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9 December 2022

George Thornewell

Derby County FC

4 appearances, 1 debut goal

P 4 W 4 D 0 L 0 F 13: A 6
100% successful


captain: none
minutes played:


  George Thornewell
Birth 8 July 1898 in Romiley, Cheshire [registered in Stockport, September 1898].
Moved to Derby with his widowed mother when he was eight months old. Attended Peartree School in Derby and St. James Road School.
Baptism 2 August 1898 in St. Chad's Church, Chadkirk, Romiley, by P.A. Moor. His father, William, is stated as a railway inspector.

According to the 1901 census, George is the youngest of seven children to the widowed Elizabeth (née Fazackerley).
According to the schools admission log, George has started Peartree Junior school on 3 July 1905, coming in from the infants, living at 56 Lonsdale Street. He left on 3 June 1912.


According to the 1911 census, George is the youngest of three children living with their widowed mother, living at 98 Sutherland Road in Derby. His mother is a cleaner at the Railway Office. The census also reveals that George is one of eight children, and that one had died.
According to his RAF records, when he joined on 2 July 1918, he was a fitter living at 88 Sutherland Road in Derby.

"Wednesday. - Before Mr. R. Hudson (in the chair), Mr. S. B. Dickinson, and Mr. W. Malin.
"William Worthington, William Todd, and George Thornewell, all of Sutherland-road, were summoned for playing football in Sutherland-road on March 31st. - The magistrates said they would let defendants off leniently as a warning, and they were each fined 2s. 6d. inclusive." - Wednesday, 9 April 1913, Derby Daily Telegraph
Marriage to Louisa Mary Knaggs, at St. Alkmund Church, Duffield, Derby [registered in Belper, June 1921]. They had one daughter, Doris (b.15 March 1915, registered as a bastard)
  According to the 1921 census, George is now a professional footballer (for Derby County FC) and is now also married to Louisa Mary. They are visiting the home of the Simons' at Olive Villa on White Road in Cudworth.
"Mr. George Thornewell, landlord of the White Hart, Duffield [left], the Chesterfield and former Derby County footballer, had a narrow escape while motoring last night.
"On the main Derby-Alfreton-road, his car struck the gates of the railway level crossing, and rebounded, just before a train passed. No one was injured, but the gates were damaged." -
Thursday, 7 January 1932, Derby Daily Telegraph
"The 'Derby Telegraph' understands there will be a sequel at Belper Police Court to-morrow to an accident at the Coxbench level crossing a week ago, when a motor-car driven by Mr. George Thornewell came in collision with the crossing gates, wrecking them and causing the car to rebound out of thr track of a train that was expected.
"A summons has been issued by the Derbyshire County Police against Mr. Thornewell, alleging that he was under the influence of drink when in charge of the car on the night question.
"On the night of the accident Mr Thornewell was apparently going toward Alfreton, and should have reported for training at Chesterfield on Thursday. His failure to put in an appearance mystified the management, who were subsequently informed that he had met with an accident.
"Mr. Thornewell has instructed Mr. W. Mather, a well-known Chesterfield solicitor, for his defence." -
Wednesday, 13 January 1932, Derby Daily Telegraph
"An accident in which George Thornewell, who pleaded 'not guilty' and was defended by Mr. B. Mather, Chesterfield, was given the benefit of the doubt and the case was dismissed.
"Supt. Wilson, outlining the case for the prosecution, said at 9.25 p.m. on January 6th the level crossing gates on the Holbrook level crossing were closed to allow a train to pass, and three of four minutes later a motor-car approached from the direction of Derby at a very fast speed and, it was alleged, without slowing down, crashed into the level crossing gate. It smashed the gate and came to a stop on the line, but backed off the line again. Shortly after the train came along and took the broken gate with it. The crossing keeper went to the car and saw defendant inside, and on being spoken to Thornewell asked: 'How much damage have I done? I will pay for it. I do not want to stop here all night.' The crossing keeper told him that he was drunk and telephoned for the police. P.c. Pickering arrived at 10.30 p.m., an hour later, and he considered that the defendant was then under the influence of drink to such an extent that he was unfit to drive a car. Thornewell was taken to Belper Police Station and seen at 11.50 p.m. by Inspector Brooksbank, who also thought he was under the influence of drink, At 12.5 a.m. Dr. Allen examined defendant and he certified that he was under the influence of drink and not fit to drive a car at that time.
"John Joseph Fern, the crossing keeper, said the car stopped right on the line, and when witness went to it the driver reversed to get off the line. Defendant would have driven on if witness had not stopped him. Witness formed the opinion that the defendant was drunk.
