Chelsea Founders’ Day

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Chelsea’s 119th birthday was marked by club directors and supporters with the laying of wreaths on the grave of Henry Augustus Mears in the shadow of Stamford Bridge.

Mears, the main figure behind the formation of Chelsea Football Club, is buried in Brompton Cemetery, located just a goal-kick away from our stadium. Others who played a key part in the club’s founding have their final resting places in the cemetery too.

On 10 March 1905, in what was then called the Rising Sun pub on the other side of Fulham Road, they held the meeting when they agreed to start a new football club to play in a freshly built stadium.

Before Monday evening’s match against Newcastle, the closest to the anniversary, current members of the board, Barbara Charone and Lord Daniel Finkelstein OBE, met with members of the Chelsea Graves Society, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and other fans for the laying of three floral tributes in front of Mears’ headstone, adjacent to the main throughfare through one of London’s famous ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries which date back to the Victorian era.

Club historian Rick Glanvill was also present to speak about the club’s founders. The first chairman, Claude Kirby, and original board members John Maltby and Alfred Janes are among the others whose burial places are there.

The Chelsea Graves Society is a group of fans who work on tracing and restoring the final resting places of former players and others significant in the club’s history.

One such project led to the discovery and a new headstone for the grave of Jack Whitely, a goalkeeper and trainer in the early years of Chelsea history. He too is buried in Brompton Cemetery. 

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Dominic Rosso


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