Thursday, June 30, 2011

43 Speeches, Women's Hockey, and a Frock of the Deepest Beige Lace

When I set out to write entries about Guy and Joan Warwick, I wondered if I should combine them or write about the two two separately. It seemed as if I was coming down to the last of the things I would be writing about here, so I decided on two. I wanted to stretch things out a bit before this drew to a close.

Then, much like the well-known finger being pulled from the dike, information about a number of topics has come rushing in, much like the flooding this summer in the Mississippi Valley, making it appear I may have a busy summer at the keyboard after all!

Last time, we left Joan, the manager, captain M. M. (Mildred) Knott, and the rest of the All-England women's hockey team at their port of arrival, Sydney, Australia, having just come ashore to waiting press coverage [above, left].

This time, let's rewind just a bit, back to Australia's anticipation of the impending visit of the All-England team. One should know that Sydney had hosted the 1938 British Empire Games that February [opening ceremonies, right], winning 15 gold medals (to 2nd-place England's 10), and 66 overall medals (to 2nd-place England's 40). Hockey was not part of the February competition, but one can imagine that Australians were feeling magnanimous and well-satisfied regarding the sporting world. Such attitudes would undoubtedly make them gracious and welcoming hosts.

Here's the first article covering the July 1938 women's hockey event, from The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), dated Tuesday 3 May 1938:


Last night hockey players made plans for the visit of an American hockey team which will arrive in Melbourne in the Monterey on May 20. The visitors will attend a civic reception at the Town Hall in the morning, practice in the afternoon, and have the evening free to rest.

It was announced that the Albert ground had been obtained for a match Victoria v. the United States on May 21.

For this match the Victorians will be - Frances Newson (captain), Dr. Girlie Hodges (vice-captain), V. Wilcher, D. Neibour, J. Stevens, M. McAlpine, P. Burston, R. Farrer, G. Bell, R Moore, and B. McGennan. This is the team that represented Victoria against a visiting English team last season.

After the match there will be a Victorian Women's Hockey Association party in the evening, and on May 23 one of the vice-presidents (Mrs. E. F. Herring) has invited the American girls to luncheon at her home.

English Visitors in July

Another vice president or the V. W. H. A. (Dr. G. Buchanan) reported last night that she had heard by letter from Joan Warwick, the manager of an English women's hockey team which is coming out to play matches in New Zealand, that the English girls will arrive in Melbourne on July 25 by train from Sydney, and after a few hours in Melbourne will embark in the Narkunda on their homeward journey.

Victorians will be interested to meet again J. Warwick, as she was in Australia in 1927, and also M. Collins, who was here last year. Other interesting personalities in the team are M. Knott, who has been captain of England for several years [pictured, left, serving as coach at James Allen Girls School] and N. Judd also a very well known player.

Is that article merely being polite, or is it possible that Joan Warwick had made the sort of impression on the Aussies that lasts a good decade or more? It seems so.

Also, I'm convinced that the sentence containing the phrase "after a few hours" was a mistake, the author meaning "after a few days." However, the team embarked on the Strathmore for their voyage home. I suppose it is possible the original intent was for the team to stay but a few hours, play a game, and hop aboard a ship almost immediately. Perhaps plans changed.

Here we find that the All-English team will be following an American squad into the land Down Under. Still, one senses a certain warmth of expression and remembrance in reading about the return of the English girls.

Fast-forwarding through to their arrival on 25 July, here's coverage from The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), dated Tuesday 26 July 1938:


Hockey Manager's Record.

"We had a marvelous time in New Zealand, and everybody was very kind to us and entertained us profusely, but I am most glad that there are no more speeches to be made to Mayors," said Miss Joan Warwick, the manager of the All England women's hockey team, which arrived from New Zealand yesterday.

"The team knows my speeches off by heart, and, after all, they should, as I made 40 of them and gave 10 broadcasts in seven weeks. We were given mayoral reception In nearly every town we visited, and after such consistent entertainment we are grateful that the Australian part of our tour is of an informal nature. We think it very generous of the Australian State associations to entertain us on our way home from New Zealand."


Miss Warwick said that the team was privately entertained in the Dominion, only being at hotels before the three test matches. "We were never in the same place for long. Mostly our stay was for two nights and then we 'hustled' off to some other place. It was a rare occasion that we were in the same spot for three nights or four. It was lots of fun, and the team enjoyed seeing so much of the two islands, but it made the tour very strenuous. It is very welcome to know that we have lots of free time this week, and will be able to see as much of Sydney as possible."


