[ROGER THIS FILE CARRIES STRAIGHT ON FROM SL19]
Last updated: March 2008
During the close season 1919 a lot of work was done at Highbury, repairing the neglect of the war years and preparing for the club’s first north London season in Football League Division One: a new enclosure was made in front of the 1913 grandstand, and banking was dug out on the three other sides of the pitch.
Between Mon 21 and Sat 26 April 1919 Clem Voysey was signed officially by Arsenal FC; he’d probably already played several times for them in recent weeks, described as ‘Newman’ in the match-day programmes. A half-back, he was probably signed on Leslie Knighton’s recommendation. The deal of April 1919 between Voysey and Arsenal FC was investigated twice by the FA, in 1925 and 1927. Suffice it to say now that in 1927 Henry Norris described how in 1919 a player was paid a signing-on fee of £200 in cash by Arsenal FC, the maximum such payment allowed by the Football League being £10. Norris didn’t name the player, but his description of how and where the money was paid makes it likely that the player was Voysey. For much more on Clem Voysey and Henry Norris see my file Henry Norris: Players Who Came Back to Haunt Him. [ROGER I’LL NEED A LINK HERE THOUGH THE FILE ISN’T WRITTEN YET]. Although Norris agreed to pay the £200 he didn’t hand it over himself: on the day it was paid he was in Torquay, taking a short holiday I guess.
On Fri 25 April 1919 with season 1918/19 over, the London Combination held a meeting, chaired by Chelsea FC’s Claude Kirby, to decide whether it should vote itself out of existence - it had been set up as a temporary, wartime league only. But it did the opposite: its members decided that it would continue.
The following afternoon, Sat 26 April 1919 the London Combination’s Victory Cup Final was played at Highbury before a crowd of 36000. Chelsea 3 Fulham 0 flattered Chelsea, Islington Daily Gazette’s Arthur Bourke/Norseman thought, but was suitable recompense for Fulham’s unsporting behaviour in the quarter-finals. He noted a lot of anti-Fulham feeling at the match, in the crowd and in the press-room. In fact Fulham had been the better team until a hailstorm seemed to shake Chelsea out of their lethargy. In a neat twist of the rules of the competition - discovered and acted on I’m quite sure by Henry Norris - Jock Rutherford, who’d been on the books at Arsenal FC since 1912, played for Chelsea and scored two of their goals. He was there to see Fulham get their comeuppance and at the end his wife Edith presented the trophy. Arsenal director Charles Crisp was also at the game. Also on Sat 26 April 1919 the first international since World War 1 had been declared was played at Goodison Park: England 2 Scotland 2.
By Mon 28 April 1919, although officially he was still working his notice at Manchester City, new manager Leslie Knighton was hard at work scouting for talent for Arsenal FC.
On Wed 30 April 1919 Arsenal Football and Athletic Company Limited issued 66 new shares: the first share-dealing done by the club since before World War 1.
Thur 1 May 1919 was the date decreed by the FA as the first on which players could be registered with them for season 1919/20. That afternoon, Thur 1 May 1919 a charity match was played at Highbury: Metropolitan Police N Division v London Fire Brigade though I don’t suppose Henry Norris went to it.
On the afternoon of Sat 3 May 1919 more charity matches were played including West Ham 1 Arsenal 0. I don’t know whether Henry Norris went to see that; or whether he opted to go to Stamford Bridge where Fulham 0 Chelsea 4 was either followed or preceded by one of the matches in a three-cornered army competition played over this weekend. Captain Vivian Woodward played for the British Army in Belgian Army 2 British Army 1. As well as being the first great English centre-forward Woodward was an acquaintance of Norris’ on the freemasons’ circuit; they were both members of Kent Lodge number 15 and it’s possible Woodward owed his membership to Norris’ recommendation.
On Wed 7 May 1919 Henry Norris asked another question in the House of Commons; this time he was trying to get Prime Minister Lloyd George to confirm that the government would be keeping its election promise to introduce legislation to bar people who had been born abroad from holding any official position either elected or appointed.
