Time Out Living gallery heading 1901: Living at the Time of the Census Living in 1901
SportEntertainmentWhat to Wear*  


The cup final
In April 1901, Hotspur FC (later Tottenham Hotspur), then a club of the Southern League, beat Sheffield United of division one by 3-1 in the cup final, after a replay at Burden Park, Bolton. The first game, a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace, saw the first six-figure attendance for a football match - 114, 815 spectators.

The F.A. cup final, 1901 - link to an enlarged version
The first video replay?
On the Monday after the replay, the 'Spurs' (Hotspur FC) showed animated pictures of both games to the accompaniment of the Tottenham Brass Band. The pictures proved conclusively that the referee had been wrong to award Sheffield their second goal in the first match, a decision that was to haunt him for the rest of his career. The advertisement for the event declared: 'If the Spurs win the cup a grand display of fireworks will conclude the entertainment', introducing the possibility (well known to the watchers of football highlights ever since) that the result in the pictures might be different from the one on the pitch.

Too much football?
The cup final attracted the censure of the church: the Bishop of Wakefield spoke of football watching as 'idolatry'. Henry Leach, writing in George R. Sims' Living London, commented:

Nowhere is there such enthusiasm as at Tottenham, where the bands play and the spectators roar themselves hoarse when goals are scored, and betake themselves in some numbers to the football hostelries when all is over to fight the battle once again. It is a football fever of severe form which is abroad at Tottenham.
Watch a film clip Watch the crowds at a football match.

Table tennis
While football seemed to be developing into an unhealthy obsession, the new game of table tennis was identified as a passing fad. The Times correspondent reported the popularity of the new sport of ding-dong, ping-pong or table tennis, whose first championships were held in December 1901. He was plainly irritated by the prospect of having to watch hours of the new sport:
'Ding-Dong, the fashionable table tennis' - link to an enlarged version

'The ping-pong of the diminutive parchment or vellum rackets was heard incessantly all afternoon.' Although he was impressed by a 13 year old boy, who came third with 'cat-like…agility', his final verdict was damning: 'One is inclined to think that a game at which a child can compete on equal terms with grown men cannot make much of a claim to be considered anything but an occupation for the idlest, slackest hours'.