The current Crystal Palace Football Club was founded in 1905. It is South London’s major football club and, if Dulwich residents want to see Premier League football, Selhurst Park is the place to go. ‘The Crystal Palace Football Club 1861-76’, by Stuart Hibberd, Chair of the Norwood Society, tells the story of a previous club with the same name that played at the Crystal Palace between 1861 and 1876. That club was one of the original founder members of the Football Association in 1863 and was represented on the committees that determined the rules of the game (local Allison Gardens resident Louis Sordiet was one of the attendees). The club competed in the first ever FA Cup competition in 1871-72, reaching the semi-finals where the team lost to the Royal Engineers. Out of 50 players who represented England at international matches in those early years, 16 played at some point for Crystal Palace.

Several of the players came from Dulwich - Walter Cutbill (in later life a Captain of the Dulwich & Sydenham Hill Golf Club) was regarded as one of the top fifteen forwards of the day and the Allport family from East Dulwich were also well represented. The club played many of their games against local opposition around the area - football was popular in the area, and both the Crown Inn and the Greyhound Inn in Dulwich Village had football pitches, and there were other pitches on Dog Kennel Hill, Dulwich Common and Burbage Road.

The book is full of illustrations and covers in detail the club players and the histories of the teams they played against. It also includes a section on other sports played in Crystal Palace Park at the time. The references and notes ruins to a total of 29 pages and is a superb resource for anyone interested in football in its early years. In addition, the book features extracts of the diary of Charles John Chenery who represented England in the first ever football international in 1872. He lived locally in Thicket Road, adjacent to the Crystal Palace.

The book costs £20 + £3.50 P&P and is available from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or through the Norwood Society Website