Hull City AFCorigins and early history


Thomas William Shaw

Born in Kirbymoorside in 1879, by the time he was 14 years old, the young Thomas Shaw was already working as a shipping clerk in Hull. His father was a railway inspector from Malton who, like thousands of other workers, had been drawn to the booming city port of Hull, with its thriving transport industries. ‘Britain’s Third Port’, as Hull liked to refer to itself, was experiencing rapid growth and industrialisation, and needed constant supplies of new labour and housing to continue its commercial expansion .

The family home in 1891 was 20 Grafton Street, a street of terraced houses, which links Beverley Road to Newland Avenue, and is located in the residential neighbourhood to the north of the city centre. This area was home to several other younger founding directors, namely messrs Andrews, Levitt, Frost and the Hay family. There are no documented sporting activities for the young Shaw, but he is of a similar age to the other young founders and it seems likely that their paths crossed on the streets or playing fields of their neighbourhood at some stage.

One certain connection is that in the early twentieth century Shaw worked for Sommerfield & Mead – a small granite merchant-on Princes Dockside, close to the commercial centre of the city. Here Shaw worked as a ‘managing clerk’, and in November 1901 Ben Crompton joined as company secretary. Whether the two knew each other previously is undocumented. Crompton at this time had become involved as an elected committee member of the Hull FA (January 1902), and the two work colleagues of a similar age would have had ample opportunity to discuss all manner of topics, including their non- work activities. Crompton was at this time involved with Hull AFC, who were playing their home games at Bull Lane, although his playing days for them were over. (He had played also played as half- back with Comet AFC , for whom he had also been secretary on their formation in 1899).

Possible connections to other founders may have been with William Gilyott and James Barraclough, who were both involved in storing and transporting goods for their respective companies to and from Hull’s docklands.

Shaw was one of the less prominent directors, but also one of the longer serving and more dutiful ones. His association with the City board lasted until 1921, and he was made a life vice-president, a year before his death after a long illness aged 45 in July 1922 at Sandsend near Whitby (his mother’s home town).


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