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News > History & Politics > James Teubler wins Collector of the Year 2019

James Teubler wins Collector of the Year 2019

James Teubler's (WW 78-83) collection of Tonbridge School memorabilia wins competition
Old Tonbridgian, James Teubler (WW 78-83) was named Collector of the Year for 2019, in a competition run by Canterbury Auction House and Kent Life Magazine. James began collecting Tonbridge School memorabilia nearly 15 years ago, and has since amassed a rich array of archive materials, particularly covering sporting life at the school. 

"I’ve always been a collector I think it’s in my DNA. I started collecting Tonbridge school material in 2005 because I wanted to find a field of collecting which had not been tried before. In effect, I wanted to get ahead of the game," he writes. 

"My most prized possession is the 1880-85 school cricket score book. In it are some great names from the heyday of English cricket, like Rashleigh the Kent batsman and Kortright the Essex bowler who became the fastest bowler in the world."

In James' collection is a letter from world famous OT author, EM Forster, rejecting an opportunity to contribute to a project about the history of sport at Tonbridge School.

The letter reads:

Dear Mr Ball

Thank you for your letter which has just reached me here. I am afraid that my only contribution to a history of school sport would be on how to shirk it, which is what I did during my obscure career at Tonbridge over half a century ago. I am all for people playing games who want to play them. But that’s not the proper spirit and I don’t think that an article from me would commend itself to your editorial board or to your distinguished contributors!

Believe me with all good wishes.

Yours sincerely,

EM Forster

Above: Items from James' collection on display in the owner's home

The collection also includes a unique letter from former captain of England rugby, Anthony Henniker-Gotley, in which he describes his rugby career from Tonbridge to captaining the England side against Scotland in 1911:

At Tonbridge School I spent many a Saturday afternoon in the summer of 1902 on the grass terrace overlooking ‘The Head,’ spitting out cherry stones and vociferously applauding KL Hutching’s powerful, wristy drives to the boundary. When I did attain the dignity of the 1st X1, I was greatly thrilled and overawed at net practice when trying to cope with the wily bowling of Blythe, Wooley and Fairservice, who used to come up at the beginning of the summer term, before the county commenced their season, from the Angel nursery, where they were employed by old Tom Pawley OT. My memories recall too the wonderful games of Stumper we used to play on the Head on Saturday evenings, with the sun slowly sinking in orange and gold beyond the lovely chestnut avenue. 

So much for cricket, and now for rugger. I arrived at Tonbridge from my prep school, West Downs, Winchester, in September 1901. However after a week or two at Ferrox Hall, where ‘The Man’ and ‘The Woman’, as we called our worthy Housemaster and his wife, showed me the greatest kindness and sympathy for five happy years, I made my way down Bordyke one afternoon to one of the Bath’s grounds. There in the course of a junior game, more like a did fight than a serious match I managed to drop a goal (4 points please!) From that day on I thought rugby the finest game in the world and I have no reason to change my opinion over half a century later.

One winter’s afternoon in 1903, I was taken by our sports master, the great RL Aston, to the Rectory Fields Blackheath, to see the Newport match. This is when the mighty Gamlin played for the club. As I trotted off the ground after the game with my taciturn mentor, I looked up at him and breathlessly ejaculated “Sir, do you think I shall ever play for Blackheath when I grow up?” “You might,” he replied laconically and characteristically, “If you listen to me.” 

Little did I know then, that thanks to RL’s strict, but wise and painstaking coaching, I was destined to play not only many rattling good games for Blackheath, but also to play for England against Scotland at Inverleith in 1910, when the victory gave us the Tripple Crown for the first time in 12 years. Also in 1911, a week before sailing to Rhodesia, we won the first Calcutta Cup match played at Twickenham.

The best show the Tonbridge 1st put up in my day was when we beat London Scottish ‘A’ team in the 1905-6 season by 50 points to nil, 10 tries all converted by Stokes. CCG Wright was the mainstay of the backs and CH Pillman surely the finest of all our international wing forwards was the leader of the pack.

As a final remark I should like to state that any success I may have had at rugger was entirely due to three factors; firstly, to the excellent coaching at my prep school, secondly to the assistance I received at Tonbridge from RL Aston and afterwards from Jock Hartley, and last, but no means least from my outside halves – Neville Colley and Tom Crocker for Tonbridge, Harry Coverdale for Blackheath, George Cunningham for Oxford University, and the inimitable Adrian Stoop for England. In conclusion, I might remark that during the whole of my rugger career I always played with my Tonbridge School stockings!  

Many thanks to James Teubler for sharing these wonderful historic records with the news editing team. 

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