During May 1919 Edith Norris had been expecting to visit Sweden. It’s not clear from what she said, whether this was a trip she would be making on her own, or whether she was accompanying Henry Norris on a trip of his. In any case, the trip never took place: it’s likely Norris judged it was not a good time for such a visit. British troops were involved in fighting Communist Russia in Archangel, with the possibility of a move against Petrograd (which didn’t happen); and the British Government had only just announced its recognition of eastern Sweden as the independent state of Finland
On the evening of 7 May 1919 Henry Norris, as mayor, chaired the regular meeting of the London Borough of Fulham. When the official business was over, Norris met a delegation of Belgian war refugees to receive on behalf of the people of Fulham, a plaque thanking them for their help during the years the refugees were quartered in Earl’s Court exhibition centre.
On the afternoon Sat 10 May 1919 Henry Norris was at Highbury for the charity match Arsenal 3 West Ham 2, Leslie Knighton’s first match in charge.
On Thur 15 May 1919 the funeral took place in Fulham of Walter Plummer of 177 Lillie Road. The office manager at Allen and Norris was Francis Plummer; I believe he may have been Walter’s son, he was certainly some relation so Henry Norris may have attended the funeral.
On Sat 17 May 1919 there was a service at Westminster Abbey for the police officers and policemen who’d died during World War 1. The Duke of Connaught and the Prince of Wales represented the royal family and several mayors of London boroughs attended though I couldn’t find a report that listed their names so I don’t know if Henry Norris was one of them. He may have been at Craven Cottage that afternoon, Sat 17 May 1919 - though given recent events, I think probably not - for the Bulldog Challenge Cup Final: RAF 2 Scots Guards 5. It’s more likely he was at Highbury, with a crowd of only 5000, for Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2, also a charity match.
By Fri 23 May 1919 Henry Norris had joined the Parliamentary Early Closing Group which was campaigning for compulsory closing at 7pm. Also by that day, 23 May 1919 Norris had been chairman of the group that had set up Fulham’s War Memorial Fund committee. It had sent out a circular publicising what the committee hoped to do with the money, and asking for donations.
On the afternoon of Sat 24 May 1919 there was yet another charity match: Arsenal 0 Spurs 0, played “in summer heat” before a crowd of only 6000; definitely the last match until season 1919/20. I don’t know whether Henry Norris attended this.
At 6.30pm Tues 27 May 1919 Henry Norris voted ‘yes’ to the third reading of the Ireland Bill. Then he took part in the debate on the Housing and Town Planning Bill, getting an amendment accepted at the point at which the Bill attempted a definition of on ‘working-class’, his amendment meaning that no actual definition of the phrase needed to be made by the Act. Although he wasn’t in the House of Commons for a vote on the Housing and Town Planning Bill which took place at 9.15pm; he’d probably gone out to get some dinner.
On Wed 28 May 1919 Henry Norris asked a series of connected questions about the commissioners appointed by the Government to investigate housing issues. Despite having a great deal of experience in housing matters, Norris had not been appointed one of the commissioners. He now asked about the salaries, administrative support, and competence of those men who had been appointed.
I hope I’ve made it clear that, so far, Henry Norris had been quite active in Parliament. From
Thurs 29 May 1919 to Tues 23 December 1919 however, he did not speak again: either at question time or during any parliamentary debates. See my file Henry Norris in Parliament 1919-22 for why this might have been; and it didn’t just affect him either. [ROGER I’LL NEED A LINK HERE TO THE PARLIAMENT FILE BUT IT ISN’T WRITTEN YET]
At about 12.30 on Thur 29 May 1919 at the Guildhall, the Prince of Wales was given the Freedom of the City of London. The mayors of all 29 London boroughs had been invited, so I should imagine Henry Norris was present; but I couldn’t find a list to confirm it. In the evening, Thur 29 May 1919 Norris was at Fulham Town Hall to chair a meeting to set up the Fulham branch of the national League of Arts.
