Tyne & Wear

More than a game: A history of male and female football stars of South Tyneside

The Palmers Munitionettes women's team in 1919 Image copyright IWM
Image caption Several football teams for women were founded during World War One. The Palmers Munitionettes - the Tyne, Wear and Tees Munitionettes’ Cup winners of 1919 - featured Mary Lyons (front row, middle)

An exhibition on the history of football in south Tyneside - featuring a rare 100-year-old photo of a cup winning women's team - has opened.

More than a Game showcases memorabilia, cups, kits and photos from the 19th Century to present day.

Highlights include a cartoon of tough player "Bumper" Towell and a snap of a women's cup winning team with England player Mary Lyons from 1919.

The free exhibition is at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

Cigarette cards of South Shields FC players George Lillycrop in 1922 (left) and goalkeeper Peter Shevlin in 1928 (right) Image copyright TWAM
Image caption These colourful cigarette cards of local players from the 1920s were much sought-after

Curator Adam Bell said: "This has been a fascinating exhibition to research and put together.

"A real passion for football bonds communities and generations - much like the industries that created these communities.

"It has been fantastic to meet people willing to share their memorabilia and contribute their own reminiscences."

More than a Game celebrates the centenary of South Shields FC's entry to the Football League and charts the history of the local team, which was first founded in 1888 and has gone through various incarnations.

Cartoon from 1921 about "Bumper Towell" and a game between Jarrow and Darlington Image copyright The Sunday Sun
Image caption This cartoon featured in the Sunday Sun in 1921 poked fun at Jarrow player Bumper Towell

During World War One, many munitions factories set up football teams for female employees, including Palmers Shipbuilding Company in Hebburn.

Mary Lyons, from Jarrow, played for the Palmers Munitionettes and made her England debut at St James' Park aged just 15 in 1918 and scored in 3-2 win against Scotland.

She was and still remains the youngest player to play and score for England in a senior international match.

Programmes Image copyright South Shields Museum
Image caption The National Football Museum has loaned the exhibition programmes old and new

The National Football Museum has also loaned vintage football board games, as well as material associated with South Shields-born Stan Mortensen, the only player to score a hat-trick in a Wembley FA Cup Final - when Blackpool beat Bolton 4-3 in 1953.

On display is a cartoon of "Bumper Bill Towell" who played for Jarrow FC in the 1920s.

The show also has memorabilia associated with James Windham, who played for Jarrow and South Shields teams before captaining Boldon Colliery AFC on the eve of World War One.

Jarrow St Bede's School Boys FC Image copyright South Shields Museum
Image caption The exhibition features old school photos through the ages - Jarrow St Bede's School Boys FC circa 1921/22
Demi Stokes Image copyright The FA
Image caption Stars of the present also feature, including South Shields' Demi Stokes, currently in the England World Cup squad

The free exhibition runs until 12 October.

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