‘From Highfield Road to Wembley Way’: Public Appeal

In April 2012, a new exhibition opens at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. ‘From Highfield Road to Wembley Way’ will celebrate Coventry City Football Club’s success in the 1987 FA Cup final. The unexpected win – the first in the Club’s 104 year history – brought together the whole city, who lined the streets to welcome the team back to Coventry. Whether you were a child, a teenager, or an adult; a staunch supporter or perhaps not even a football fan at all until that point; everyone remembers the day that Coventry City Football Club brought the Cup home.

Part of the exhibition will be dedicated to CCFC fans, and we are keen to gather their memories, stories, photos and memorabilia. A public appeal was launched in the Coventry Evening Telegraph and online from September 2011, and we have received a positive response so far!

Some of the memorabilia which has been offered for display include tickets and signed programmes from the final; a commemorative medal which was awarded to Coventry and District referees; a menu card from the celebration dinner held at the Club; and commemorative bottles of beer and wine. Home-made items include t-shirts, a scrapbook, and a banner made by Kay Preece (then Bridgland) which was displayed in the window of the Coventry Evening Telegraph. It is astonishing that fans have held onto these for 25 years!

Walsgrave Road house display

We are also building up an archive of home photographs. So far, these have mostly been of the Victory Parade through Coventry’s streets – which show houses decorated with flags, bunting, balloons and CCFC scarves. Sheila Basbrown sent us images like this of Walsgrave Road, as well as some of her and her colleagues dressed for work in ‘sky blue’ for the week running up to the final! Maurice Rattigan’s photos of his trip to Wembley clearly show the anticipation and excitement of the crowd, and the euphoria that followed. These photos are being uploaded to our Flickr site (http://www.flickr.com/groups/theherbert) and we are encouraging anyone else who has memorable photographs of the run up to the final, the final itself, or the Victory Parade, to do the same!

Crowds outside the Council House

It has been great to hear people’s memories, which really show what a momentous occasion the win was for the people of Coventry. Two fans have even sent us poems! Some of these memories will be featured in a short film in the exhibition. If you would like to share your story, please email us at skybluestories@theherbert.org. We would love to hear from you!

This post was written by Elizabeth Pratt, who is volunteering on this project.

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Posted on 31/10/2011, in Collections, Exhibitions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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