Last updated: November 2008
The sinking of the Titanic, on her maiden voyage. Discovered: Piltdown Man, later exposed as a clever hoax. Founded: British Board of Film Censors; Royal Flying Corps; Universal Pictures. Scott’s expedition to the South Pole and the deaths of all its members. Minimum wage for miners. Lilian Gish, Mabel Normand, Mack Sennett and Cecil B de Mille all began their careers. Published: Death in Venice (Thomas Mann). First: use of the phrase ‘continental drift’ (by Alfred Wegener). Olympics in Stockholm: May- July. National Insurance Act. Marconi scandal catches several Cabinet members. First performed: Pierrot Lunaire (Arnold Schoenberg).
Before 1912, probably during 1911 Kinnaird Park Estate Company departed from its original purpose of building houses on the Plaistow Lodge estate to the north of Bromley, land owned by Lord Kinnaird. KPEC bought some land on the east side of Bromley, in Bickley; also for housing development.
During 1912 the Allen and Norris partnership continued to build on a large scale at its two housing estates, in Crabtree Lane Fulham and at Southfields, Wandsworth. During the year, the London Borough of Fulham passed the following set of applications to build:
- 60 houses in Wingrave Road, Bowfell Road and Skelwith Road
- 18 houses in Rannoch Road; on the west side between Skelwith Road and Colwith Road, and on the east side between Rosedew Road and Colwith Road
- 4 houses on the west side of Rannoch Road between Colwith Road and the Pimlico
Wheel Works (the northern boundary of the land owned by Allen and Norris)
- 7 houses on the east side of Rannoch Road between Colwith Road and Parfrey Street
- 67 houses in Rosedew Road and Colwith Road
- 15 houses in Skelwith Road
- 30 houses in Colwith Road
16 houses on the east side of Wingrave Road; a re-application after an alteration in
number 220 Fulham Palace Road.
During the period 1912-14 they also pursued a policy of buying up plots of land adjacent to the Crabtree Farm Estate; so that by February 1914 they were the owners of 5 acres between the north end of Rannoch Road and the River Thames, including 300 feet of river frontage.
Building at Southfields had passed its peak. During the year the London Borough of Wandsworth passed the following applications to build made by Allen and Norris:
115-161 Wimbledon Park Road
82-100 Wimbledon Park Road
102-114 Wimbledon Park Road
The freehold of 122 Wimbledon Park Road was owned by Edith Norris until her death in 1951.
During 1912 Henry Norris’ round of regular meetings continued. Every other Wednesday evening at Fulham Town Hall he would as mayor chair the meeting of the full council. As Fulham’s representative at the Metropolitan Water Board he attended as many of its meetings as he could - they were also held fortnightly, on Friday afternoons. There were board meetings at Fulham FC and Woolwich Arsenal FC - I’m not sure how often they met. Construction work also continued all year on the Allen and Norris partnership’s Crabtree Lane Estate.
In the evening of Thur 4 January 1912 27 of the 28 mayors of London’s boroughs were at the Guildhall in the City of London at the annual distribution of Christmas hampers. There was no list of attendees by name; I hope Henry Norris wasn’t the one who was missing!
On Sat 6 January 1912 a list was published which showed Henry Norris taking the first steps up the ladder of national freemasonry. He was made a member of the newly-formed freemasons’ London Rank Association, on the recommendation of his favourite lodge, Kent Lodge number 15.
On Tue 16 January 1912 Bromley UDC passed a planning application made by Kinnaird Park Estate Company: 8 semi-detached houses in Amesbury Road, Bickley; the first building by KPEC on the eastern side of Bromley.
By 24 January 1912 the London County Council had finally approved a street layout for the full Crabtree Lane Estate being developed by the Allen and Norris partnership in Fulham. This included another 76 houses and 9 shops and meant the planning process could begin on the remaining streets there: Gilbert Road, Ellaline Road, Dorset Lane, Larnach Road and Fulham Palace Road. After these applications, as all the design work was complete, the Allen and Norris partnership seems to have ended its contract with architect F Leonard Poole.
