St Helen’s ArchivePreserving the past for the future



Object ID



Other - Guest

Rights Holder

Dai Richards - Rugby Relics


Dai Richards


1905 - 1907


This item is a guest item, appearing on our website for a limited time. See this spot each month to discover something new...

This sample of collected ‘thumb-o-graphs’ shows eleven former Swansea RFC players recorded alongside their autographs between 1905 and 1907. In the order of the images in the gallery above, the players (alongside the dates they played for Swansea) are:

Frank “The General” Gordon: 1894 - 1906

Dick Jones: 1899 - 1910
Dicky Owen: 1899 - 1912
Fred Scrine: 1895 - 1901

Jack Bancroft: 1905 -1914

Billy “Willie” Trew: 1898 - 1913

Will Joseph: 1899 - 1906

Aubrey Smith: 1900 - 1901

Ivor Morgan: 1905 - 1912

Willie Arnold: 1903 - 1904
Dai “Port Tennant” Davies: 1901 -1912

The further stories of all players found here can be found on our website. Please feel welcome to search the collection to find out more.

This sample was graciously provided by Dai Richards of Rugby Relics. On his website, you can find images of the whole collection of thumb-o-graphs taken during this period, among many more items. Dai can be found at:


‘Returning home from a trip to London on October 1 1905, Frederick Bradford had as always tucked away a little present for each member of his family, wife Sara received a large bunch of flowers, daughter Elsie waited her turn and was overjoyed with her novelty booklet in which to collect 'thumbographs'. 22 year old Elsie soon set about collecting the thumb prints of family and friends. The Bradfords of the Uplands, Swansea were first to add their prints and autographs, Elsie was delighted with her new acquisition and set about gaining more thumb-o-graphs…’ (Dai Richards - Rugby Relics)
Thanks to Frederick Bradford’s former role as Mayor of Swansea, he and Elsie attended matches at St Helens where Elsie was able to collect the thumb-o-graphs we can see today.


Guest Spot, Guest, thumb, thumbograph, thumb-o-graph, Swansea RFC, Swansea, Frank Gordon, Dick Jones, Dicky Owen, Fred Scrine, Jack Bancroft, Billy Trew, Will Joseph, Aubrey Smith, Ivor Morgan, Willie Arnold, Dai Davies, Dai Port Tennant Davies, Rugby Relics


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