Chat venture. 

Fri 27 August 1909 Henry Norris’ Casual Notes column began its run in West London and Fulham Times after its transfer from the defunct Football Chat.  Perhaps I should say here that Henry Norris made it clear several times that he was never paid for any of his football writing.

Wed 1 September 1909 on the opening day of football season 1909/10 Henry Norris was at Stamford Bridge for FL Division One: Chelsea 2 Notts County 2.

Thur 16 September 1909 to Mon 20 September 1909 Henry Norris missed several fixtures, confined to his bed with a bad cold.  But by Sat 25 September 1909 he was well enough to be in York doing some transfer business on Fulham FC’s behalf. 

Fri 1 October 1909 Henry Norris went to Manchester with the Fulham squad and stayed over for two away games: Oldham Athletic 0 Fulham 1 on Sat 2 October 1909 and Blackpool 1 Fulham 1 on Mon 4 October 1909.

During week commencing Mon 4 October 1909 the Municipal Reform Party in Fulham - previously known as the Moderates - chose its candidates for the local elections due in November.   Henry Norris and his friend George Peachey were both selected to stand again; and William Allen was selected to stand in Sand’s End (like Norris) - he was a candidate for the first time.  Henry Norris was chosen to be mayor if the elections resulted in a Municipal Reform majority in Fulham.  Rumours were going around that Norris was going to stand in Fulham as a Conservative candidate in the next General Election; in West London and Fulham Times on Fri 8 October 1909 Norris denied these.

Wed 13 October 1909 Henry Norris’ brother John Edward was initiated as a member of Kent Lodge number 15.  He was still a member in the late 1930s.

Fri 15 October 1909 in his Casual Notes column in West London and Fulham Times Henry Norris mentioned in passing that Woolwich Arsenal FC were bottom of FL Division One.

Sat 16 October 1909 the season wasn’t going well for Fulham FC either: Fulham 3 Bradford Park Avenue 1 was their first home win in season 1909/10.

3pm Sat 30 October 1909 Henry Norris was with Edith when she opened the charity bazaar at Christ Church parish hall, Studdridge Street, Fulham, making her first public speech.  So he missed seeing Fulham 5 Leeds City 1.

Mon 1 November 1909 was the date of the local elections.  In Fulham the Municipal Reform party held onto power, on a princely 30% of the vote; Henry Norris and George Peachey were re-elected, William Allen was elected.  Norris was present at the vote counting session at Fulham Town Hall, which ended at just past midnight on Tues 2 November 1909 - the moment he knew for certain he’d be Mayor of Fulham next time.

Tue 2 November 1909 the FA’s long dispute with the Players’ Union was finally resolved when the PU renounced the right to strike.  Giving up that right took away all the PU’s power, and membership declined so that it had to be re-founded after World War 1.

Eve Tue 9 November 1909 Henry Norris was formally sworn in as Mayor of Fulham, a post he would hold without interruption until 8 November 1919.  Immediately after his election, he was approached by a deputation of local unemployed men; he agreed to hear their arguments the following morning.  After the ceremony, all the councillors sat down to dinner in Fulham Town Hall; their wives also attended, including Edith in her first appearance as Mayoress, and John Edward and Ada Norris.

Wed 10 November 1909 Henry Norris began the daily business of being mayor with the promised meeting with the unemployed group.  Either at this meeting or at the confrontation at Allen and Norris’ office (see below) Norris had an exchange with a man called Oakley who claimed to speak for all the unemployed with him, only to find that Oakley’s leadership of the group was disputed.  He banned the group from meetings of the Council as it had no agreed leader.


A quick note on wider issues: Henry Norris was Mayor of Fulham at a time of great social, political and industrial unrest, and great economic uncertainty: it was appropriate that his stint in charge of the Borough should begin with a brush with the unemployed.  In 1909 Britain was coming to the end of one of those busts in the economy that follow a boom.  Unemployment was high and until 1911 there was no unemployment benefit.  The Conservative Party’s success in the local elections was therefore on the back of economic difficulties and it’s even possible they chose Norris as their mayor because he was not likely to be intimidated by the demands of the Fulham unemployed for the local authority to do something to help them. 


Being Mayor HUGELY increased the social engagements of both Henry Norris and Edith: in addition to those functions he attended as Mayor of Fulham, there was a whole new set of functions to which all mayors, or all mayors of London boroughs, were invited.  Mayors did not sit on any of their borough’s standing committees, but as mayor they served as their borough’s representative on many charitable trusts and other local associations.  As Mayor of Fulham, Henry Norris now chaired all of the Council’s full meetings: these took place on Wednesdays at 7pm each fortnight; in his ten years in office, Henry Norris missed only a handful of these.