This is the second occasion that Miss Warwick has visited Australia. She was a member of the 1927 English team which toured Australia, and she has taken English teams to Egypt and the Continent. Miss Norah Judd, who was in the Anglo-Scottish team which visited Australia last year, la the only other member of the team to have been here before. Miss Warwick was very proud of herself for remembering so much about Sydney after an absence of 11 years.

The English team was met at the boat by several of the Australian Internationals, including Miss Tory Wicks and Miss E. Mc Rae, as well as members of the State Hockey Association. Several of the State had met some of the English girls m South Africa in 1930, and in America in 1933. Miss M. M. Knott, for eight years England's captain and famous right-back, received a great welcome.


The team will be entertained at luncheon to-day at David Jones's, after which they will visit the Ice Palais at Moore Park. Yesterday they lost no time In going to Koula Park, the zoo, and on the harbour. The girls intend to crowd in as much sightseeing as possible.

Five of the team are staying at the Imperial Hotel, and others are being entertained by Miss Camilla Wedgwood, Dr. Grace Cuthbert, Miss Kate Ogilvie, Miss Jean Sale, Mrs, Kidd, Miss E. Hollingworth, and Mrs. A. Holt.

The trip to New Zealand and Australia seems to have been grueling for the English girls, but rewarding. It certainly must have been the trip of a lifetime. The quotations above mark the leadership skills of Joan Warwick, serving as a graceful, polite, and articulate spokesperson for a group of young athletes.

It may be significant for us to know that Warwick, 40 years of age in 1938, was serving as manager, while Knott was playing on the tour at the age of 42. Was this due to the superb managing skills of Warwick? Could it have been due to the fact that Joan had suffered some sort of injury? Or might it have been some combination of both?

No matter, it's hard to imagine handling the travel, itinerary, excitement, discomforts, natural squabbling, competitiveness, nationalism, speeches, drudgery, packing and unpacking, and pressure from the press and local political figures, all while decorously representing one's country abroad, much more effectively than did Joan.

Still, the above article is not related to the actual games themselves. Let's take a look at the newspaper's 'scouting report' on the impending clashes between the women's teams, which includes the All-England team's complete roster, also from The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) of Tuesday 26 July 1938:



"The English women's hockey team, which has just completed a seven weeks' tour of New Zealand, is above the average standard for touring teams," said Miss Joan Warwick, manager of the team, when it arrived In Sydney yesterday. "Our defence players were particularly strong, as Miss M. Knott [right, again at JAGS] and Miss M. Collins are England's representative backs and Miss P. Lodge, is the English left half. The fourth international in the team is Miss J. O'Donoghue, who has taken Miss Marjorie Pollard's place as left inner forward for England.

"All the other players are first-class county standard and the majority have represented in the territorial matches. That is why I consider this touring team better than the majority that England has sent abroad. We will not be at full strength in Sydney, as Miss Collins, Miss Thompson, and Miss Naylor, are not remaining here, but we are looking forward to playing New South Wales."

Miss Warwick was a Member the English team which visited Australia in 1927. Miss Judd, another player in the team, was the Anglo-Scottish left back who played in Sydney last year. No other member of the team has previously been to Australia.
Miss M, M. Knott, who has been captain of the English teams which visited South Africa in 1930 and America in 1936, is regarded as one of the greatest back players England has produced.

Discussing the standard in New Zealand, the manager and captain said that it was difficult to assess the merits of the teams, as many of the grounds were rough, and good stickwork was impossible. They were not impressed by the positional play of the Dominion girls, and considered this a weakness of their game. "They play differently from us," Miss Knott said, "and often I was relieved to get my team off the field without injury, the uneven grounds and the rushing tactics of the opposing forwards being disconcerting."

The team agreed that it had had a wonderful tour of New Zealand, and had been royally entertained everywhere.

The English team will have its first practice at Rushcutter Bay to-night. It will play against, the Lustre team.

The team to play the New South Wales team at the University Square on Saturday is: Goal, G. Huggins; right back, M. M. Knott; left back, N. Judd; right half, O. Barnes; centre half, P. Lodge; left half, B. Fairgrieve: right wing, E. Shelmerdine; right inner, B. West; centre forward, J. Wright: left inner, J. Donoghue; left wing, J. Dowling; reserve, B. Rathbone. Umpire, J. Warwick.

Ironically, one thing we fail to glean from the press coverage of the All-England team's tour is the final score of the contest. What we do know is that great sacrifices had been made to travel on this tour. The news service caption for the wire photo used above, right, reads:

English hockey girls leave london for australasian tour

A team of English hockey girls, some of whom have sacrificed their jobs and in addition paid £100 each in fares, left Liverpool Street Station on the Riviera boat train to tour Australia and New Zealand.