From 1 February 1912 on odd days with the last session being on 20 December 1912 the Royal Commission on the future organisation of London University was taking evidence for its final report. Henry Norris played no part in this at all, of course, and may not even have known it was going on; but the Royal Commission’s conclusions made life more difficult for a small theological college in north London.
On Fri evening 9 February 1912 Henry Norris and all the other mayors of London boroughs, together with representatives of the City guilds and the Corporation of London attended a dinner at the Carpenters’ Company.
By Fri 1 March 1912 all the miners had come out on strike. The Government tried to mediate between miners and employers, and pushed through a bill to enforce a minimum wage in the industry; but the strike was still going on at the end of the month. One of the first consequences was a rise in bread prices - though by this time in his life Henry Norris was rich enough not to have to worry too much about them. He - and everybody - would have been affected by having no coal during winter, though.
On Wed 13 March 1912 an appeal by Allen and Norris against a London County Council decision on the line of Fulham Palace Road (see 1911) reached arbitration and was resolved in their favour. It’s not clear from newspaper coverage of the decision whether Henry Norris had to appear as a witness. In the evening of 13 March 1912 William Hall was installed to serve for his year as Worshipful Master of Kent Lodge number 15. The ceremony took place at the Grand Temple, Covent Garden.
On the afternoon of Mon 18 March 1912 Henry Norris went to see the match Tufnell Park v Fulham Reserves but left before the end because he “couldn’t stand the whole 90 minutes” they were “farcical”. As a director of one of the participating clubs he can’t escape some of the blame for that!!
Council meetings in Fulham usually didn’t last very long - all that the councillors needed to do was agree the recommendations put to them by the various sub-committees that made decisions on a daily basis. However, the one Henry Norris chaired on the evening of Wed 20 March 1912 didn’t finish until 11.30pm: it was setting the rates for the next year, with local elections due in November.
In the evening of Thur 21 March 1912 the Fishmongers’ Company gave a dinner in the City of London for those men who’d been mayors in 1911 and helped set up the volunteer reserve force (see 1911). I couldn’t find a list of who had been present but Henry Norris would certainly have been invited.
In the evening of Fri 22 March 1912 both Henry Norris and Edith went to a whist drive at Fulham Town Hall, organised to raise money for the Fulham Palace Cricket Club. They probably went by invitation from Henry Norris’ great friend George Peachey, who seems to have preferred cricket to football and sometimes batted for this local amateur team (see my file GEORGE PEACHEY). When the card-playing was over, Edith presented the prizes.
In the evening of Tue 26 March 1912 Henry Norris and Edith were back at the Fulham Town Hall again as patrons of a concert in aid of Fulham Day Nursery, a charity for working mothers in which Edith was very actively involved.
On the afternoon of Sat 30 March 1912 Henry Norris missed both Woolwich Arsenal and Fulham to go to Stamford Bridge to see the FA Cup semi-final which ended Swindon Town 0 Barnsley 0; I don’t know whether he went to the replay.
By the end of March the miners’ strike was causing lay-offs in coal-dependent industries; and increasing disruption to rail services as stock-piles ran out. The South East and Chatham Railway Company, whose lines took people from London to Woolwich, decided to suspend a lot of its normal services over the Easter weekend. Despite the travel problems the continuing strike was causing, the Football League insisted that league fixtures must be fulfilled. On Good Friday, 5 April 1912 Woolwich Arsenal’s home game against Northampton Town was delayed when the away team’s train was held up by a lack of coal. After this incident the directors of Woolwich Arsenal petitioned the FA, demanding £40 compensation for the lost gate receipts; they were turned down and appealed.
On Thur 11 April 1912 Bromley UDC passed a planning application from Kinnaird Park Estate Company for an extension to the house then known as Heathercroft, London Lane, in the Plaistow area of Bromley.
