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The Everton Collection, Liverpool

Everton's ground, Goodison Park - this image is copyright free

In medieval England the Church was hostile to the chaotic game of football, which was usually played by huge and violent crowds across muddy fields between villages. But football survived in the closed worlds of England's most prestigious public schools, as an outlet for youthful aggression. When football emerged as a massively popular game in the late nineteenth century it became, in the opinion of some commentators, an alternative religion. Just as the early Church assimilated pagan religions and rituals rather than attempting the hopeless task of supression, the same approach was taken with football. As historian of football David Goldblatt writes: "In Birmingham over a quarter of all football and cricket clubs in the 1880s had their roots in the Church. Aston Villa were founded in 1874 as the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel team... The Church also provided the springboard for the formation in 1877 of Wolverhampton Wanderers. Similar routes created Everton from St Domindo's Church in 1874, and Bolton Wanderers sprang from Christ Church Sunday School in 1874" (The Ball Is Round P40). So Everton was one of many teams to grow out of the Church. And it is in football stadiums that many emotions once felt in churches are now experienced: "It is... this bounded emotional fervour, this seeing rupture from the everyday, that has led many to interpret football as a form of lay or pagan worship" (The Ball Is Round P907). Everton's ground demonstrates the Church link particularly effectively as St Luke's Church protrudes into the site between the Goodison Road Stand and the Gwladys Street Stand. Everton delays kick off on Sundays in order not to disturb services at the church.

Everton has a particularly interesting historical archive, known as the Everton Collection. This is housed at the Liverpool Record Office, and includes over 1500 photographs, over 1000 books, newspapers and magazines, 10,000 programmes and 800 tickets, club kit and fan memorabilia. There is also a complete collection of Minute Books, containing details of the Club's directors' meetings, from 1887 to 1964. The collection can be explored on-line at or you can see the collection at the Liverpool Record Office.

The Everton Collection is stored on the 4th floor of the Liverpool Record Office. To arrange viewing staff must be given 48 hours notice of your visit. You will need to become an accredited reader to see the collection, so bring proof of name and address. Any item which has been digitised and is available to view on the web site, will not be on display at the Record Office.

For Liverpool Record Office:


Address: Liverpool Record Office, William Brown Street, Liverpool, L3 8EW

Directions: William Brown Street is in central Liverpool, two minutes away from Lime Street Station.

Please note that due to redevelopment Liverpool Records Office has currently moved until winter 2012 to Unit 33, Wellington Employment Park South, Dunes Way (off Sandhills Lane), Liverpool L5 9RJ. For more information go to the Collection at Liverpool Record Office page at

Opening Times: Confirm appointment time when you ring.

Access: The street outside is on a steep gradient, but there is a drop off point, and level access within the building. There is a hearing loop at reception. Adapted toilet facilities are provided.


telephone: 0151 233 5817

web site:





©2010InfoBritain (updated 11/12)