In the evening of Fri 30 May 1919 Henry Norris and Edith, as mayor and mayoress, were the guests of the Fulham Municipal Officers’ Association at the Clarendon Restaurant in Hammersmith. The dinner was held to welcome back to civilian life those local authority workers who had fought in World War 1. Henry Norris’ friends George Peachey and Mr and Mrs William Middleton also attended. In his speech Norris criticised the slow progress that was being made in demobilising the troops.
On Mon 2 June 1919 the Football League and then the Football Association held their AGMs, in London; all decisions made at the meetings earlier in the spring of 1919 were ratified.
Between Mon 2 and Mon 9 June 1919 the Southern League heard the appeal of Brentford FC’s inside-right White to be allowed to leave the club on a free transfer. He’d played for them for the past five seasons, as an amateur (presumably working in a reserved occupation, as he doesn’t seem to have been called up). It’s likely Henry Norris paid this appeal a lot of attention: White’s goals had helped Brentford FC win the London Combination in season 1918/19. But the Southern League turned down White’s appeal.
On the evening of Mon 16 June 1919 there was a big meeting at the Guildhall to launch a new issue of government stock, like the war bonds, but for peace-time, and (like the war bonds) sold through the local councils. At 4pm on Tue 17 June 1919 the first meeting of the Metropolitan Campaign Committee was held at the Mansion House: the committee was supposed to encourage people to buy the new stock. I do not know who was invited to this meeting but it’s likely that all the mayors of metropolitan boroughs were; so Henry Norris could have gone to it.
On Fri 20 June 1919 the London FA held its AGM. Henry Norris had been nominated to be one of its vice-presidents. I couldn’t find a report of what happened so I don’t know whether he attended the meeting or whether he was elected as a vice-president.
At the end of June 1919 a dance was held at the Fulham Town Hall to raise money for the Fulham branch of the national Dispensary for the Treatment of Consumption. As mayor, Henry Norris was the chairman of this so he probably caused the dance to be organised; but I don’t know whether he attended it.
At 3pm Fri 27 June 1919 the United Grand Lodge of English freemasons held a meeting at the Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the end of World War 1. Henry Norris was there, as Past Assistant Grand Sword Bearer.
On the evening of Fri 27 June 1919 the London Combination held a meeting to reconstitute itself for peacetime. Its ten current members agreed that the London Combination would become a league for the members’ reserve teams. As a result of this, all ten clubs resigned from the other leagues their reserve teams had previously played in, a decision which badly affected the South Eastern League and the London League.
At 3pm on Sat 28 June 1919 World War 1 officially came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The day in England was grey but dry. During the afternoon and evening of Sat 28 June 1919 there were lots of people on the streets in London; guns were fired, bands played and as it grew dark there were fireworks and bonfires; but it was all rather less exuberant than the celebrations on the day of the armistice. At 7pm Sat on 28 June 1919 the newly-formed Fulham League of Arts held the first of a series of choir practices, at Craven Cottage.
On Sun 29 June 1919 by order of the bishop of London, Te Deums were sung in every church in his diocese. Although Henry Norris doesn’t seem to have been a religious man he may have gone to church on this particular Sunday.
On the evening of Wed 2 July 1919 Henry Norris chaired the regular meeting of the London Borough of Fulham. He allowed a deputation to be heard of various local groups who were complaining about the way the halls and rooms at the Fulham Town Hall were hired out for public events: claiming that their particular groups didn’t get their fair share of them. The deputation was led by Fulham’s most prominent Labour Party activist, Mr R M Gentry.
I do not know whether Henry Norris was in the House of Commons for the session on Thur 3 July 1919 but it began with one of those set-pieces MP’s seem to be so fond of: a standing ovation for Prime Minister Lloyd George, when he stood up to begin the debate on the two bills required by the Treaty of Versailles. By 6pm he was definitely in the House of Commons: he voted during a debate on the Government of India Bill.
On Mon 7 July 1919 another of the House of Commons’ set-pieces began: the yearly Finance Bill’s committee stage. Henry Norris voted on amendments to this, at 7.50pm, 9.23pm and 10.25pm.
On Wed 9 July 1919 mayors of some of the London boroughs had a meeting with representatives of the newly-appointed Housing Board of London, set up because the building programme of council housing was going so slowly in London. I haven’t found a list of the mayors who attended this meeting so I don’t know whether Henry Norris was one of them.
