Sheffield football exhibition soon to open nets ‘priceless’ donation

A soon-to-be-opened permanent football exhibition in Sheffield has received a major boost thanks to a "priceless” donation which will take centre stage in the display.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 4:55 pm

The exhibition, showcasing the city’s rich and unrivalled heritage when it comes to The Beautiful Game, is set to open at Central Library in “mid-November”, according to Nick Partridge, head of libraries at Sheffield Council, and will feature the diary of Nathaniel Creswick, the co-founder of the world’s oldest football club: Sheffield FC.

It will also include 40 footballing ‘firsts’ associated with Sheffield – from the oldest football ground to being the place where the corner kick was invented – as well as previously long-lost trophies from Sheffield & Hallamshire FA competitions.

Organisers hope the display could pave the way for a football museum in the city.

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Colonel Geoffrey Norton (fourth from right) presents Nathaniel Creswick's journals to Nick Partridge from Sheffield City Archives.

Norfolk Park-based Creswick kept two journals from 1847 to 1863 which, as well as documenting the trials and tribulations of his love life, provide a “valuable and important” glimpse into the social history of Sheffield in the nineteenth century, said councillor Anne Murphy from the Sheffield Home of Football campaign.

She added: “It’s the start of something we are going to create in the centre of Sheffield for everybody to come and research, look at and get interested in.”

Mr Partridge added: “It’s an amazing cultural experience that we need to celebrate.

"We are really, really pleased to have accepted it.”

Colonel Geoffrey Norton pictured with his great, great uncle's journals.

The diary, which was found in Devon in 2007, had been in the possession of Creswick’s great, great nephew, 90-year-old Colonel Geoffrey Norton, who lives in Ecclesall with his wife Eileen.

It was officially handed over on Thursday in the Adelphi room at the Crucible, a site of historical significance.

The former Adelphi Hotel located there was where the modern rules of football were invented and was also the place where Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, Bramall Lane and Yorkshire County Cricket Club were founded.

Cllr Murphy added: “This is a really important moment for the city of Sheffield.”

An extract from Creswick’s journal, dated to 1857, reads: “Today I established a Foot Ball [sic] club to which most of the young from Sheffield come to kick a ball about.”

Creswick also founded The Sheffield and District Golf Club, which is now Lindrick Golf Club.

Colonel Norton described him as a “remarkable man”.