First we need to say a big thanks to Rob Angus and the Club, as we were invited to clear cupboards and filing cabinets at the County Ground. Also, thanks to the volunteers and my fellow Trustees we managed to take out everything and sort it in to stuff we wanted, stuff that the club should keep and stuff that could safely be disposed of. It is at this point I should share with you something that was raised when the Museum was granted charitable status. We were cautioned of the need to keep a clear distinction between the Museum and the Football Club the latter being a commercial organisation. This we will do but I think that what happened on the shows how Club and Museum have a symbiotic relationship. From the point of view of the club, much of the material was merely combustible material and a safety hazard. To those of us who value the Club history it is priceless. So by removing it we are benefitting the club and the safety of its supporters as well as advancing our own objectives. As regards the ownership of what belongs to the club I should say it remains the club’s property but is on permanent loan to the Museum. Every item taken away from the ground that belonged to the club was carefully photographed and will be logged.
At this point I will mention a few items that I have in my custody as a result of the day. Firstly, something that proved something of an anti climax: a Minute Book. At least that is what it said on the cover. Looking at it more closely, I believe it is actually the Minutes of a Board Committee as it seems to deal purely with issues relating to ground maintenance. Nevertheless it is central to the history of the Club and we would be very keen to lay hands on similar Minutes of Committees of the Board.
A second group of items related to Roy Onslow, who along with his brother Les played for Swindon during and just after World War Two. These included a couple of scrapbooks, a contract and a letter confirming he had been retained for the following season. Last but not least were a series of scrapbooks relating to the first half of the 1960’s. One of them struck a particular chord with me as it had on its front cover the very same picture of Ernie Hunt scoring the club’s first ever goal in what was then called Division Two but was the equivalent of the Championship. I would love to know who put them together. Like me, they must have spent hours cutting out and sticking newspaper cuttings not to mention Cup Final programmes in to these books.
These leads me on to something I would like to make clear to anyone thinking of donating an article to the Museum that either belonged to them or was left to them. We will keep it and save it for posterity. A Trustee is by its very definition someone you can trust. Rest assured all the Museum Trustees are totally committed to preserving the heritage of Swindon Town but in doing so we will always respect the desires of the people who own them. In this regard can I ask the person who made or donated the scrapbooks and or the relative of Roy and Les Onslow, whatever you wanted when you placed the item in to the care of Swindon Town FC your wishes will be respected.
Finally, three things I am looking for: 1. Old Minute books or Committee papers 2. Medals won by Swindon players (you may not wish to part with them but we would just like to know where they are 3. In all probability is in a landfill site that is if it has not been melted down. In team pictures from the early fifties, a plaque commemorated Swindon players who had lost their lives serving in the armed forces can be seen above the entrance to the Players Tunnel. It is just possible a demolition worker took it away not wanting to see it destroyed. If that person was your grandfather please let us know. After so many years it is an incredibly long shot but given the fact that the Dubonnet Cup one of the Crown Jewels of the Club turned up in someone’s back garden you never know.
Finally a word on behalf of Andy, the Chair of the Supporters Club and a fellow Trustee, who is leading on the project of building a collection of club programmes. Although interested in anything before 1950 we have managed to acquire most programmes post 1960. Do please, if you are undecided whether to throw programmes out or not to ask us first. Andy will be able to tell you if we have it in our collection or if we could use it for some other purpose. If you have any questions about the Museum or have any items you think we would be interested in knowing about please email me on email@example.com