Before Mon 14 July 1919 Henry Norris had donated £105 to Fulham’s War Memorial Fund; with Lord Downham (previously William Hayes Fisher) he was the fund’s largest donor. He had also persuaded the other directors of Arsenal FC to let the club donate £50 plus about £9 gate receipt money - note that Arsenal didn’t donate any money that I know of to any similar fund in Islington.
Between Mon 14 July and Mon 21 July 1919 the Southern League turned down an appeal by player Henry Albert White against their dictat that he could not leave Brentford FC on a free transfer. By the mid-July 1919 he was threatening to take Brentford to court and the club decided that rather than pay for a court case, they would let White leave.
On Tue 15 July 1919 the House of Commons spent time on the Finance Bill committee stage: this seems to have taken weeks to get through although it was not debated every day. This particular day, Henry Norris took part in a vote at 6.30pm but not in any of the votes later that evening. The sitting went on until after 1am.
Between Mon 21 July and Mon 28 July 1919 Henry Norris, for Arsenal FC, beat several other clubs to the signature of Brentford FC’s forward Henry Albert White. For further on H A White and Henry Norris see my file Henry Norris: Players Who Came Back to Haunt Him. [ROGER I’LL NEED A LINK HERE BUT THE FILE ISN’T WRITTEN YET.] Here, I’ll just say that in order to get White’s signature against a lot of competition, Norris agreed to a weird deal with the player: if White stayed with Arsenal for three or more seasons (and thus became entitled to a benefit match) Norris promised to pay him £1000 at the end of five years. In the meantime Norris would lend White£200 per year, for housing expenses, to be paid back out of the £1000. This transaction and its sequel (Mar 1923) were investigated by FA Commission in July-Aug 1927 (see my file 1927: the Downfall of Henry Norris) [ROGER ANOTHER LINK NEEDED HERE TO A FILE NOT YET WRITTEN]; and also came up in the Norris v FA Ltd libel trial of February 1929 (see my file 1929: Norris v Football Association: the last libel case) [ROGER YET ANOTHER FILE NOT YET WRITTEN!]. Quite whether the deal was against the FA or FL rules I don’t know: looking at both sets of rules I couldn’t actually find any words forbidding it; but it was definitely against the spirit of the rules. The deal was strictly between the two men, and was a loan by Norris personally to White; no one else on the board of directors needed to know of it, therefore, and it seems that no one at that level did until 1923. However, the dressing-room knew about it, because White kept boasting about it, creating a great deal of bad feeling.
On Tue 29 July 1919, to celebrate the Treaty of Versailles, the royal family went on parade through the streets of London, ending in the City. Henry Norris may have attended the City of London end of the royal progress as all the mayors of the London boroughs were invited; but I couldn’t find a list that confirmed he was there.
At 7pm on Wed 30 July 1919 Henry Norris chaired the regular meeting of the London Borough of Fulham. The councillors unanimously accepted Edith Norris’ suggestion that they increase the proportion of money raised by Fulham’s War Memorial Fund which would go to the district nursing association in Fulham. The original Hammersmith and Fulham District Nursing Association had recently agreed to split into two. Henry Norris and Edith were both on the committee that had been formed to set up Fulham’s own district nursing organisation.
By Fri 1 August 1919 a two-day event for the school-children of the London Borough of Fulham was being organised for mid-September. Henry Norris had donated £10 to buy prizes.
Also by Fri 1 August 1919 the national Labour Party had announced its intention of contesting all the wards in the local authority elections that were due in November. In fact, they didn’t do so; but this was a clear statement of intent.
On Wed 6 August 1919 Henry Norris and all the other mayors of London boroughs, and all the town clerks, were at a conference with Dr Addison, President of the Local Government Board, and the London Housing Board. They discussed how to turn existing houses into flats for the working-classes: a quicker alternative, perhaps, to building blocks of flats completely new.
