Many of our match going supporters walk through Brompton Cemetery on their way to Stamford Bridge, the underbelly of the rear of the East Stand visible on western side of this famous place of rest. In a pre-match ritual, many will also pass by the centrally located memorial to our founding director Augustus ‘Gus’ Mears and perhaps offer a moment of reflection and a quick prayer for a good game and a positive result.
Gus Mears, and the many Mears family members who have followed him, are considered to be a name highly associated with Chelsea Football Club. But with so much history since 1905 it is no surprise that Brompton Cemetery is the last resting place of many who have graced and influenced our club since those early days.
Back in 2016 the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) organised its first clear up session of Chelsea related graves and has made regular visits since, including a spring bulb planting session the following year in 2017. Unfortunately, mainly due to the Covid pandemic lockdown, we have not made the trip in a long while but took the opportunity during the break for the World Cup and organised a return on 19th November 2022.
Meeting at the North entrance nearest West Brompton station, we began our tidy up tour starting with the closest plot, that of Jack Whitley.
Here's a photo record of a productive and interesting day.
Thank you to everyone who came along to help out: Cliff Auger, Debs Coady, Rick Glanvill, Jan Goodman, Tim Rolls, Dean Silsby and Nathan Whitehouse. Also grateful thanks to Chelsea FC for providing all the gardening tools for the day. And thanks to Nathan and Debs for the photos.
In 2017 the CST set up a crowd funding campaign to provide a memorial to Jack Whitley, a former long serving first team player and trainer who had specifically asked to be laid to rest at Brompton. The unmarked site of his burial was discovered by official Chelsea historian and Chelsea Heritage Partner (CHP), Rick Glanvill (pictured above, third right). Jack’s story can be found here.
John Henry Maltby
A founding director of the club, whose brief history can be found here.
Richard ‘Dick’ Foss
Former player in the 1930s and 1940s who went on to be a youth team manager.
Alfred Frederick Janes
Landlord of the Rising Sun pub where Chelsea FC was formed, as well as club director from 1905 to 1926.
William Claude Kirby and John Ernest Claude 'Jack' Budd
Founding director (1905-35) and Director (1931-52), Jack Budd was the ward of the Kirbys, taken in when his parents (who Kirby had lodged with previously) died.
Henry Augustus 'Gus' Mears
Founding Director of Chelsea FC, the club formed on 10th March 1905 in a meeting at the Rising Sun pub (currently the Butchers Hook). Some further information here.
John Edward Borrows
Alfred William Worcester
Former groundsman at Stamford Bridge who died in 1940 aged 57. Another grave identified by Nathan Whitehouse and the Chelsea Graves Society.
Robert 'Bobby' Campbell
Former manager, and much loved.
Look out for news of our next trip, probably some time next spring.