However, one must believe that in the end it was all worth while. The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), dated Tuesday 9 August 1938, brings us coverage of the team's farewell:


To say farewell to visiting English women hockey players who will leave to-day in the Strathmore, members of the Victorian Women's Hockey Association gave a dinner party last night.

The party took place at Navaretti's, Collins street, and was attended by nearly 100 hockey enthusiasts The official table was decorated with deepest pink carnations in soft green pottery bowls. In front of each of the guests of honour was a spray of flowers and a gift of a V. W. H. A. tiepin.

The president of the Victorian association (Miss Sybil Taggart) who wore a frock of black lace under her cape of white marabou expressed the pleasure of Victorians at having the visitors here for a week on their way home from New Zealand. She especially welcomed the manager (Miss Joan Warwick) who was here in 1927, and Miss Norah Judd, who visited here last year.

In response Miss Warwick who wore a frock of deepest beige lace with a corsage of green flowers said humorously:—"It is with great pleasure that I rise to make my 43rd speech of this tour." She thanked Victorians for entertaining them and said that many of the team hoped to visit Australia in 1942, when the international tournament will be held.

Other speakers were the captain of the English team (Miss M. M. Knott) [right] who wore midnight blue chiffon; the captain of the Victorians (Miss Frances Newson) who had a sea-blue coat over her black frock; a vice-president of the association (Dr. G. Buchanan), Mrs. E. F. Herring, and Miss D. Lodge (an international player).
Also at the official table were the honorary secretary of the V. W. H. A. (Mrs. L. C. Wilcher) and the treasurer (Miss Betty Thorpe).

Among those present were other members of the English team, Misses E. Shelmerdine, O. Barnes, J. Dowling, B. Fairgrieve, G. Huggins, N. Judd, B. Rathbone, K. Thompson, E. Wright, and B. West, as well as Miss Marjorie Irvine, a life member of the V. W. H. A., and Miss Alison Ramsay, a vice-president, and various hostesses who have entertained the visitors at their homes.

Some members of the visiting team went on after the dinner to a dance held at Tudor Court by the Royal Society of St. George.

Yesterday afternoon the English girls were entertained informally at afternoon tea by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress (Councillor and Mrs. Edward Campbell) at the Town Hall.

Interestingly, the event involving the All-England team's send-off seems to have been covered as much like a piece for the Society column as it was a piece on sport. The resounding clash and clatter of wooden sticks around the field of play seems quite a contrast to the following array of frocks of "deepest beige lace" and "midnight blue chiffon."

Warwick, a noted figure in women's hockey of the era, later turned from speech maker to writer, co-authoring a book on refereeing women's hockey, a skill we saw above that she had exhibited during the match in Australia. From a website called Dotmaker: Books of Sports and Fitness we find this description of Warwick's text:

Umpiring for Women's Hockey

By E. Joan Warwick & Rebecca Blaxland

'Umpiring is fun! Those who start to blow the whistle can begin on a life of enjoyment that was never contemplated when they stood for the first time, anxious and bewildered with twenty-two players waiting for them to summon up courage to start the game. Once she is off the mark the budding Umpire can get so interested in her job that she finds her fun and exercise provided for her weekly and, as she improves, she may gain the coveted "B" and "A" badges of the All England Women's Hockey Association.'

Written by two "A" register umpires, this rare volume provides clear, thorough instructions on all aspects of umpiring – from positioning and offside, to the good manner and etiquette. Some charming illustrations by Mary Foxon.

Marjorie Pollard Publications, Oxford. No publication date. Boards. 52 pages.

While no publication date is provided for this edition, cites a publication date of 1971, and the publication date at Google Books is a ridiculous 1900.

We do know, however, that the text is listed among others in the Physical Education Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland's journal Physical Education (Volumes 45-47), published in the year 1953. We can safely assume the book was written before that year, while Warwick was residing in Peterborough.

Did I ever seriously expect to write just one entry here about Joan Warwick? We now find that even two has not been enough!

We still haven't reached Budleigh Salterton, or delved deeply enough into the success Joan found playing croquet later in life. And, thanks to the Croquet Association, we'll learn that, while hockey and croquet were the sports in which she excelled, she made significant contributions to society far away from the playing fields.

Lastly, as an aside, I'd like to salute the newspapers of Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore for making so much easily searchable historical material available on-line!

1 comment:

  1. "a frock of deepest beige lace with a corsage of green flowers..." Sports teams definitely don't travel in such style anymore. The dinner parties sound so elegant. :)