At 5pm Mon 15 April 1912 there was a good crowd (for a Monday game) at Craven Cottage for Fulham 0 Derby County 0. Pre-match gossip about this match had caused Henry Norris a good deal of annoyance: he’d heard it being generally assumed that Fulham would let Derby County win so that they would be promoted at Chelsea’s expense.
On Tue 16 April 1912 the London papers printed news of the resignation of George Leavey from the board of directors at Woolwich Arsenal FC at the end of the season - less than a month away; though Henry Norris and the other directors had naturally been informed beforehand. In discussing the news later, Norris said that he’d been expecting for several months that Leavey would decide to quit. The making public of the resignation increased speculation in the press that Woolwich Arsenal would leave the Manor Ground.
In the afternoon of Wed 17 Apr 1912 there was a football match at Craven Cottage between two staff teams: Fulham Board of Guardians 1 London Borough of Fulham 2. It sounds like Henry Norris had been the main inspiration behind the idea but the press coverage didn’t mention that he’d attended it. He may have thought he didn’t have time: in the early evening of Wed 17 April 1912 he was at the meeting of Kent Lodge number 15 to be presented with some ceremonial robes befitting his recent election to the freemasons’ London Rank group. London Rank had only recently been established by the freemasons, to give members of London’s lodges a first step on the (very long) ladder of hierarchy of English freemasons. This was a big step up for Henry Norris: out of the lodges and onto the wider freemasons’ stage. No one else from Kent Lodge number 15 achieved London Rank at this time.
By Fri 26 April 1912 Woolwich Arsenal’s manager George Morrell had applied for the job of manager at Leeds City.
On Sat 20 April 1912 it was the FA Cup Final; and a friendly match Glasgow Rangers 0 Woolwich Arsenal 0 was played at Ibrox. However, Henry Norris seems to have gone to Fulham 1 Grimsby Town 3 instead. At this match £19 was collected for the Titanic Disaster Fund - before kick-off, I assume: match reports said that Grimsby’s offside trap had driven most of the crowd away by the end of the game.
On Mon 22 April 1912 Henry Norris may have been at Chelsea 4 Blackpool 1, rather than at Woolwich Arsenal 5 Blackburn Rovers 1. There was a collection for the Titanic Disaster Fund at the Manor Ground during half-time.
On Tue 23 April 1912 Henry Norris probably went to Leyton 1 Fulham Reserves 6; later he praised Pearce’s leading of the line in this match. If Pearce was Fulham’s top scorer, why wasn’t he in the first team, I wonder?
In late April 1912, as the mayor of a borough with a long river frontage, Henry Norris may have got involved in a committee of London mayors who were trying to do something about the current state of the Thames; though he was not mentioned specifically as taking part in this effort, which had been initiated by Mr F Sedgwick, the mayor of Poplar in the East End.
On Fri 26 April 1912 with Chelsea just promoted, Henry Norris’ old scourge Oscar Drew, writing in the West London and Fulham Times as Merula, summed up Fulham’s 1911/12 season as “still wandering in a second division desert”.
By the weekend of 27-28 April 1912 rumours about Woolwich Arsenal’s future had got quite specific: the Kentish Independent reported that in season 1912/13 they would play either at Craven Cottage or at the (largely unused) stadium in Shepherd’s Bush. This was the last weekend of season 1911/12. Woolwich Arsenal’s last game ended Woolwich Arsenal 0 Notts County 3; the team were jeered by their own supporters. They ended in mid-table in Football League Division One; Fulham were eighth in Football League Division Two.
In the evening of Sat 27 April 1912 Henry Norris went to the Clarendon Restaurant in Hammersmith for the annual dinner of Fulham Amateur Boxing Club. Also there were his brother John Edward, Arthur Foulds who worked for Allen and Norris, William Hall and Norris’ friend George Peachey.