"Cross-examined, witness said that it was a fine night. He agreed that the train came about a minute after Thornewell reversed off the line and that it would be an unnerving experience.
"Mr. Mather: Did it terrify you? - Yes.
"If it terrified you, how about the unfortunate man in the car? - I do not know how he felt.
"Can you picture the state of his mind? - Yes. I was not drunk myself.
"P.c. Pickering said that when he arrived he asked Thornewell his name and he replied: 'I have not got one.' Witness then told him that he was drunk, and defendant's answer was: 'No, don't say that. I am Thornewell.' Sometimes Thornewell was quiet and sometimes he was excited. In the lock-up at Belper he sang 'Land of Hope and Glory.'
"Inspector Brooksbank gave evidence that he told the defendant he had been drinking heavily and he replied, 'Yes, a drop too much.' During the doctor's examination he held himself fairly well, but after the doctor left he became worse again. He asked witness to let his wife know where he was, and witness answered that he had already telephoned to Mrs. Thornewell, but for twenty minutes after defendant kept shouting, 'Ring, ring, ring. Keep ringing.'
"Dr. R. C. Allen, Belper, said that when he examined the defendant at 12.5 a.m. he formed the view that he was under the influence of drink and not fit to be in charge of a motor vehicle. His speech was thick, muttering and slightly incoherent. When witness asked him if he had had any drink, he answered, 'Yes, no; no, yes.'
"Questioned by Mr. Mather, Dr. Allen agreed that the first thing Thornewell said when he (the doctor) walked into the police station was, 'The last time I saw you, you put this in,' holding up a finger which had been damaged and which the doctor treated some time ago.
"Witness could not say that Thornewell had a peculiar gait when he walked naturally.
"Mr. Mather: Have you not noticed his peculiar gait in football? - I cannot say I have.
"One of the tests Thornewell was put to, said the doctor, was to walk a straight line and asked to turn sharp right when walking the line. Dr. Allen admitted that he walked the line fairly well, and agreed that to turn sharp right when walking the line would be a difficult matter even for a 'stone sober man.'
"Mr. Mather told the court that Thornewell was better known than all the people in the court put together. He was a prominent football player and his character was second to none. On the night in question he stopped at the 'Fox and Hounds' and had two bottles of stout and he (Mr. Mather) did not think that two bottles of stout would make anyone the worse for drink. It was a very bad night for driving and he was on a strange road and ran into the gates when looking for a side road. Mr. Mather urged that it was a most unnerving experience for a man to stop his car on the line with a train due, and it upset Thornewell's nerves.
"'George Thornewell is too jealous of his good name, he is too jealous of his English cap and of his condition to jeopardise himself by getting drunk,' declared Mr. Mather, who went on to urge that there was a doubt in the case, a doubt which arose by the fair way Dr. Allen gave his evidence, and Thornewell was entitled to it.
"Mr. Mather stressed the seriousness of a conviction against Thornewell to his employment as a footballer and to his livelihood as licensee of the White Hart Hotel, Duffield, and he asked the court to say that the charge was not proved.
"Mr. Mather proceeded to call Thornewell and he entered the witness box.
"He told the court that he was always conscientious in his training and had never been the worse for drink. He was very agitated at being taken into the police station, but he was quite sober. He was on his way to Little Eaton, but did not know his way and stopped to enquire at the 'Fox and Hounds,' where he had two bottles of stout. At the time he ran into the gate he was going slowly and looking for a side road.
"Cross-examined, Thornewell denied that he sang in the cell, 'The Land of Hope and Glory.' He did not take the names of any of the people about after the accident to be witnesses for him.
"Supt. Wilson: If you had been sober, don't you think you would have got some witnesses?
"Defendant (after some hesitation): I had had a big shock.
"The magistrates considered the case in private and announced their decision after a consultation lasting five minutes."
- Saturday, 16 January 1932, The Derbyshire Times

"George Thornewell was fined 10s. for having exceeded 30 m.p.h. with a motor-car in a built-up area on Harvey-road, on August 28. Police-constable F. Ward said that he checked the speed as 38 to 40 m.p.h. Thornewell said that a racing car passed him, and he was discussing its speed with his passengers. This must have caused him to neglect looking at his own speedometer."
- Friday, 15 October 1937, Derby Evening Telegraph

