A ‘treasure chest’ of Exeter City Football Club’s history has been launched at a big gathering of former players at St James ParkThe event today (Saturday 22 October) saw the official unveiling of The Grecian Archive – an on-line resource packed with items from Exeter City’s heritage.
The Archive has been overseen by the Exeter City History Group, a Supporters Trust initiative, and delivered and hosted by its partner the University of Exeter with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Archive can be visited at: http://grecianarchive.exeter.ac.uk
Around 50 past players were present to hear about the Archive and in particular its comprehensive A-Z section which documents the careers of all 1237 Grecians who are known to have played for the Club.
Much of the information on each player was based on the work over many years of City historian Mike Blackstone. This has now been updated by volunteers and it is hoped that players, families, fans and others will add to the body of knowledge.
A growing part of the Archive is collections of memorabilia given or lent to the History Group. Over twenty collections are now displayed on the website. The most recent one has been provided by the granddaughter of Robert Wallace, a player who sadly died in 1938 after failing to recover from an operation on an abscess on his forehead. The collection includes photos and letters sent to his family by the Club after his death.
There are already over 2600 individual images on the Archive including six 3D scans of memorable items (a ball brought back from Argentina by Dick Pym in 1914 and a pair of Arnold Mitchell’s football boots stand out). Over 250 historic match photos are there to be seen as are many old match programmes.
A special part of the site contains items relating to the history of St James Park. This has been funded with the help of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Historic and contemporary photos and films about the much loved stadium are being added throughout the year long project.
Thousands of people have already visited the site in the run up to the official launch and after the UK most hits have come from USA, Brazil, Australia and Canada. There have been visitors from 77 countries so far this year.
Launching the Archive, Paul Farley, Chairman of the Exeter City History Group said “The Archive is a wonderful treasure chest of memorabilia from Exeter City’s fascinating history. It is very appropriate to officially unveil it in front of so many former players as they are the ones who are centre stage in our past.
“We are extremely grateful to the University of Exeter and in particular Professor Gabriella Giannachi and Will Barrett for their work on the Archive. Also to the many University students and Exeter City supporters who have volunteered on the project. We would love others to volunteer too.
“Today is just a start. We intend to keep adding to the site and welcome any contributions of materials. Please check out your cupboards and lofts – you never know what might be in there.”