On Mon 29 April 1912 after some hard persuasive work by Henry Norris and William Hall, it was announced that George Morrell had changed his mind: he would be staying at Woolwich Arsenal (he stayed until May 1915). The job of manager at Leeds City went to Herbert Chapman. At 6pm Mon 29 April 1912 a match was played at Shepherd’s Bush stadium in aid of the Lord Mayor’s Fund for victims of the Titanic disaster: Woolwich Arsenal 3 Spurs 0. Despite the presence of “several well-known actresses” the crowd was only 5000, swelled by a large number of boy scouts. I couldn’t find any coverage of the fixture so I don’t know for sure whether Henry Norris was there. He may not have been, because at 7.30pm Mon 29 April 1912 the Metropolitan Mayors’ Association held its annual dinner at the Prince’s Restaurant in Piccadilly - a function that Norris had probably been booked to go to for months.
A few days later, on Sun 5 May 1912 there was an exhibition match in Paris: Fulham 4 Queen’s Park Rangers 1. Henry Norris travelled with the Fulham party and was caricatured in a French newspaper.
On Thur 9 May 1912 a party from Woolwich Arsenal also left for the continent, on a tour of Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria-Hungary. Henry Norris may have seen them off, but he didn’t travel with them at this stage. Addendum 26 Feb 2008: this European trip wasn’t as ground-breaking as I originally thought. Spurs went on a practically identical tour in May 1905, organised by Vienna FC.
On Fri 10 May 1912 Oscar Drew (Merula) continued to dig at the directors of Fulham FC, saying that without a good inside-left and “two more burly forwards of the Dreadnought type” Fulham would have no chance of promotion next season.
On the evening of Tue 14 May 1912 Henry Norris may have attended a dinner for London mayors given by his Metropolitan Water Board acquaintance, George Elliott, mayor of Islington. 15 out of the 28 London mayors attended; press coverage didn’t give their names.
Henry Norris definitely didn’t go to the regular meeting of the Metropolitan Water Board on Fri 17 May 1912. He might have been travelling.
Sometime during the weekend of Sat 18-Mon 20 May 1912 Henry Norris and William Hall joined the touring party from Woolwich Arsenal. They caught up with them in Budapest and saw Budapest Fercuvorsi 1 Woolwich Arsenal 2. A postcard Henry Norris sent home that weekend is still owned by one of his grand-children.
On Tue 21 May 1912 Woolwich Arsenal’s group arrived in Graz. On Thur 23 May 1912 they travelled to Vienna. On Fri 24 May 1912 in Vienna an exhibition match was played: Woolwich Arsenal 4 Spurs 1. Then the team had the weekend off before playing on Mon 27 May 1912: First Vienna 0 Woolwich Arsenal 5.
On Wed 29 May 1912 the Woolwich Arsenal team played a match in Furth. On Thur 30 May 1912 the touring group began its journey home, arriving in the early morning Fri 31 May 1912.
At 10am Mon 3 June 1912 at the Imperial Hotel London, the Football League held its AGM. I’m not sure whether Henry Norris was there, but William Hall certainly was: he stood for election to one of the six vacancies on its Management Committee. He got the highest number of votes of those who weren’t elected. At 5.30pm Mon 3 June 1912 the Football Association held its AGM.
On Thur 6 June 1912 Henry Norris began one of the unseemly exchanges that littered his public career. He wrote a letter to one of Fulham’s borough’s teachers, who was making it known that he intended to stand as a candidate in the borough elections due in November (as a Liberal though I’m not sure this was relevant). In the letter he accused the teacher, a Mr Pengelly, of intending to use his position as an employee of the local council to further his political ambitions. A few days later Pengelly wrote Norris a furious reply, asking what political pressure he could possibly exert on his pupils, all of whom were too young to vote; and recommending that Norris take the beam out of his own eye before he started accusing others of undue influence. Somehow or another, Henry Norris talked Pengelly out of sending the two letters to the local press there and then. Instead, Pengelly mentioned them during a campaign meeting during October; and they were published in the Fulham Chronicle (whose editor was never one of Norris’ greatest fans) just before voting took place.
