Colourised Photograph from 1908 brings Southport Central to Life

Southport Central 1908-09 Colourised by George Chilvers

A Southport Central team photograph from the 1908-09 season has been given a new lease of life thanks to colouriser George Chilvers.

The photograph, which shows the team seated alongside trainers, committee men and supporters, was originally issued as a black and white postcard. The postcard includes the players names:

(Back Row left to right), Arthur Harry Gaskell, James Harold (Dossy) Wright, Tom Edmond (listed as “Edmonds”, Fred Spink, Jack Turner, Richard Orrell, (listed as “Orkell”), (Front Row) Hugh Pierce Roberts, John James Graham, Matt Brunton, Robert Lawson, and William Henry Gate.

The first time this exact line-up was used was away at Darwen in the English Cup Preliminary round on 12th September 1908. It is most likely that this photograph was taken on that day. The match ended in a 1-0 defeat for Central with the decisive goal for Darwen being scored from a penalty after Orrell was adjudged to have brought down Wilkinson inside the area.

The Formby Times remarked (19th Sept) that “The ovation given to the Southport men as they entered the arena quite outshone that extended to the Darwen men, and it was pretty evident that a good number of Southport supporters had accompanied the team.” It is perhaps little surprise therefore that so many can be seen in the background of this picture.

Thanks to Chilvers’ expert skills the players can now seen wearing their vibrant red and white hooped jerseys.

One of the oldest match photographs involving Southport that we’ve seen is from a Lancashire Combination Division 1 game at Turf Moor between Burnley Reserves and Southport Central on the 10th of October 1908. The quality of image reproduced in the Newspaper however is poor. Chilvers’ colourisation of the team photograph taken less than a month earlier really brings the kit to life.

George Chilvers, a retiree from Wigan, specialises in colourising historical sports photographs and has worked on projects for clubs up and down the country. Pictures have appeared in programmes at, amongst others, Everton, Arsenal and Charlton, and he has a regular feature in Wigan Athletic’s programmes. He has also produced book covers for books about Everton, Liverpool, Burnley, Newcastle and Bristol Rovers, and alongside John Dewhirst published “Wool City Rivals” a book looking at the rivalry between the two Bradford clubs.

Chilvers’ colourisation process is complex and time-consuming. He begins by researching the original photograph to learn as much as possible about the scene and the people in it. He then uses a variety of software programs to create a colourised version of the photograph. Chilvers is careful to use colors that are historically accurate, and he also takes into account the lighting and the environment in the original photograph.

Big thanks go to George for bringing this postcard to life in such an impressive way.