Do you have scrapbooks compiled by former Warrington Wolves groundsman Jack Hamblett?

Former Warrington groundsman and kitman Jack Hamblett

Former Warrington groundsman and kitman Jack Hamblett

First published in Sport
Last updated
Warrington Guardian: by , Sports Editor

A location of Jack Hamblett's scrapbooks has been identified, following a response to this appeal (see below). Thank you to all who have shown interest.

 

THE Hamblett family from Warrington would be grateful for the return of scrapbooks containing family photographs and historical rugby league images.

Jack Hamblett, the former groundsman and kitman over 60 years at Warrington Wolves’ Wilderspool Stadium, compiled ‘three big scrapbooks full of rugby pictures’ during his time with the club.

Before his death, it is understood Jack loaned his scrapbooks to various media outlets or rugby league enthusiasts and their whereabouts are no longer known.

The scrapbooks will feature pictures and newspaper cuttings between 1919 and 1979, including many of the great Brian Bevan and his teammates of the time.

These scrapbooks could well be in your workplace or home without prior knowledge of their correct home.

If you believe you have one of these scrapbooks, or knowledge of their whereabouts, contact Mike Parsons on mparsons@guardiangrp.co.uk and he can put you in contact with Jack’s son John, who has returned to the town after living overseas.

For the record, Jackie Hamblett came to Wilderspool as a young lad in 1919 to help out the then Wilderspool Stadium groundsman Jackie Parker.

The players soon realised that Jackie was not getting paid and brothers Billy and Tommy Cunliffe, along with Jim Tranter, who were Warrington stars of the day, soon formed a deputation on his behalf to see the club committee to get matters put right.

They emerged from the boardroom to announce to Jack that he was now on the staff payroll, and to be paid 4/6d for first-team duties, and 3/0d for 'A' team duties.

Hamblett was the official kit man, with the responsibility that the kit was washed and aired and that the boots were cleaned and repaired. Unofficially though, he was a friend and confidant to the players. He tended to all their needs, as well as having many a struggle with the old stand's rebellious coal fired boiler!

Nobody new Aussie wonder winger Brian Bevan better than Hamblett. He would massage 'Bev' in the dressing room to get him in the peak of fitness, and ease any worries the winger would have when bandaging him up for a game.

He collected photographs that were left in the dressing room, and put them in albums for future generations to enjoy.

On match days he could be seen watching the game from the top of the players’ tunnel.

As a tribute to his 50 years at Wilderspool Stadium, the club granted him a Testimonial, which included in late 1969 a reunion of current and former stars.

In January 1971, he was presented with a cheque for £542, being the money raised from his Testimonial fund.

He died in February 1991, aged 86, ironically just before Bevan passed away.

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