Darlington Supporters' Trust presents:
Farewell to
Feethams online
The exhibition was supported by Darlington Borough Council and Northern Arts

Farewell to Feethams was a community and photography project to mark the end of Darlington FC at Feethams (1883-2003) - and the move to a new stadium. Forty new photographs commissioned from Darlington Camera Club were selected from 1,200 and more than 6,000 visitors saw the first exhibition in the Summer of 2002.

The show toured in the season 2002-2003, overlapping with the last match at Feethams on May 3 2003. As a footnote - photographs were also taken on the Feethams Finale day, and these are on sale from the Supporters' Trust. The photos should eventually be on permanent show at the new stadium. There was also a photo archive section of the show.


© Jim Lycett, Darlington Camera Club. SOUTH FOR THE WINTER: A classic panoramic view of the ground from the back of the South
Terrace - the old "Park End." Photographer: Jim Lycett. Sponsored by Colin Fletcher in memory of Lucy Fletcher.

"A wonderful opportunity to reminisce." The Northern Echo

"A rich photographic snapshot of football at the sharp end." The North Guide

"Well worth a visit. The 40 photographs are absolutely fantastic." Darlo Uncovered

"Not just a fantastic display of pictures to look at but also a very important part of the history of Darlington Football Club. The exhibition is simply a 'must see' for everyone. The Tinshed

The Discovery Centre, Bishop Auckland, June 12-28 2003

Green Dragon Gallery, Stockton-on-Tees, March 10-May 10 2003.

Greenfield Community College Arts Centre, Newton Aycliffe, September 23rd-27th 2002

Darlington Arts Centre, Vane Terrace, July 12th-August 24th 2002

The exhibition was organised by Darlington Supporters' Trust, in partnership with Darlington Camera Club . E-mail us for details of hosting the exhibition

  We're grateful for the financial assistance of Northern Arts' lottery funding.

 

Celebrating a stadium, 1883-2003

Fans saying their goodbyes to a stadium isn’t out of the ordinary these days. Football’s landscape is changing.

Wembley has succumbed to the bulldozers; within a few years grand old grounds like Highbury, Goodison Park and Anfield could go the way of Ayresome Park and Roker Park on the path of progress. Feethams may not be a famous name, but it’s special – to Darlington supporters and in its own right. Bordered by a river, park and sharing its home with a cricket ground - the last club to be twinned in this way - the stadium's setting has a unique charm.

People’s memories and the club’s history stretching back 120 years are tied up in it. Whilst so much in football has changed, in many aspects little at Feethams seems to have altered in generations.

Darlington Supporters’ Trust wanted to mark what is set to be an historic move to a new home on the outskirts of town later this year. It was a project driven by the fans, for the fans, with uncertainty of any similar commemoration being planned.

As a new organisation and with the clock ticking, we embarked on assembling a photographic record of the last few months of what was expected to be the last full season at Feethams. Black and white photographs have a timeless quality and we wanted to capture the essence of the ground, not only the fabric of the stadium, but the supporters, the match-day atmosphere and images behind-the-scenes.

Darlington Camera Club, itself celebrating its 65th anniversary, agreed to be our partners in what would be its biggest project in living memory. We presented the Camera Club with a tight timescale, not helped by bad winter weather which led to all home matches being called off in a six week spell!

Eventually, after the exhibition opened, the actual date for the stadium move was put back 12 months until August 2003. But we knew this would be our last opportunity for such a celebration of our home of football. The public agreed, with more than 6,000 visiting the show over the Summer at Darlington Arts Centre.

The exhibition wouldn't have been possible without the great enthusiasm and hard work of the photographers, led by Jim Lycett. A team of more than a dozen photographers took hundreds of images over four months. With a little guidance over suggested images we knew we'd like, we nevertheless wanted the photographers to have full artistic licence. Most had never been to a football match before, but all were impressed by the friendly welcome they received from fans and club alike. In return we hoped their “fresh eye” would bring something different to scenes familiar to us.

