24 August 2020
HOW THE HISTORIAN BEES SAFEGUARDED THE BEST OF OUR PAST
At the end of last week, Brentford FC announced that an auction was to take place of some historic memorabilia. With the move to our new stadium fast approaching, we’re offering fans the opportunity to own a piece of our history. Head over to our new auction site at auction.brentfordfc.com to browse the items available to purchase.
The lots include signs, turnstiles, dugout seats, Hall of Fame boards, sections of the Ealing Road barriers and part of the wooden seats still in place in the corner of Braemar Road. But how was this selected? Bees United take up the story.
In a piece published on their website, which can be seen in full here, Bees United, the Brentford Supporters' Trust, looked at how a group of Bees fans have helped the Club safeguard the jewels of the archive - including an 1895 season ticket - while giving other fans the chance to buy pieces of Brentford's history. Before launching an auction the Club needed to make a full inventory of what was in Griffin Park and the club’s storage facility. The first version was done by Neil Cooper, a Bees fan with a Masters Degree in Museum Studies, and it took him 230 hours. Neil is the son of BU Board member Ron Cooper whose devotion to the Club’s history is such that for many years he has been welcomed into Griffin Park to clean the cups in the Boardroom and The Hive.
Ron and Neil also worked with the family of the late John Pitt to transfer his extraordinary collection of Brentford memorabilia from his garage, attic and garden shed. There were three days of careful and sensitive work moving the objects into a safe space in the Club’s care. A group of historians were then invited to sift through the full range of items in the storage facility.
Paul Stembridge, a recently retired archivist, began photographing everything that was in storage, The Hive and the Boardroom and building on the original inventory, and with Rob Jex put the 1500 + pictures in a database with all the relevant details. Whatever was later decided to do with each item a photograph and a detailed description of it would always exist. Most of these are Brentford’s property but there are also personal collections detailed in the Bees United article.
Club officials were able to decide which were the most important items to be kept for future display. These include such gems as a ‘1892-93 season ticket and fixture list with gold foil emblem on front’. Everything else on the database was then made available for auction if the Club wishes to sell them and anything not sold can be removed knowing that at least a digital record exists.
The auction lots from the stadium features will start to close from 9am on Thursday 27 August and those from the memorabilia items will start to close from 9am on Friday 28 August. The Hilco team will then be in touch to organise the payment and collection of your items.