The CST are committed to protecting and raising awareness of the heritage of Chelsea Football Club. As part of this mandate, we take a look at the work of Nathan Whitehouse and the Chelsea Graves Society.
We are the Chelsea Graves Society, formed by fans dedicated to tracing the final resting places of former Chelsea FC players and significant others associated with the Club.
My name is Nathan Whitehouse and in 2019 I had read articles about how Andy Scott had found George Hilsdon’s unmarked grave and Rick Glanvill had found Jack Whitley, and wondered how many more of our former players had been forgotten, I’d already seen the Celtic Graves Society and thought what a great idea.
I floated my idea past Paul Carter in a pub in SW6 but explained I had no idea what numbers I was looking at. Paul, using his website (www.stamford-bridge.com), supplied me with a list of 578 players who had made their 1st team debut for Chelsea before 2000, I was then able to compare a list of those who were still alive and the Chelsea Graves Society was born.
From the start I wanted our findings to be available to all and had the idea of plotting the memorial locations on a map so that anyone could see who was buried near them. I found that Google My Maps was the best free host and started plotting known memorials on what has become our Memorial Map which is unique amongst the footballing graves and heritage societies.
I was already a member of the Facebook group Bygone Chelsea 1905-99 and the admin team have been most generous with their help in getting the Society off the ground and promoting our work, and form the majority of the admin team for the CGS Facebook group.
I’d like to thank the following CGS members for their invaluable assistance:
Peter Wollaston is a proper Chelsea Anorak who has lived at the British Library for 40 years searching old newspapers for anything Chelsea. He has made his online library available to us and has focussed his research on our project.
Steve Lloyd, who trolled through old programmes posting up any obituaries he found and visiting cemeteries in his local area working on tips we had received.
The CGS research team, Paul & Peter mentioned above, Andrew Rowley, John Dalton and Robert Randall, who have spent the majority of lockdown making use of the extensive online resources for genealogists, finding new memorials but equally as importantly double checking our earlier research. We have been able to expand our research to former managers, chairmen, directors, non 1st team players and non-playing staff.
We also get a lot of help from other club’s heritage and graves Societies who have been most generous in sharing information. I would particularly like to thank Iain MacCartney of the Man Utd Graves Society for all of his help and encouragement.
Paul Carter has kindly made a launch pad for us on his website (www.stamford-bridge.com/chelseagraves.php) which links each player to their entry on our Ancestry tree, FindaGrave memorial and location on the Memorial Map. This is very much a ‘crowd research’ project so if you have any information you can share, or spot any errors we have made, please get involved.
The Chelsea Graves Society are very proud to have family members of former players involved in the project and their feedback has been very positive.
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die”