Over the night of Wed 13 to 7.36am Thur 14 August 1919 the House of Commons had one of its all-night sessions. The debate on the Profiteering Bill ended at about 5.40am; then there was
a relatively brief debate on the Ways and Communications Bill. Henry Norris stayed at the House of Commons throughout this long session.
Mon 18 August 1919 was the last sitting of Parliament before the summer recess. No votes were taken so I can’t say whether Henry Norris was at the House of Commons for this. The Prime Minister gave an assessment of Britain’s current economic position.
End of August 1919: Henry Norris may have snatched his first long holiday for several years, because he missed some important events.
On the afternoon of Sat 23 August 1919 there were 10000 at Highbury for the first pre-season trial match: Reds 5 Blues 0. It seems Charles Crisp and George Davis were the only directors to see this game.
On Mon 25 August 1919 there were a series of events for children in Sand’s End. Henry Norris doesn’t seem to have gone to any of them, despite Sand’s End being the ward in Fulham that he represented on the Council.
Sat 30 August 1919 was the first Football League Division One match played at Highbury. Arsenal 0 Newcastle United 1 kept up an Arsenal tradition of opening-day losses. The gates had been shut before kick-off with 60000 inside and many thousands more locked out; some gates had subsequently been forced open allowing a lot of those outside to push their way in without paying. Arsenal directors Charles Crisp, George Davis and John Humble saw the game (Humble maybe seeing his first since the outbreak of World War 1 - he worked at Woolwich Arsenal); but Henry Norris didn’t.
At 8pm Mon 1 September 1919 neither Henry Norris nor Edith was able to attend a meeting of the committee which was raising funds for Fulham’s district nursing association. The remaining committee members decided to hold a pageant to attract more money.
Source: FC. Nei HGN nor Edith was able to be at a mtg to raise
funds f Fu’s dist nursing insttn ((perhaps they were on hol)). Mtg decided to
org a pageant.
By Tue 16 September 1919 Henry Norris had returned from his family. That day, from 1.30pm on Tue 16 September 1919 he was present at the first of the two days of events organised by the London Borough of Fulham for all its 28000 school children. It was held at the Hurlingham Club and there were sports, a fair, food and ginger beer for all. He was also there on the afternoon of Wed 17 September 1919, its second day. In the evening, Wed 17 September 1919 he chaired the regular meeting of the London Borough of Fulham. At the end of it, the press were ordered out while councillors discussed a plan they must have known would have a lot of borough residents up in arms: the Council was thinking of buying part of the Hurlingham Club’s large property in Fulham for its working-class housing programme.
At 3pm Sat 20 September 1919 the pageant in aid of Fulham’s district nursing association took place. As far as I can see from the press reports, Henry Norris took no part in this despite being chairman of the fund-raising committee. Perhaps he was at Highbury with a crowd of 42000 that afternoon, Sat 20 September 1919 for Arsenal 3 Sunderland 2, a game dominated by Charles Buchan’s scoring, “[c]lever passing and...accurate control”. (For more on Charles Buchan’s largely inadvertent influence on the fall of Henry Norris, see my file Henry Norris: Players Who Came Back to Haunt Him). [ROGER ANOTHER LINK NEEDED HERE TO THIS FILE THAT ISN’T WRITTEN YET.] A collection was taken for the Great Northern Hospital (on Holloway Road) at the match.
Tue 23 September 1919 was spent by Henry Norris at Marlborough Street magistrate’s court. He was appearing as a character witness in a criminal case in which the defendant was his acquaintance on the London Borough of Fulham, Councillor Littleboy - an amazing case, in which Littleboy was accused of propositioning two women walking in Hyde Park. It brought out Lord Downham (William Hayes Fisher, ex-MP for Fulham) and the current MP for Fulham West, Cyril Cobb also gave evidence.
During the rail strike (which was settled on 6 October) Percy Shuter, Fulham’s Town Clerk, was asked to put up posters around the borough asking for volunteers to come forward, to form a local Citizens’ Army. Those interested were to report to the Fulham Town Hall to register; only 70 people did so. It’s not clear from the press or the Council minutes who it was that suggested forming the Citizens’ Army to break the strike; but as mayor, Henry Norris had the final say on whether this kind of initiative went forward.
