Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Arthur Latham, Derby County player & manager

Image © and courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

This postcard portrait, also sent to me by Cynthia Maddock, posed a few identification problems for her. However, after an equiry through an article in the Derby Evening Telegraph's 'Bygones' section, reproduced on This is Derbyshire here, Derby author Anton Rippon came up with the information that it was Arthur Latham, a former Derby County player in the early days of the club.
He was one of the club's early players when they joined the Football League in 1888 and became trainer when he finished playing in 1891. He was the England trainer on several occasions. He died in Derby, in November 1929.
The site Bygone Derbyshire, which appears to be an online version of the DET Bygones feature, has an article entitled, "Derby County: Plan Backfires" which has a photograph of the 1898 Derby County football team, the Rams, including a younger Arthur Latham. He is also mentioned in another Bygones article, "Derby County: Men who wielded the magic sponge":
One of the first ["men of the magic sponge"] at Derby County was Arthur Latham, who played right-back for the Rams in their early Football League days. By the mid-1890s, he had become the trainer and continued in the role until 1919. That was typical, for while players and managers come and go at an alarming rate, a trainer often stays with one club for many years.
Arthur Latham was born in 1863 at Coventry in Warwickshire, the second child of a silk weaver Thomas Latham and his wife Ann Fleeman. Shortly after he was born, the family moved to Derby, where they settled in St Werburgh's parish. By the time Arthur was eighteen, he was working with his father as a house painter and decorator, a profession in which he continued for most of his life. In 1887, he married Harriet Ann Adcock at Derby, and they were to have at least five children (four daughters and a son).

Image © and courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

The reverse of the postcard has a postmark showing that it was franked at 8 p.m. on 7 September 1912. The message, written on the same day and addressed to "Mr. J.J. Burnett, c/o The Elms, 40 North Parade, Aberystwyth," reads:
The County made a draw 1 to 1 but had the best of the game. Blackburn scored from a penalty kick. - Mrs. B. all right. J.H.S. 7/9/12.
The 1911-1912 season was the one in which Steve Bloomer, who will feature in a future Photo-Sleuth article, helped Derby County to win the Second Division title. Being at the top of the table meant that they were promoted, together with Chelsea, to the First Division for the 1912-1913 season. Blackburn Rovers had finished the 1911-1912 season at the top of the First Division, so Derby holding them to a draw would presumably have been considered pretty good form. (Not that I know much about football, but I can read as well as the next man)

The front of the postcard portrait has the studio name, "Treble, Derby," in white at the lower left, indicating that it was printed by hand on the negative. Edward Montague Treble had a studio on East Street, Derby from around 1912 until at least the late 1920s.


Adamson, Keith I.P. (1997) Professional Photographers in Derbyshire 1843-1914, Supplement No. 118 to The PhotoHistorian, September 1997, ISSN 0957-0209.
Trade Directories on microfiche from the Derbyshire Family History Society (Collection of Brett Payne):
"Postcard Picture was Rams Player", on This Is Derbyshire, from The Derby Evening Telegraph, 25 August 2008
"Derby County Plan Backfires" and "Derby County: Men who wielded the 'Magic Sponge'", on Bygone Derbyshire, from The Derby Evening Telegraph
Index to GRO Birth, Marriage & Death Indexes from FreeBMD
International Genealogical Index (IGI) from the LDS Church's FamilySearch database
Indexed 1841-1901 UK Census Images from Ancestry


  1. I particularly liked your posting on Mr. Latham. I appreciated the football history and his association with it. It reminded me that I have a wealth of newspaper clippings of my father-in-law's high school and college football career. He was something of a "big shot" in those days - late 1930s. His high school sweetheart had kept a scrapbook of every game he was in, I believe, and gave it to him in his later years only shortly before he died. Thank you for your articles. I feel I learn something new everytime I read one of your posts.

    I was just wondering how they got that white notation on the photo's lower left corner when you explained it in the next sentence!

  2. Thank you, Judith, for your kind comments. It's nice to hear from those who read the blog and get something from the articles on it, partly because it's good to know your work is appreciated, but also because I learn so much from those who do get in touch.

    I'm not much of a football fan, but I can usually find something to interest me in almost any topic, and hopefully I am able communicate some of that inquisitiveness in the process of writing the articles.

    Regards and best wishes, Brett


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