Herne Bay United Roller Hockey Club was formed on 9th October 1924 with hockey, dance and speed sections. It expanded rapidly and swiftly became the most popular and best supported of all clubs. Today it still flourishes as the country’s premier club with numbers and trophies won increasing constantly.
The club came about mainly because the existing Herne Bay Club had become too large and the ‘Second’ team wished to play in more prestigious competitions. The breakaway players soon established the Pier Pavilion as a home base and even requested one stand to be their own so that their supporters would not have to sit with the Herne Bay followers.
Over the next few years United quickly became a major force competing in, and winning, tournaments throughout England and continental Europe with regular trips to Belgium and France along with the occasional longer train trip to Montreux, Switzerland.
Although the war resulted in a number of lost years United continued to flourish with a peak membership of 468 in May 1948. On the rink the team continued to win tournaments but much to the chagrin of players and supporters alike Herne Bay seemed to have the edge in the regular ‘Derby’ matches. It has not been all plain sailing for United as the Pier Pavilion burning down nearly caused the club to fold. However, a few hardy individuals persevered to begin to mould the club into the success it is today.
Currently the club has teams at every level from under 9’s through to two Senior teams competing in the National Premier League. This is far and away the most successful period in the club’s illustrious history with the 1st team being the current National Champions, having won the league 13 times in the last 15 years. Couple this with the highly successful youth section and hopefully the club can make it to its centenary and beyond still at the top of English roller hockey and perhaps even challenging the cream of European roller hockey on a regular basis.
Email from Annette Cook on 10 January 2008
I was looking at your site, by accident really and noticed that you were looking for some history for the roller hockey. I just wondered if this information would be of interest to you.
My grandfather Henry George Sidwell was a keen follower of rink hockey and was at one time a referee. In a newspaper in the Herne Bay Standard for 7th July 1955 is the following article regarding my great grandmother Louisa Eliza Sidwell.
“At 84 Mrs Sidwell ‘mascot’ of Herne Bay roller hockey clubs is still the town’s most ardent roller hockey fan. The sports ‘grand old lady’ she is an honoured guest at every game and social function. For the past 36 years her cheery smile has encouraged Herne Bay teams on their climb to the top of the county and national league tables. She is vice-president of the rival Herne Bay, Herne Bay United and Whitstable Clubs and vice-president of the National Roller Hockey Association. Her two sons were keen players and her husband was a referee. After she was widowed Mrs Sidwell maintained her interest in the sport travelling to Switzerland, Italy and Belgium.”
Herne Bay Press of 24th July 1955
“Mrs Sidwell of 119 Station Road, Herne Bay is still an ardent roller hockey fan at 84. She was one of the speakers at the annual dinner of the Herne Bay United RH and SC on Friday and recently attended the annual dinner of their rivals, the Herne Bay RH and S C. She has become the godmother of all the roller hockey boys.
Mrs Sidwell first came to live in Herne Bay in 1919 from Lenham and took a keen interest in the rink from its reopening after World War 1. Her younger son Mr George Sidwell played roller hockey for Herne Bay United and won the Gladden Cup for roller racing. Her husband Mr H G Sidwell and their elder son Mr T Sidwell were keen followers of the clubs. The latter was a roller hockey referee and both served on the committee of the Herne Bay Club. Left a widow in 1936 Mrs Sidwell maintained her interest in roller skating and before the war went on tour to Switzerland (three times), Italy and in 1946 to Belgium with the local lads”
I don’t know if this will interest you but I thought I would pass it on to you.
Thank you, Annette. Yes all information about the clubs history is of interest and gratefully received.
Herne Bay United