By Sat 27 September 1919 although their results hadn’t been too bad, Arsenal already had six first-team regulars injured. Blackburn Rovers 2 Arsenal 2 was thus a good result. Despite a rail strike, the Football League had insisted that clubs fulfil their fixtures that weekend. The Arsenal party returned from Blackburn by coach, on Sun 28 September 1919; the trip took 15 hours. At 3.30pm Mon 29 September 1919 the team had to play the north London derby: Arsenal 0 Spurs 1 with neither side at full strength and a crowd of only 13000, typical of mid-week fixtures.
In the evening of Tue 30 September 1919 Henry Norris chaired an extraordinary meeting of the London Borough of Fulham to elect the members of its Profiteering Committee. At the end of the meeting and despite the damage it was doing to Arsenal’s results, Norris moved a resolution of support for the Government against the strike on the railways.
From October 1919 to October 1920 Henry Norris’ acquaintance John James Edwards served as Master of the Feltmakers’ Company. Several years later he joined Arsenal FC’s board of directors; and outlasted Henry Norris on it.
Although I don’t have a guest list for this, it’s likely that on the evening of Fri 3 October 1919, Henry and Edith Norris, with Fulham’s Town Clerk Percy Shuter, were amongst 1500 guests of the Corporation of the City of London at a ball at the Guildhall to celebrate peace.
By Thur 9 October 1919 an FA Commission was investigating Leeds City’s finances - it had been suggested that they had paid players a wage during the period when the wartime rules were in force. The FA had announced that they had forbidden Leeds City to play their fixture against South Shields on Sat 11 October. You might not think this is relevant to Henry Norris’ career but it is; and also, Herbert Chapman had been and still was Leeds City’s manager.
By Fri 10 October 1919 elections in the London boroughs were looming. The Progressives (the Asquith Liberals) had already selected their candidates in Fulham, though it seems that the Municipal Reform Party (the Conservatives) had not yet done so.
By Mon 13 October 1919 Leeds City had still not produced for the FA’s inspection its financial records for the period the FA Commission was investigating. The FA therefore suspended the club from FA membership; meaning that no FA member was allowed to play a match against them. The FA had also suspended various personnel at Leeds City; including Herbert Chapman.
On the evening of Wed 15 October 1919 Henry Norris chaired the last meeting of the London Borough of Fulham before the local elections; in fact, his last as mayor of the borough after 10 years in the job. Edith Norris presented Town Clerk Percy Shuter with some gifts, from her and Henry Norris personally rather than as mayor and mayoress, as thanks for all the help he had given them during their years in office.
The following evening, Thur 16 October 1919 Henry and Edith Norris held their last reception as mayor and mayoress of Fulham, at the Fulham Town Hall. The guests were a mixture of their old acquaintances in Fulham and their new ones at the House of Commons.
By Fri 17 October 1919 there was still no list, in Fulham, of Municipal Reform candidates to fight the local elections; nor were there any official notices yet of any Municipal Reform campaign meetings.
On Sat18 October 1919 Henry Norris was with fellow directors Charles Crisp, George Davis and William Hall and a crowd of 30000 at Highbury for Arsenal 1 Everton 1. Everton were the better team and it was generally thought even by Arsenal fans that Arsenal’s goal hadn’t crossed the line; despite protests from Everton the referee gave it anyway.
Mon 20 October 1919 was the official nomination day for candidates intending to stand in the local elections. Although I think he’d made up his mind some time before, it was not until the nomination ceremony that it became clear that Henry Norris was not going to stand. The day was the end of an era in Fulham: 13 of the other councillors who’d been elected in 1912 also didn’t stand this time. Though Henry Norris’ councillor friends George Peachey and NAME??? Flèche did stand (Flèche was defeated). So many councillors deciding not to stand; and the short time left (a matter of days) until the elections took place, clearly left the local party in disarray. It wasn’t until Fri 24 October 1919 that Fulham Chronicle finally printed notices of Municipal Reform party campaign meetings.