The 40 prints we’ve chosen, from 1,200 taken, together we hope represent the essence of Feethams in 2002-2003. "Farewell to Feethams" wasn’t to be a collection of sports photographs, more an artistic interpretation of a snapshot in time. Sadly, little remains of early archive photographs in official and public records, with much lost over the years. We're grateful then to the Northern Echo and to supporters for providing a reminder of Feethams past.

We also had an eye on the future. It's hoped the photographs taken in this project will be a new archive for future generations of fans.

Now Darlington Football Club has relocated to a new 25,000-seater stadium in Neasham Road, we are hopeful this exhibition will eventually go on permanent display in public areas of the new ground, as a link between the past and an exciting future.

Steve Duffy
Darlington Supporters’ Trust
www.darlotrust.co.uk

There are a few photographs and information about Feethams since it closed in May 2003 on the DAFTS website, as well as details about the new stadium, which finally opened in August 2004.

Exhibition programme

Meet the photographers - profiles and credits

Back to the past - archive photos, "Feethams Greatest Game" poll

Back to the past memories in sound and text

Darlington launch night, books event and memories book

Exhibition catalogue list of photographs

Feethams memories players from the 1940s-1980s

Feethams Finale photos from the final match

Over the last half of the 2001-2002 season, hundreds of photos were taken of scenes around the ground - the fans, the atmosphere, the stadium. The best from members of Darlington Camera Club are on display before the start of the season - and mark the move from Feethams to the new stadium in 2003. We've also assembled old archive images and sound recordings, as well as celebrating the stadium's history - as we look to build up the big picture of Feethams going back years...

"Feethams is special, is unique even. It is the last League ground to be twinned with a cricket club, a link which a century ago was commonplace…There are plenty of new and anonymous grounds with off-the-shelf stands. But there is only one Feethams." Simon Inglis' Football Grounds of Britain.

Photo sponsors

Peter Ashmore
J Bibby Agriculture
Nick Blake
Ted Blair
Howard Bradley
DAFTS members
www.dafts.co.uk
Darlington FC Supporters Club
Steve Duffy
Doug Embleton
Colin Fletcher
Vivian Hoffman (US)/Peter Stockill
Neil Johnson
The Language Service Ltd
David Lippett
Mark Meynell
Simon Meynell
The Northern Echo
Oerlikon Welding
Neil Raper
Reeds Rains estate agents
Iain Swalwell
Virtual Quakers
Tony Waters

Thanks and support

Phil Everitt
Paul Gannon
Simon Inglis
Ray Simpson, Frank Tweddle, Andrew Wilkinson
Hannah Taylor
Bonnie Davies and all the staff at Darlington Arts Centre
Peter Barron and The Northern Echo
Paul Compton
H Taylor's Pork Butcher's, Darlington
The board and staff of Darlington FC

You could be at home with a Feethams memory...

Limited edition fine art photographic prints from original negatives are available to buy from the Farewell to Feethams exhibition. The photographers are offering two sizes: Approx 15"x9" photograph mounted on 20"x16" conservation board (same size as the exhibition prints) at £110 each. Or approx 9"x7" photograph mounted on 16"x12" conservation board at £70 each. Contact: e-mail Darlington Supporters Trust and we will put you in touch with Darlington Camera Club direct.

 

e-mail us at darlotrust@hotmail.com Back to Trust homepage

As featured on:

BBC TV Look North, Tyne Tees' North East Tonight, BBC Radio Cleveland's Ken Snowdon Breakfast Show and Drivetime and Saturday sports afternoon show. BBC Tees Sport Online, The Northern Echo, Alpha Radio, www.footie51.co.uk, The North Guide
Supporters' Direct magazine, the D@rlo Uncovered website, The Tinshed website, The Herald and Post.

© Darlington Supporters' Trust 2002-2003