Geoff Wood from the Marlow Society suggested a page related to Alfred Davis on the 1924 Centenary of his death: he was Marlow’s most famous sporting figure in past times, both football and rowing. The above are not the crispest pictures in my collection but amongst the rarest, two complete with the original captions. In the early days of this column I mistakenly gave the date of Alfred’s death as 1927, having located the family grave in the Cemetery, now like that of the Higginson family in the churchyard, in very poor condition.

I remember taking a Brillo pad and uncovering lettering stating that Alfred Davis passed away in 1927. In fact this was Alfred Davis Senior who outlived his famous son. (I should have scrubbed a bit further!) Alfred Junior, who lived in the High Street, was a journalist by trade and secretary of Marlow Football Club during their Golden Years. The first picture from the 1903/4 season was taken in the courtyard of the Crown Hotel where the Club had their changing rooms, their playing pitch 100 yards away on Crown Meadow, now Riley Park. The faded caption may be hard to read but includes one spectacular result - Marlow 1, (the professionals of) Preston North End 0. The line-up includes Captain Ted Shaw, and the wonderfully named F. Hansombody, a master at Sir William Borlase’s School.

As well as Marlow Football Club Alfred became an official of the Football Association, and was chosen to manage the England team in the 1908 Olympic Games. All matches were played at the White City Stadium in West London and, under Alfred’s guidance, the English team triumphed, beating Sweden 12 -1 in the Quarter Final; the Netherlands 4 - 0 in the Semi Final, and Denmark 2 - 0 in the Final; goals coming from Vivian Woodward and Fred Chapman. It raises the question of whether the Manager received a gold medal as well as the eleven players (no substitutes in those days). If he did then, contrary to popular belief, he would have been the first Marlovian so to do!

Lower left is a Rowing Club group, exact date not known, but Alfred (arrowed) looks to be in his 60s. Of a few other names known, far left is John White from Bridge Cottage, and brother of Rowing Club stalwart Herbie, who took the picture. Alfred wrote the definitive history of the Rowing Club: there is a reference copy in Marlow Library.

Finally, a bowler-hatted Alfred was Manager of the Berks & Bucks Eleven who played in the County Championship finals at Brighton’s Goldstone ground in 1895. It’s another picture of Marlow’s Ted Shaw, the Captain, centre holding football. Other players are from Maidenhead, Windsor & Eton, Slough, Chesham, Newbury and Wolverton, but surprisingly nobody from Wycombe Wanderers who would certainly have been an amateur team back then!

Marlow were evicted from their Crown Meadow headquarters after the First World War by Edward Riley who had purchased it from the Crown Hotel, and they moved to a temporary pitch with very few facilities on Star Meadow. Alfred, as a member of Marlow Urban District Council, had earmarked a new site on some open ground off Oak Tree Road but sadly he passed away before an initial game could be played there. It is however named in his memory - The Alfred Davis Ground.

Contact Michael at or 01628 486571