At 3.15pm on Mon 20 October 1919 Henry Norris and William Hall were with a crowd of 9000 for the London Challenge Cup game Arsenal 1 Fulham 3 (a replay after it had been 0-0 first time round). In his match report for Islington Daily Gazette Arthur Bourke, writing as Norseman, bemoaned Arsenal’s lack of “firing power”. By Mon 27 October 1919 after Sat 25 October 1919's Arsenal 1 Bradford City 2, he was declaring that Arsenal’s forward line was way below first division standard and bringing evidence to show that every single away team’s forwards at Highbury so far had performed better than Arsenal’s. Crowds and therefore gate money were still good though: 35000 attended this home defeat.
On the afternoon Wed 22 October 1919 Henry Norris was probably back at the House of Commons for the first day after the summer recess.
During the afternoon of Tue 28 October 1919 Henry Norris was in the House of Commons during the passage of the Aliens Bill. Then that evening, Tue 28 October 1919 he went on, to one of the Municipal Reform party’s campaign meetings, in his own ex-constituency of Sand’s End. Arriving late and so standing at the back, he overheard someone sitting in the hall criticising the workmanship of Fulham’s houses. This was a direct attack on Norris’ own firm, Allen and Norris, who’d built so much of Fulham’s recent housing stock. When he was making his speech a while later, Norris engaged with the anonymous critic, telling him that Allen and Norris’ houses had all been built by Labour: Allen and Norris’ employees were all trade union members.
8am-8pm Sat 1 November 1919 was voting in the local elections. At 9am Mon 3 November 1919 counting of the votes began and it quickly became clear that Labour had had a great victory in Fulham where they’d never held any seats at all before. The new council ended with 24 Labour councillors, 15 Municipal Reform; and (like 1912) no Progressives. Henry Norris’ friend George Peachey retained his seat in Town Ward, but came third out of three candidates who were elected. I think Henry Norris knew earlier in the autumn that his ten years in power in Fulham were likely to end this way; and that’s why he didn’t stand. Until 9 November, however, Henry Norris was still mayor of Fulham. Later that day, Mon 3 November 1919 he led an deputation from the London Borough of Fulham to speak to the Minister of Health about Fulham’s proposals for local authority housing in the borough (the Minister didn’t like them).
At 7.30pm on Thur 6 November 1919 Henry Norris may have attended the annual banquet - the first for several years - of the Metropolitan Mayors’ Association, held at the Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden. He continued to be a member of the MMA after this, as ex-mayors were eligible to be members.
At 7pm Mon 10 November 1919 Henry Norris was at Fulham Town Hall for his last act as mayor of Fulham: the handing over of the mayoral insignia to his successor, his old Labour Party opponent, trade union representative Mr R M Gentry. In his farewell speech he took a dig at Labour, so perhaps it was not surprising that barracking from the public gallery forced him to cut it short. It’s not clear whether Norris left the meeting at this point. He may have stayed for the elections to be alderman: he had been nominated to be one. But when the votes were counted, he wasn’t elected; and Gentry was.
Looking back at all my research, this March 2008, I now think of 10 November 1919 as the beginning of Henry Norris’ decline as a public man. He was no longer Fulham’s mayor; and the Allen and Norris partnership was no longer building new houses, only maintaining those already built and leased (rather than mortgaged). So Norris is less prominent in Fulham’s local life from now on; and he never did take any part in public life in Islington. It took him several more years to drop off the radar altogether but I date the gradual disappearance of Henry Norris from the public stage from this date.
On Mon 17 November 1919 Arsenal Football and Athletic Company Limited produced its first post-war annual report; and presumably during the next few days although I couldn’t find any mention of the date, an AGM was held, the first for several years. The Annual Report showed that Henry Norris’ and William Hall’s loans to the club were now £17264 and Humphreys Ltd were still owed £16,918 for the building of the grandstand. Henry Norris’ friend William Middleton was no longer listed as a director of the club.
On Sat 22 November 1919 Arsenal 3 Notts County 1 was the first home win since 20 September 1919, in front of 25000 and with (for a change) a good performance by the forwards. I’m not sure whether Henry Norris watched it though.
