Dawley brothers gave the world lots of kicks

For years there was an aspect of Dawley's history which was given the boot.

Jack Simmonds was pictured at work by the Wellington Journal in 1962.
Jack Simmonds was pictured at work by the Wellington Journal in 1962.

In the heart of the town three brothers had a family business making footballs, which were exported around the world.

And it's quite possible that some of the balls from Simmonds Brothers were used in the FA Cup finals of the times.

While the football factory in Chapel Street is recorded from 1905 to 1937, Shropshire players were still kicking Simmonds' footballs around well into the 1960s when a nephew, Jack Simmonds, a retired Dawley postman, carried on the tradition.

For a bit of background to this once-famous local firm we can draw on a story carried in the old Wellington Journal & Shrewsbury News, of August 4, 1962, when Jack was aged 71 and, it was said, might be providing footballs for the coming season for Wellington Town – later to become Telford United – which was in the Southern League in those days.

Jack, from George Street, and his uncle Ted Simmonds, of Pool Hill, were the only surviving members of Simmonds Bros.

Jack Simmonds was pictured at work by the Wellington Journal in 1962.

"Fifty years ago the three Simmonds brothers, Walter, Jim, and Ted, made footballs for Spain, South Africa, Jerusalem, Malta, France, Egypt, Italy, India, and USA, where, in addition, they sent basketballs," said the paper.

"They also supplied some of this country's top sports outfitting firms. For some years the firm was among those which sent footballs each year to Wembley for the FA Cup final where the referee made his choice from those received."

When the brothers retired the firm was dissolved and Jack, who had become highly skilled in making footballs himself, changed jobs and became a postman.

"Since his retirement, however, Mr Simmonds has again shown his skill as a football maker and last year made balls for Dawley Athletic and Ellesmere football clubs."

Jack told the reporter: "I am confident that I can still make a football to equal any others."

He added that Simmonds Bros. made their name when they introduced as a patent the flat seam "which, perhaps owing to cost, is not used very much today, but nevertheless was said to be the best ball ever made."

An advert for the flat seamed football made by Simmonds Bros.

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