Football History At The West Ham United Museum

By David Prudames | 27 August 2002
West Ham United Chairman Terence Brown with the Bobby Moore collection

Left: West Ham United Chairman Terence Brown with the Bobby Moore collection. Image courtesy West Ham United Football Club.

David Prudames donned his scarf and headed for London humming the tune of I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles.

The West Ham United Football Club Museum officially opened to the public on Saturday August 24.

From the grainy photograph of boys knocking a ball about in the street to the artist's impression of the club's soon to be 40,000 seat stadium, this Museum not only traces the history of a football club, but that of the game itself.

On entering, visitors are greeted with a projected image of Arnold Hills, owner of the Thames Iron Works and Shipbuilding Company.

a shirt worn in the FA Cup Final of 1923

Right: a shirt worn in the FA Cup Final of 1923. Image courtesy West Ham United Football Club.

Lamenting the decision by his works' football team to turn professional and change its name to West Ham United, Hills admits: "It is important for each community to have its own football team."

Hills could never have foreseen what would happen to the amateur game of Association Football, but, as this Museum attests, his sense of community undoubtedly lives on.

West Ham United's connections to its East London home are ever-present from a video installation of the local Boleyn Pub to the celebration of the Hammer's most famous locally-born son, Bobby Moore.

the late, great Bobby Moore has pride of place at the Museum

Left: the late, great Bobby Moore has pride of place at the Museum. Image courtesy West Ham United Football Club.

An intriguing timeline runs the length of the Museum space, flagging up world events with the coinciding achievements of West Ham United and their headline-making players.

This gives a colourful insight into the way such events have affected the game of football. For example, West Ham United's war time recruitment of Irish players when the local lads had all been called up to fight the Nazis.

The Museum centres on the Champions' Collection, which, with its medals, shirts and caps worn and won by three of West Ham United and England's most famous names, is a true football treasure.

the shirts, caps and medals of Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Sir Geoff Hurst, a real Champions' Collection

Right: the shirts, caps and medals of Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Sir Geoff Hurst, a real Champions' Collection. Image courtesy West Ham United Football Club.

Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Sir Geoff Hurst's involvement in the World Cup winning side of 1966 is well documented. Visitors can hear all about it from recordings of the players themselves, experience it with the late Sir Kenneth Wolstenholme's famous commentary and see it in the form of three winner's medals.

A £4 million project, the Museum doffs a cap to the fans with a song sheet for crowd favourite I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles and offers profiles of current players.

Charting football's evolution, the West Ham United Museum is a worthwhile experience for any fan of the game, not just those whose favourite colours are claret and blue.

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