On 28 November 1919 Henry Norris was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the County of London. I have no idea what this means! Or what if any duties he had to perform. But it was announced in the London Gazette on Fri 12 December 1919 so it seems to be an official, possibly even royal, appointment.
In his report on the match of Sat 6 December 1919, Arsenal 1 Chelsea 1, the Islington Daily Gazette’s Arthur Bourke/Norseman commented that Arsenal were still giving free seats to men wounded in World War 1, at a loss of over £100 per match at a time when the club was in desperate need of money - a generous and patriotic gesture. Not that Arsenal went short on gate money for this match: the crowd was 50000 with the gates closed before kick-off. Chelsea took the lead and also a goal disallowed offside. Norseman usually mentioned if he saw Henry Norris at a game; so I think Norris didn’t see this one. He was busy with his lawyers, perhaps:
At 10.15 Mon 8 December 1919 the libel case Norris v Cook was heard in the King’s Bench Division. See my coverage of the General Election of December 1918 for a few more details about how it arose, though as the subject was sub judice the papers could say very little about what happened, at the time. [ROGER THIS NEEDS A LINK TO SL18]. For more discussion of what David Cook said in his election manifesto, see my file Henry Norris and Politics; here I’ll just note that the words Norris found so offensive were about him as the director of football clubs and the employer of football players. [ROGER I HAVEN’T WRITTEN THIS YET BUT THERE’LL BE A LINK TO IT NEEDED HERE.] Cook conducted his own defence, but he had little to do: he admitted libel during the hearing and the case was settled same day. There is a special section in the Libel Act forbidding the libelling of rival election candidates. Cook paid Norris £100 in damages - a small sum to Norris, by now a very wealthy man, but a large sum for Cook. Norris donated it to charity.
On Sat 13 December 1919 Henry Norris may have been at Stamford Bridge with a crowd of 6000 for what the Times thought was “best display of football...in London this season”. Alas! Not by Arsenal: it ended Chelsea 3 Arsenal 1. Meanwhile 42000 were at White Hart Lane for a Football League Division Two match, so the return of football was certainly packing them in.
On the evening of Thur 18 December 1919 Henry Norris and the other Fulham MP, Cyril Cobb, had both been due at Fulham Conservative Club, Shorrold’s Road, for a concert in aid of its Provident Society. But both were detained at the House of Commons and didn’t manage to get there.
Sat 20 Dec 1919 Arthur Bourke, writing as Norseman in the Islington Daily Gazette, reported that there was about to be a new board member at Arsenal Football and Athletic Company Limited. Bourke didn’t name the new director but it’s clear from the company’s annual reports that it was Henry Norris’ close friend George Peachey. He seems to have been appointed rather than elected at the AGM, to appoint rather than elect being the other directors’ preferred method of recruitment. I believe, though I can’t prove it precisely, that he bought the shares previously owned by Norris’ other friend (possibly ex-friend) William Middleton. Peachey had no interest in football, as far as I can tell - if anything he was a cricket man - but he was good with money (though not an accountant) and a most loyal friend, even beyond the events of 1927. Once appointed as director, Peachey did his share of going with the squad to away games. His first match as a director might have been on the afternoon of Sat 20 December 1919: Arsenal 3 Sheffield Wednesday 1 and it would have been more but Pagnam and Toner kept getting caught
After the Christmas fixtures Arsenal were mid-table in Football League Division One; Spurs were already top of Football League Division Two and got promoted at the end of the season. After the match on Sat 27 December 1919 - Sheffield Wednesday 1 Arsenal 2 - the Arsenal squad had their Christmas dinner, I suppose in London rather than Sheffield; it was well-deserved after they’d got 6 points out of 6 in 3 days. I don’t know how many of the matches Henry Norris attended; or whether he was at the dinner though presumably he paid for it.
In the Army List of 31 December 1919 Henry Norris was still listed as a Colonel. But he wasn’t in the one issued for January 1920 so I guess he got demobbed in the New Year - long after most of the soldiers who’d actually fought, but then his wasn’t an urgent case. Of course, he kept his military rank.
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Copyright Sally Davis March 2008