For the past several months I have been sorting, arranging and cataloguing the Liverpool St Helen’s archive. I have also had the opportunity to digitise a number of items, showing examples of the programmes, scrapbooks, dinner programmes, posters and other visual material from the archive. These images have been uploaded to a Dropbox account, created specifically for the project, giving committee members and project partners the chance to see these items, often for the first time.
I have also been working on our upcoming exhibition and book ‘The Birth of Club Rugby: the history and heritage of Liverpool St Helen’s Football Club’. After reading and contributing to the text I was also able to suggest accompanying images from the Dropbox account. The text and images for the exhibition panels were then sent to second year Graphic Design students at St Helen’s College for their live brief project. They were given a design brief to come up with a logo and branding for all the outputs to the project, including the design and layout for the touring exhibition.
One of the exhibition panels highlights the international links that are part of the history of Liverpool St Helen’s, from players who have represented their country to connections made around the world. After several drafts we were closer to a final version of this panel, but another image was needed. Our Education Co-ordinator contact me and suggested the poster (above), asking what did I know about it? The short answer was nothing – not even the year! Thankfully I was able to reach out to a couple of former Liverpool club members and ask for their help. A few days later, following phone calls and emails, the story emerged.
The Liverpool club arranged a short pre-season friendly tour to France in August 1979. This ostensibly may have been to visit former Liverpool player Maurice Colclough, who had by then moved to France and played for Angouleme. Only two games were played, the first against Angouleme (captained by Colclough), the second against a regional select XV featuring players from Angouleme and Nord. The poster in the archive is from the latter game.
The name Maurice Colclough was familiar to me; weeks earlier I had been searching team photographs for a picture of him to illustrate the book. Sadly, there are no photographs of Maurice in the archive. Whilst the poster on the exhibition panel is only for a small, informal friendly, it is also a tribute to a much-loved former player and the friends who travelled to play rugby with him. This tight-knit, community ethos is still very much part of the club today.
Vicki Caren, Project Archivist