Footy and underwear

THIS week, Peeps into the Past focuses on bygone Byfleet – specifically its football team and the women’s underwear factory that was located in the village.

Reader Graham Osborn emailed the pages of a Byfleet Football Club programme from 1950. It belongs to his friend Mike Way who lived in Rectory Lane, Byfleet when he was young. Mike found the programme among his late father’s belongings.

One of many corsets made at the Flexees factory in Byfleet

The programme was for a Surrey Senior League match against Camberley on Saturday, 14 January 1950. We do not know the result, but a league table in the programme showed Byfleet in sixth place, with Camberley bottom.

A report of Byfleet’s previous match was also printed in the programme – a nine-goal thriller with The Fleet as they were nicknamed beating Chertsey Town 5-4.

Pages from the programme for the Bylfeet FC match against Chertsey Town in 1950

The Byfleet squad for the game against Camberley comprised Gerry Merrett (goalkeeper), Jim Beuschier, Wally Randall, Les Hazeldene, Bill Whyte, Bill Muir, Jeff Sherborne, George Inkpen, Evan Nichols (captain), Dennis Jacobs and Geoff Godding.

The club’s officials were JR Hodgson, president; L Leitch, honorary secretary; JK Cheeseman, honorary assistant secretary; A Snook, honorary treasurer.

The programme included a message thanking the Byfleet supporters’ club for providing new strip for the team.

The message said: “They have purchased – at a cost of £30 – two sets of shirts (one set of red and white and a ‘change’ set of amber and black), white shorts, two dozen pairs of stockings and a goalkeeper’s jersey. This gear was certainly badly needed, and will be so much appreciated by the players. The Senior XI will probably be wearing their ‘new red and white look’ next Saturday, at Leatherhead.”

Copies of the programme were generously emailed to the News & Mail by reader Graham Osborn

Local businesses advertising in the programme included Vision Radio and Cycle Stores, Chuter’s Garage, The Scotch Cafe, butcher JL Venn, gent’s hairdresser FV Hawdon, baker S Pickering, confectioner and tobacconist F Elkins, and Binfield Printing Co, who printed the programme.

Graham has been trying to find out details of Byfleet FC’s exploits back in the 1950s, but hasn’t had any luck. Can anyone help?

The Flexees of Byfleet label

Reader Susan Birchall emailed photographs of a corset made by Flexees of Byfleet in probably the 1950s.

In March 2020, Peeps featured pictures of the factory and its staff. Those images were supplied by Clive Munday. His grandfather, Walter Munday, set up the factory in Byfleet – it was the UK arm of a US firm. Clive’s father, Roy, was the factory manager.

Flexees made women’s underwear, and the firm’s slogan was “The World’s Loveliest Foundations”. Flexees Shapeware, a range of women’s body-shaping undergarments, is still on sale.

If you have some memories or old pictures relating to the Woking area, call me, David Rose, on 01483 838960, or drop a line to the News & Mail.

David Rose is a local historian and writer who specialises in what he calls “the history within living memory” of people, places and events in the west Surrey area covering towns such as Woking and Guildford. He collects old photos and memorabilia relating to the area and the subject, and regularly gives illustrated local history talks to groups and societies. For enquiries and bookings please phone or email him at: davidrosemedia@gmail.com

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