Sat 20 November 1909 I think Henry Norris must have attended the Reserve game (in the South Eastern League) Fulham FC 0 Brighton and Hove Albion 1 because he later admitted the match was a dismal spectacle and Fulham had deserved to lose.

7pm Wed 24 November 1909 meeting of the London Borough of Fulham was held amidst catcalling and booing from 100 unemployed in the public gallery at Fulham Town Hall.  As Mayor it was Henry Norris’ job to do something, and he started by sending the Borough’s mace bearer to throw them out.  They wouldn’t go, however, and after a few minutes of trying to conduct business in all the noise, the councillors left the main chamber and finished their meeting in one of the offices.

Morning Thur 25 November 1909 Henry Norris was confronted at Allen and Norris’ office on Wandsworth Bridge Road by a small group of unemployed wanting him to set up a work-creation scheme in the borough - something he told them to their faces that he had no intention of doing (he was a Tory, after all - see my file HENRY NORRIS AND POLITICS).  He also made it clear that if necessary he would take violent action himself to deal with any continued harrassment, though the incident seems to have ended peacefully. 


This incident was the last time during all his years as mayor of Fulham that Norris was confronted in any way by the problems of unemployment.  From 1910 to 1913 the bust of 1908-09 turned to boom again.  From 1911 some workers at least were paid unemployment benefit when out of work.  And after lay-offs when World War 1 was declared, there was more or less full employment until after the Armistice.


Starting early on Sat 27 November 1909 Henry Norris travelled to the Continent on a business trip - I wish I knew more about this!  A cable was sent to him telling him the result of Fulham 1 Manchester City 1.

Wed 1 December 1909 Henry Norris was named in a speech by a potential candidate to stand as a Liberal in Fulham, as having protested against the Liberal Government’s budget on the grounds that it would do damage to Allen and Norris’ business.  The budget contained first steps towards a National Insurance scheme; and insurance YES??? cover for accidents at work.  OR WAS IT u/e benefit???

By Fri 3 December 1909 Chelsea FC were already facing relegation from FL Division One.

Eve Tue 7 December 1909 Henry Norris returned to London from Europe.  He’d missed seeing Fulham FC beat Spurs to win the London Cup, at Stamford Bridge on Mon 6 December.

Eve Wed 8 December 1909 the regular meeting of the London Borough of Fulham was held with the public gallery cordoned off and the street outside full of a demonstration of unemployed.  Councillors voted to suspend the right of the public to watch the Council meetings.

Early December 1909 people in Fulham suddenly noticed that the London County Council had granted BP a licence to build an oil storage depot at Stevenage Road.  Local residents brought a petition against this to the meeting of the Council on Wed 15 December 1909 where there was a lot of recrimination over why no one had noticed what was going on before this.  Henry Norris was chosen to lead a group of councillors who would try to attend the next meeting of the LCC’s Public Control Committee, which had recommended issuing the licence to build.

Fri 17 December 1909 the LCC’s Public Control Committee allowed two deputations from Fulham to be heard.  Henry Norris’ group of councillors went first and got a very frosty reception because they’d left it so late in the day to object; a group of local residents received much more sympathy.

Mon 20 December 1909 Henry Norris and Edith, as mayor and mayoress, were entertained at dinner by the rest of the Fulham councillors at the Holborn Restaurant.  Other guests included the ex-Fulham MP William Hayes Fisher, who would be standing again in the General Election due in January (he got elected); Ada Norris; William Hall and his wife; William Allen and George Peachey both apparently without their wives.

By Wed 22 December 1909 someone working behind the scenes had persuaded the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who owned the site of the proposed oil storage depot, not to grant BP a lease.  The person was not named when the news was published that week; but it can’t have been Henry Norris despite his good contacts with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (who also owned the land on which Fulham FC played football) because the unknown man was a Fulham resident.

Sat 18 December 1909 West London and Fulham Times’ latest football reporter, who wrote as ‘Gee Whiz’, described Clapton Orient 0 Fulham 0 as “muddle and mediocrity”; only 10000 watched it.  47000 were at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea v Spurs.  Henry Norris seems to have been at the South Eastern League game Fulham Res 3 Southend United Res 2 in which goalkeeper Fryer was injured and had to go off 15 minutes before half-time (remember: no substitutes allowed in Henry Norris’ time, for injury or anything else).

Christmas Day, Sat 25 December 1909 the Fulham first team had a good win - Fulham 3 Hull City 1 - but Skene broke his collar bone with the score at 2-0, leaving Fulham without a fit goalkeeper.

Mon 27 December 1909 Henry Norris was with the team at the match Hull City 3 Fulham 2; he thought the team had played well despite losing (how often does he say this!)  I’m not sure who played in goal.

By Fri 31 December 1909 Fulham FC had found a stop-gap goalkeeper, an amateur previously with Reading FC.




Copyright: Sally Davis August 2007