Despite the Club dispensing with it in the early 70’s, I had wondered when the old Borough Coat of Arms had been adopted. Some time ago, Michael Benwell asked me to contact the Shepherd’s Bush Historical Society for an explanation as to what it all actually means ? Then by chance, I happened to come across a home programme dated 7th September 1953, in which the R’s were playing Southampton and opening it up for a good read, I found to my surprise, a very interesting and a very descriptive explanation in the Editorial which goes as follows:-
“All very nice but what does it all mean ?”
That seemed to be the general comment on the badge which appeared on the shirts of our players for the first time last Monday evening. As mentioned in an earlier programme, the Club with the kind consent of Hammersmith Borough Council have adopted the Borough Coat of Arms as its Crest. “Queen’s Park Rangers” having been substituted for the Borough motto. Here is the official description and an explanation:-
Per pale azure and Gules on a Chevron Or between two cross Crosslets in chief and an Escallop in base Argent three horseshoes of the first and for the Crest on a Wreath of the Colours upon the Battlements of a Tower two hammers in saltire all proper.
The explanation is as follows:-
Azure, two crosses crosslets, Argent – for Edward Latymer, a citizen of London who died in 1626; by his will gave lands for the benefit of the “poore of the towne of Hammsmith,” and for the education of the “eight poore boys”; the Schools bearing his name are tokens of the good work still being done for the youth of this Parish by means of his munificence, the value of which can never be measured.
A Chevron, Or, three horseshoes – for Sir Nicholas Crispe, a native of this Parish born in 1598 who was a prominent figure in the public events that disturbed this Kingdom in the middle of the 17th Century, yet found time to be a leading man in the parochial affairs of his native place. Faulkner tells us that he was the inventor of the new way of making bricks which he introduced and practised here, where he caused to be made the bricks required for the building of the first Chapel of Ease erected in the Hamlet and which afterwards became the Parish Church. He gave the bricks and a sum of money also towards the cost of the edifice. With the consecration of this chapel may be said to have commenced the true parochial life of the hamlet. The art of brick making flourished in this place from that time until recently and provided home and sustenance to thousands of persons and fortunes to a few. Sir Nicholas Crispe also left by will, money for the benefit of the poor. He died in 1666 and was buried in the Church of St.Mildred in the City of London. On 18th June, 1898, his body was re-interred, with appropriate ceremony, in the Churchyard adjoining the Parish Church of Hammersmith.
An escallop shell – for George Pring, who was a surgeon at Hammersmith and was the projector of the Suspension Bridge but he died in 1824 before the project could be carried to completion, the bridge being opened in 1827; the building of the bridge greatly contributed to the development of the town by reason of the increased facilities it afforded for communication between the two banks of the river
Lots of heraldic terminology there but if proof was needed, that a badge is not just a badge. Much local history is also explained there and an adaptation of it was adopted by the Independent R’s. I didn’t realise that it also said so much about the development of Hammersmith and where some of the local names originate from. There has been a bridge there since 1827 despite the I.R.A. trying to blow it up three times ! Although it is still very popular with many Rangers fans, more than an eyebrow was raised in Paddington in 1953 as the following letter from the programme of 21st September reveals:-
“Dear Sir, – A report appears in the current issue of the ‘Kilburn Times’ that a future feature of the Queen’s Park Rangers kit will be the Hammersmith Borough coat-of-arms emblazoned on the players’ shirts and blazers. It would be as well to call to your notice before this step is finally taken that QPR was originated and nurtured at Queen’s Park and is therefore an essentially Paddington team where, I may add, the bulk of the Rangers’ supporters come from. As a Paddington man and a supporter for over 30 years, I in common with others, feel that this is a retrograde step and will alienate a number of the old supporters who, though the quality of the football has deteriorated, still support what to them is their local Queen’s Park and not Hammersmith Club.
An interesting response from the Club followed on:-
We do fully appreciate the sentiment which prompted Mr Edgeworth to write expressing his views but surely the Club must look to the future. For the first time in the history of the Club, we own a Ground and have no worries about being turned out by a landlord and it is a reasonable assertion to make that Hammersmith will be the home of the Club for the rest of its existence. By adopting the Hammersmith Coat-of-Arms, the Club naturally comes in for some criticism from older supporters but surely, in years to come, the criticism which could be levelled at the Club for not associating themselves with their home borough would be infinitely greater. It is true to say that our name is greater than any adopted emblem, for our name will ever keep alive the cherished place of the Club’s birth.