The families of the heroes of Woolwich Arsenal

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By Tony Attwood

If you are a regular reader of this site, you’ll know that I have got very excited from time to time when we have been contacted by members of the family of those who played for the club, or held important positions.

In the last couple of days we’ve had three communications of this type, and I’d like to share these with you.

Top of the list is an email from a second member of the Jack Humble family.  Jack, you will recall, was the founder of Arsenal and the man who changed football in England.

He was there at the original meetings to form the Dial Square club, he played for the club, became a shareholder and then a director – indeed he is the only person who stayed with the club from the very start, through to the Chapman era.

But more than this, Jack Humble was the man who proposed that Arsenal become a professional team.  This was a huge leap forwards, because at that time football in the south was amateur, and looking to stay that way.  Jack, through that simple resolution put to Woolwich Arsenal, transformed professional football from being a northern-only game, into a national sport.

Here’s the email I received this week from Ed Humble:

Dear Mr. Attwood,

I have just read with great interest your article “124 years on let’s celebrate Jack Humble: the founding father of  Arsenal FC”.

Jack Humble was my great grandfather. My grandfather was Francis (Frank) Wilkinson Humble, the youngest of Jack Humble’s – I think – 6 children, and my father is William Frank Wilkinson Humble.

You mention in the article about the uncertainty as to whether Jack Humble really walked down to London.  My father tells me that his father told him this to be a fact, and I was bought up believing it to be true, but I guess it could be a family myth.

My grandfather was always very involved with the historical side of Arsenal FC and was in regular contact with the club’s museum curator Ian Cook, providing them with a lot of newspaper clippings and other information about the club (although unfortunately they did manage to lose one scrapbook but there you go!).

There is also a piece of furniture which was presented to Jack Humble’s wife called a chiffonier by the arsenal shareholders with a plaque inscribed “Presented to Mrs J H Humble by the shareholders of the Woolwich Arsenal Football Club April 24th 1907”.   I believe it was presented to his wife as you would not give a piece of furniture to a man in those days,

I have been wondering how/who to make contact with about my family history for a long time, and your article is the best and most informative I have read.  Obviously though I am keen to support your campaign to get the club to officially recognise Jack Humble and if there is any way I can help you with this, or if you have any questions that you would like me to ask my father, please let me know.

I would just like to conclude by saying how wonderful it is to know
there are people who hold my great grandfather in as high esteem as me
and my family do.

Kind regards, Edward Humble


And from Gillian Garnett

Joe Lievesley was my grandad.   My father Horace was also a very good footballer as was Dennis Lievesley for Aldershot.   I have a lot of memorabilia about their careers including things from grandad’s tour .


And from Mandy Kendall

My great great Grandfather was William Fairclough so I was very interested to read this information. Thankyou.


I am always excited to receive such emails, and to keep building up the profiles on players, managers, shareholders, directors and fans.   If you have any story or comment please do forward it to me (   We are planning a book on Woolwich Arsenal later this year, and all the information we have will be included in that, with full acknowledgements of course.

An index that is so untold you won’t be able to tell anything from it

An index of the players who played 100 or more times for Woolwich Arsenal

Not an index at all, but a book

One Reply to “The families of the heroes of Woolwich Arsenal”

  1. Jack Humble was my great great uncle and this was very interesting to read.

    -Michelle Humble

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