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History Society Acquire Antique Medals

One of the purchases belonged to club legend Peter Harris

6 June 2020

Pompey History Society

Three antique football medals – including one from championship-winning winger Peter Harris – have been added to the Pompey History Society’s ever-growing archive.

The society acquired the medals from a local collector ‘at cost’ and means they have spent more than £30,000 since being formed in 2015.

The Harris medal is made from silver gilt and was awarded when Pompey finished runners-up to Arsenal in the 1946/47 Football Combination reserve league.

The title was settled in a play-off at Highbury after the two teams had won their respective sections.

Arsenal won 3-0, with Harris making 30 appearances in league and cup for the second string that season.

He broke into the first team as a regular the following campaign and would star in the Blues’ title-winning years of 1949 and 1950.

The second medal, made from nine carat gold, was awarded to forward James Armstrong, who scored 15 goals in 34 games in the Pompey team that won the Southern League in 1920.

The story of the final medal – also nine carat gold – needed a bit of unravelling. Winger James Hogg was signed from South Shields in the summer of 1913, being awarded a South Alliance League winners medal for the 1912/13 ‘Championship Match’.

Not only was Hogg not at the club that season, but Pompey had also finished a distant sixth!

A bit of detective work by society members Chris Gibbs and Paul Boynton uncovered that Hogg played in this one-off game in October 1913, which was between the previous season’s champions Croydon Common and a league representative team, including Hogg, who won the match 2-1.

Pompey History Society chair Colin Farmery said: “Acquiring this sort of item is exactly why the society was formed and I’m delighted our acquisitions officer Mick Hall (pictured with the medals) was able to negotiate a very reasonable price for three rare pieces.

“Since the society was formed five years ago by a group of enthusiasts, we have bought a number of items, including the club’s original cash book, these medals and also solid silver replicas of the Division One and Division Three championship trophies, which now sit in the club boardroom.

"The society are now looking at further ways to raise funds and ensure our good work can continue."

Colin Farmery

“These purchases – the two trophies accounted for around £25,000 alone – have been funded by cash donations from fans, including more than £30,000 we received from PST community shareholders when the club was sold to Michael Eisner and another £5,000 we received from the Portsmouth FC Supporters’ Club (Central Branch).

“That money has now almost all been used up, so the society are now looking at further ways to raise funds and ensure our good work can continue.

“We have a medium-term project to commission a replica of the Division Three South shield the club won in 1924, but we need to raise another £15,000 to do that.

“As a society we are always interested in acquiring collections or items. Most of what we receive is donations by fans who simply want to see their heirlooms preserved and made available for the public to see, but if a piece is of particular interest, we do consider purchasing.

"We work in close partnership with Portsmouth FC and have supported the club on a number of heritage projects.

“Our shared goal is to eventually establish a permanent museum at Fratton Park to tell the club’s story in an engaging and interesting way.”

Currently the society are also managing a Heritage Fund project to tell the story of the 1949 and 1950 championship-winning seasons.

More details on the Pompey History Society and their activities can be found by emailing or following them on Twitter and Facebook.

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