"Mr. George Thornewell, landlord of the White Hart Hotel, Duffield, was fined £5 and ordered to pay £2 2 s. advocate's fee and £1 4s. witnesses' costs at Wirksworth Police Court to-day for driving a motor-car without due care and attention at Idridgehay on May 2.
"Mr. R.J.H. Cleaver prosecuted, and Mr. H.M. Clifford defended.
"Mr. Cleaver said that the case arose from an accident near Idridgehay Post Office. Thornewell came from the direction of Derby in his car at a speed estimated at 50 m.p.h.
"Thornewell went on to the grass verge for 48 feet and when his car came back on to the road it turned upside down, hit a wall, turned two somersaults and went on for another 30 feet.
"He submitted that the accident was due to Thornewell's speed.
"Richard Samuel Slater, of Over-lane Farm, Hazelwood, said that after the accident, Thornewell came from behind the car and switched off the engine - how, he (Slater) did not know.
"Thornewell said he braked down to 30 m.p.h. when entering the limit area at Idridgehay. He attributed the accident to his brakes 'seizing,' and maintained that the car did not turn over until after it had hit the wall.
"Mr. Clifford submitted that the accident was due to trouble with the car brakes, and not to careless driving." -
Thursday, 24 May 1938, Derby Evening Telegraph
  According to the 1939 register, George, a hotel proprietor, is married to Louisa M. and are living at The White Hart Hotel in Duffield, along with their daughter, Doris.
Death 6 March 1986 in Derby, aged 87 years 241 days [registered in Derby, March 1986].


Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990] &

Playing Career

Club(s) Played outside-left when he was just a nine year old at St. James' Road School (under the charge of Mr. Cecil James Kent) in Derby He was in the town's schoolboys' team for three years and subsequently played with St. Dunstan's FC in the Sunday School League. When he turned out for Normanton United FC, a broken collar bone interupted his career. He was an apprentice fitter during WW1 at Rolls-Royce in Derby, where he played for the works team and was a member of the Royal Air Force. He guested for Nottingham Forest FC and Coventry City FC during the war, and after playing for Derby County FC in the victory League, he signed for them in May 1919. Transferred to Blackburn Rovers FC on 30 December 1927. Chesterfield FC signed him on 28 August 1929, and his contract was mutually cancelled on 3 February 1932. Newark Town FC obtained his services soon after.
Club honours Football League Division Two runners-up 1925-26; Division Three (North) Champions 1930-31; FA Cup winners 1927-28; FA Charity Shield runners-up 1928;
Individual honours None
Distinctions None
Height/Weight 5' 5" [1918]. 5' 6", 10st. 5lbs [1925].


Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990].

England Career

Player number One of seven who became the 451st players (455) to appear for England.
Position(s) Outside-right
First match No. 135, 21 May 1923, Sweden 2 England 4, an end-of-season tour match at Stockholms Olympiastadion, Stockholm, aged 24 years 317 days.
Last match No. 146, 21 May 1925, France 2 England 3, an end-of-season friendly match at Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, Colombes, Paris, aged 24 years 317 days.
Major tournaments None
Team honours None
Individual honours None
Distinctions Thornewell is the 75th player to score on his England debut and the tenth Chesterian to represent his country.
Died eight days after Pat Beasley.

Beyond England

A licensee, The White Hart, in Duffield, since 22 November 1928. A member of the Ecclesbourne Lodge, Duffield. In the latter part of the 1932, Thornewell was Guest of Honour at Duffield Boys' Endowed School, to give a talk and practical demonstration on football. It was also in 1932, that Thornewell was the honoured guest and presenter of the trophy at the Derby Amateur League Cup Final, and the Amatuer League Benevolent Cup Final in 1950. In September 1936, he became the vice-president of the St. James' Road School Old Boys Association. He was a successful on the bowls' green too, winning regional awards, as well as a keen town cricketer. - An English Football Internationalists' Who's Who. Douglas Lamming (1990). Hatton Press, p.246/247/various newspaper articles.


George Thornewell - Career Statistics
Squads Apps comp. apps Mins. Goals goals ave.min comp. goals Capt. Disc.
4 4 0 360 1 360 min 0 none none
minutes are an approximation, due to the fact that many matches rarely stick to exactly ninety minutes long, allowing time for injuries and errors.


George Thornewell - Match Record - All Matches - By Type of Match
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts % W/L
Away - Friendly 4 4 0 0 13 6 +7 0 0 3.2 1.50 100.0 +4
All 4 4 0 0 13 6 +7 0 0 3.2 1.50 100.0 +4


George Thornewell - Match History
 Club: Derby County F.C. - 4 full appearances

F.A. International Select Committee - 4 full capsx

Age 24
1 135 21 May 1923 - Sweden 2 England 4, Stockholms Olympiastadion, Stockholm tour AW Start 25 or
2 136 24 May 1923 - Sweden 1 England 3, Stockholms Olympiastadion, Stockholm AW Start or
Age 25
3 141 17 May 1924 - France 1 England 3, Stade Pershing, Paris Fr AW Start or
Age 26
4 146 21 May 1925 - France 2 England 3, Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, Paris Fr AW Start or