At 2.30pm Sat 8 June 1912 volunteer troops began to assemble in Hyde Park for a review of the National Reserve’s London Division. All the mayors of the London boroughs were there by 6pm when King George V took the salute. Some mayors went on afterwards to a dinner organised by the mayor of Marylebone at the Great Central Hotel; so Henry Norris may have gone to this as well.
In the evening of Fri 14 June 1912 a deal was struck for Woolwich Arsenal’s sale of striker Andy Ducat to Aston Villa, a sale necessitated by Woolwich Arsenal’s financial position. Ducat was the star of the team and this sale had a long-term effect on the team-mates he left behind. It seems that Villa came late to the show: in the autumn it emerged that T A Deacock of Spurs had agreed terms with Woolwich Arsenal for Ducat, only to have them rejected by his own board, who baulked at the transfer fee that was being demanded. This led directly to Deacock’s resignation from Spurs, and an autumn of mutual and public recrimination between him and the rest of the directors.
At 2pm on Wed 26 June 1912 at an auction room known as The Mart in the City of London, a small plot of the land belonging to the Crabtree Farm estate was put up for sale; but didn’t find a buyer. If Henry Norris attended this auction, he must have decided that the land was not worth the price being asked for it by Edward Matyear’s executors.
At 8pm on Fri 28 June 1912 Fulham FC’s AGM was held at the Fulham Town Hall. It was William Hall’s turn to stand for re-election to the board of directors; he was re-elected. Both he and Henry Norris made speeches in which they - yet again - bemoaned the club’s lack of support and reminded the shareholders that low crowds meant less money for players. Hall told everyone that Fulham’s recent defecits had been covered by loans from directors - loans that were most unlikely to be repaid. Henry Norris also criticised one of the local papers for its coverage of Fulham during the past season. It’s not clear from the reports of the meeting whether he actually said which paper he meant; but it was probably clear to the shareholders that he meant his old sparring partner Oscar Drew (Merula) at West London and Fulham Times. He suggested, too, that Fulham FC was better run financially than Chelsea FC, which had made a loss. He didn’t mention that they’d also got promoted.
On Sat 29 Jun 1912 the long-running disagreement between the Allen and Norris partnership and the London County Council, over the future line of Fulham Palace Road, reached another milestone, with a decision by the Superintendent Architect of Metropolitan Buildings. Allen and Norris appealed against it and so the dispute went on. During July 1912 another source of argument at the Crabtree Lane Estate was occupying Henry Norris’ attention: as mayor he received a letter from residents in Crabtree Lane objecting to the local council’s proposals for adopting the road as a public highway. This dispute also continued into the autumn.
On Mon 15 July 1912 the Liberal Government’s National Insurance Act 1911 came into effect: from this date employers had to pay their contribution towards sick and unemployment benefit, and to deduct the employee’s contribution when they prepared the weekly pay-packets. Henry Norris would have been affected at Allen and Norris, the London Borough of Fulham, Fulham FC and at Woolwich Arsenal where this new overhead was going to fall particularly heavily on the club’s meagre income.
By Fri 19 July 1912 Woolwich Arsenal Football and Athletic Company’s annual report had been issued. The club had made a profit; though it still had a mortgage of £4000 on the lives of three directors, definitely Henry Norris and William Hall, and probably George Leavey who was presumably expecting to be bought out soon; and loans from both Norris and Hall of £475 each.
In the evening Fri 26 July 1912 Woolwich Arsenal FC’s AGM was held at the Royal Mortar Hotel Woolwich, the first at which Henry Norris was chairman - a role he continued to perform until the AGM of 1927. George Leavey wasn’t there; new director George Davis sent apologies. Hall and Humble were there but Norris did most of the talking. He made it plain that now Leavey was gone, he and Hall would dictate policy at the club. After the meeting, the shareholders who were present had refreshments provided at Norris’ expense.
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE SOURCES OF ALL THIS INFORMATION, SEND ME AN EMAIL AND I’LL SEND YOU THE SOURCES FILE.
Copyright Sally Davis November 2007