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Book Review - The Origin of Crystal Palace - Vol 4

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View dorking's Profile dorking Flag 07 Jan 20 10.01pm Send a Private Message to dorking Add dorking as a friend

The Origin of Crystal Palace - Volume 4 (1912-1914) by Steve Martyniuk

Crystal Palace fans who love reading about the history of the club will by now be familiar with this somewhat epic series of heavyweight books, and this very latest edition doesn't disappoint! I say heavyweight because this volume is 428 pages long, A4 sized, and an inch thick!

The book follows on from the three previous volumes that covered the predecessor "Victorian" CPFC team in great detail from inception in 1861, before even the formation of the Football Association, where the original CPFC were instrumental in shaping the laws of the game, establishing the FA Cup and the earliest England International matches. Volumes 2 and 3 covered the earliest years of the current "1905" club, with in depth accounts of the delicate club balance sheet (nothing changes!), the earliest players, the first great FA Cup run of 1907, and the intricate reasons why the club found itself in the Southern League rather than the Football League.

So, what does Volume 4 bring us?

Well, incredibly, CPFC actually started to become rather good! The period 1912-1914 actualy saw the club fighting at the top of the Southern League Division One for a change, and becoming 'Champions of London' (really!). Back then the London Challenge Cup was a serious competition - not a reserve run out like todays Carabao Cup - and Palace took on and beat the biggest and best League teams in London to win it!

Crowds were pretty healthy, as Palace became fairly well supported, however rumbling away in the background was the perilous financial situation of the Crystal Palace company, whose vast pleasure and exhibition grounds the club played in, and who were constantly facing liquidation.

In the book we learn of CPFC's search for an alternative ground, including a really unlikely place where the club considered relocating to!

There are stories unearthed of a CPFC trainer dismissed for his alcoholism, and of cannabis advertised (for purely medicinal purposes!) in the club yearbook!

There is also an incredibly in depth look at the club's Scandinavian tour of 1914, with some unbelievably rare artefacts that give an incredibly detailed look at the logistics of the whole trip!

As you might guess, as the book ends, in the summer of 1914, the world was about to never be the same again, which will be the starting point for Volume 5 (likely to be published in a years time).

You simply will be astonished at the incredible level of research and detail in this book, and yet it is not in any way a 'dry' read - the book is written in an engaging way so as to keep the reader interested throughout. So many rare and unique artefacts have been sourced from collectors, archives, museums and even families of former players, that all help to tell (and illustrate) the story.

You will see rare postcards, photographs, newspaper excerpts, minute books, tickets, medals, balance sheets, letters and so on, and you are just amazed that people have not only kept this stuff, but also been willing to share it, and that the author has been able to harness all of these artefacts in chronological order, make sense of them, and explain their relevance to the story in a way that is easy to understand for the modern reader!

Quite simply, if you haven't followed this series of books over the past 4 years, you may never have thought you'd be interested in a heavy history book about the club between 1912 and 1914, but believe me, you will be glad you did, as it really is a cracking body of work that you will thoroughly enjoy!


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View asb1947's Profile asb1947 Flag Croydon 15 Jan 20 12.51pm Send a Private Message to asb1947 Add asb1947 as a friend

I simply must endorse 'dorkings' review of volume 4 of The Origins of Crystal Palace book. Like the other 3 volumes the pictures are superb,and the text easy to read. There is so much in those two seasons covered and so much about our club and not just on the playing side! For a bonus there are details of the history since our Southern League games up to date v Brighton.
The book also notes which team which team we have played the most..Interesting fact of our first local born star George Woodger, who played for England when he left us for Oldham Athletic. And family details of our first England player Horace Colclough. So much work has gone into the book and is a credit to this great club of ours.


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