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🧢 Latest deposit for club Museum: Victorian cap won by Exeter City’s first Professional Manager on this day – 124 Years Ago

7 March 2024

Club News

🧢 Latest deposit for club Museum: Victorian cap won by Exeter City’s first Professional Manager on this day – 124 Years Ago

7 March 2024

The newest deposit in Exeter City Football Club’s museum is a rare Victorian cap.

It is even older than our Club. The cap was awarded on this day in 1900 to Arthur Chadwick, who later became the Grecian’s first professional Manager. St Sidwell’s United were formed one year later, in 1901, before changing their name to Exeter City in 1904.

The special item is now in the museum collection thanks to links forged with the Chadwick family after the museum restored Arthur’s grave in Higher Cemetery, Heavitree.

But first back to 1900 and how the cap was won.  Chadwick was then a successful half back with Southampton, a top Southern League team. Born in 1875 at Baxenden in Church near Accrington, Arthur played locally for Church and Accrington before joining Football League club Burton Swifts, where he made 55 league appearances. From here he joined Southampton in 1897. 

It proved a brilliant move as Chadwick helped the Saints to league titles in 1897/8, 1898/9 and 1900/1. He also played in the 1900 FA Cup Final when Southampton lost to First Division Bury.


Not surprisingly as a key part of the defence Arthur drew the attention of England selectors and was picked for the international trial match held on 7 March 1900. He played for The South in a thrilling 4-4 draw with The North in front of an estimated eight to ten thousand crowd at Crystal Palace. Caps embroidered with the 1899-90 season date were awarded and a photograph survives of Chadwick proudly wearing his cap.

Arthur excelled, scoring a goal and won this praise from the Morning Post ‘Chadwick, of Southampton, was far and away the best half-back on the field’.  As a result, Arthur was picked for two of the subsequent Home International fixtures – a 1-1 draw against Wales in Cardiff and a 4-1 defeat to Scotland at Celtic Park in front of 63,000.

Chadwick later joined Portsmouth (picking up another Southern League title), Northampton and Accrington Stanley before joining Exeter as a Player/Manager in 1908. He was City’s first professional manager recruited to help the Grecians as they joined the Southern League.

Arthur soon put his stamp on the club bringing seasoned professionals in, mainly from the north. He also had an eye for local youth and gave legendary goalkeeper Dick Pym a first team slot. It wasn’t until 1922 that Chadwick stood down giving him an unparalleled 14 years at the helm. By then he had overseen Exeter’s debut in the Football League in 1920.


He later managed Reading and Southampton before retiring back to Exeter. He died on 21 March 1936 while watching City’s game with Clapton Orient in the Old Grandstand.

During Lockdown it was noticed that the grave of Arthur and his wife Winifred had become overgrown and dilapidated.  The ECFC museum with donations from City Supporter Groups and Southampton FC restored the grave and publicised the work.

This publicity led to contact being made with the Chadwick family.  Arthur and Winifred didn’t have children, but a niece, Winnie Manders, was still alive in her 90s and excited by the news, saying how ‘very impressed and pleased’ she was with the ‘wonderful job’ made of her uncle’s grave. She was happy to share memories of her childhood spent staying in Exeter with the Chadwicks at 66 Pinhoe Road. Indeed, she was born there as her mother was keen for an Exeter birth.

Winnie also revealed that Arthur had an additional burden to his football management. This was how she explained it:

“His wife, Winifred, contracted an illness, sleeping sickness causing mobility problems. I was told this was likely due to medical problems being brought in to the country after the 1914 war. It was probably the reason they did not have children and that I was special to my Uncle. Uncle Arthur looked after my Aunt and my parents looked after my Auntie after he died. All very sad”.

Winnie, who died in November 2023, had inherited a collection of Arthur’s football memorabilia, and the family decided that Exeter City Museum should have one of the caps. Great niece Zoe Willans, brought up in Exeter and a City supporter, presented the International Trial Match cap to the Museum last month.

A big thank you to Zoe and to the whole Chadwick family for this wonderful addition to the Museum collection.

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