Shropshire Star

Emma's appeal over Blues players of yesteryear

Come on you Blues!

Priorslee Blues in 1900 showing off their trophies.

They were the Priorslee Blues, seen here, if the note on the back of the print is correct, in 1900, and by the look of things they were good times for the team, who are showing off a couple of cups and a shield.

Priorslee Blues in 1900 showing off their trophies.

They were part of a thriving footballing scene at the turn of the 20th century, with many teams in action which have passed into history and whose names seem quaint now, like Mr J Norton's Eleven, Wellington Ivanhoe, Shrewsbury Half-Holiday Reserve, Ironbridge Bible Class, and so on.

The picture of Priorslee Blues was emailed to us by Emma Desforges, who lives in Nottinghamshire, who is hoping Star readers can provide some information about the team, to which she has a family link.

"I have been searching my family tree and old photographs and have found a photo which shows my great-grandfather Isaiah Downing, with what I believe is the Priorslee Blues football club," says Emma.

"I am interested to find out anything about the club or if anyone else has photos which may show my ancestors."

The information she already has is scant.

"The photo has written on the back 'Priorslee Blues 1900.' My great-grandfather was Isaiah Downing and he is in the middle row, far right. As he is not wearing kit, I assume he would be a coach or in an other supportive role.

"I do know that he also played cricket and believe this was for Wellington Cricket Club. I don't believe this was a wealthy club and suspect these were probably miners and locals, but the photo may be of interest to other readers."

Her researches show that Isaiah was born in 1880 and married Emily Leyland in 1902 at Priorslee Parish Church.

"They had six children, who were Alwyn Mary, Cyril Arthur (my granddad), Cecil Ronald, Gwendoline, Lawrence and Derrick.

"I think they moved to Nottinghamshire between 1910 and 1920, and the family seem to have settled there, and this is where I still live. Of these six siblings, my dad was one of two children that then went on to have their own children. My dad died young in 1996, so I have very few people to ask about this side of the family.

"Isaiah was the oldest of seven sons born to Richard Downing and Mary Edwards. I believe Richard was a miner and they lived in areas called Moss, Wellington, Snedshill and an address called Open Row, Shifnal, which I understand to now be demolished.

"I haven't traced the family back any further than the 1800s but it looks as though for at least 100 years they were settled in Shifnal, Wellington, Lilleshall, Wombridge, and Priorslee areas.

"Any information any readers could provide on the family or the football club would be fascinating."

Emma prefers for her email details not to be published, so if anybody can provide any more information contact and we'll pass it on.

A dip into our files shows that Priorslee Blues were indeed active in the early years of the 20th century, and played in the Trench League, but for more than that... over to you.

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