St Helen’s ArchivePreserving the past for the future

Match Programmes

Match programmes have been a much loved part of sporting events for well over a century. Once the teams have been checked, the seemingly transient memento of a day’s sport is often put in the pocket and forgotten about until the train or bus ride home, when it is devoured in detail to while away the time.

But these snapshots from the past are treasure troves of information as well as memories. They are sometimes annotated by the supporter with team changes on the day, which might be otherwise lost. They also have sponsors advertisements that tell us of local businesses, often long departed and often with a strong club or national connection.  Finally, there are articles inside, usually penned specifically for that issue. They don’t appear anywhere else and give viewpoints of former players and administrators, which we can only access now via these little time capsules that were stuffed into pockets on match day. In other words, they are of great value as both sporting and social records.

The collection at the St Helen’s Archive has been accumulated thanks largely to donations from supporters and the foresight of former club members who saved copes for the archive at the time. We also have a healthy reciprocal relationship with other organisations and some very early and valuable originals have been donated or swapped with other clubs and with the WRU.

By collating the match programme collection, we can encourage donation of programmes to fill the gaps and also enable researchers to use the list as an index to aid their studies. Our collection currently numbering nearly 2,000, features programmes and anniversary publications from as far back as 1900 to the present day. The style,  content and number of pages have changed greatly over the years but there is still always something new to find out when opening a match day programme. In this section you can find a selection from the collection as well as a complete recently updated list of the whole match programme collection.


A complete list of match programmes in the St Helen's Archive


6 January 1900 England v Wales


16 February 1907 Leicester v Swansea


3 March 1909 Neath v Swansea


25 November 1933 Newport v Swansea


17 February 1934 Swansea v Penarth


13 October 1934 Swansea v Richmond


28 September 1935 Swansea v New Zealand


17 December 1949 Swansea v Newport


22 July 1950 Swansea CC v Llanelli (Centenary)


18 November 1950 Coventry v Swansea


25 November 1950 Swansea v Richmond


15 December 1951 Swansea v South Africa


1 March 1952 Swansea v Blackheath


8 March 1952 Swansea v Bath


5 April 1952 Pontypool v Swansea


31 January 1953 Swansea v Plymouth Albion


26 April 1972 Carwyn James XV v Barry John XV


29 May 1982 Zimbabwe v Swansea