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23 August 2021

Tommy Britten

Nottingham Forest FC




  Thomas Johnson Britten
Birth Saturday, 6 March 1858 at Woodhouse in Byton, Herefordshire [registered in Presteigne, June 1858]
Baptism 28 December 1858 in Staunton-on-Arrow, Herefordshire

According to the 1861 census, two year old Thomas J, is the fifth of six children to Charles and Mary Ann (née Jeffries). They live at Woodhouse in Byton, and his father is a farmer.


According to the 1871 census, Thomas is a scholar at Doncaster Grammar School boarding with John and Ann Hutchinson at 8 St. George's Villa in Doncaster.


According to the 1881 census, Frederick, an assistant stationer, has one more younger borther, and is one of seven children still at home at 3 Market Street in the Sherwood area of Nottingham., also with his widowed sister's three children and one servant.
Left for Capetown on 3 June 1887 on board the RMS Trojan.


According to the 1891 census, Frederick is one of six children living at home with his widowed father at Hassock Lodge in Beeston. He is a Lithographer.

Marriage to Cecilia Johanna Botha, on 6 June 1888 [no registration in UK]. Two children, Alice Winifred (b.1890) and Constance Marion (b.1891), all in Johannesburg.
  "BRITTEN—BOTHA.—On the 6th June, at Greytown, Natal, by the Rev. T. Taylor. Thomas Johnson Britten, of Johannesburg, Transvaal, third son of the late Charles Britten, of The Woodhouse, Byton, Herefordshire, to Cecilia, fourth daughter of Philip Rudolph Botha, of Welverdient, Greytown, Natal." - The Worcestershire Chronicle, Saturday, 28 July 1888.
Death Monday, 24 October 1910, in Johannesburg, South Africa, aged 52 years 232 days [registered in the Transvaal Estates Death Index]. His wife, Cecilia, returned to Herefordshire in 1936 and died in 1947.
  "BRITTEN—At Johannesburg, on the 24th inst., Thomas Johnson Britten, electrical and mining engineer, aged 51 years. (By cable)" - The  Grantham Journal, Saturday, 29 October 1910.
  "BRITTEN—October 24, at Johannesburg, South Africa, Thomas Johnson Britten, 3rd son of the late Charles Britten of the Woodhouse, Byton, Herefordshire, aged 52 years." - The  Hereford Times, Saturday, 29 October 1910.


"The latest mail from South Africa announces the somewhat sudden demise of Mr. T. J. Britten, the well-known mining engineer, at his Johannesburg house. There were few Johannesburgers who were more widely known, who entered so actively into the life of the town from its foundation, and who were so generally respected. Mr. Britten was born in Herefordshire in 1858, and was educated at the Doncaster Grammar School, and subsequently qualified as an engineer, becoming a member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. In 1887 he came to Johannesburg as representative of Messrs. R. Hornsby and Sons, manufacturing engineers, of Grantham. In this capacity he was responsible for the erection of a large number of the first reduction plants erected on the Rand. He severed his connection with Messrs. Hornby in 1889 and practised as a consulting engineer up to July, 1893, when he was appointed general manager of the Wolhuter Gold Mines. He remained in charge for ten years, and his management will long be remembered for the earnest solicitude for the welfare of the men in charge. He devoted a good deal of attention to the allaying of dust in the mine, and before resigning he had installed an invention of his own for spraying the face of the rock. His success, though partial, in this respect justified his patenting his atomiser. The Chamber of Mines soon after offered a prize of £500 for the best means of preventing miners' phthisis. The competition was open to the world, and Mr. Britten was awarded the prize and medal. It was a well-merited success, and gave great satisfaction on the Rand.
"Mr. Britten was then appointed consulting engineer to Mr. Abe Bailey, and since that time most of his professional work was centred in Rhodesia. His duties compelled him to travel long distances under trying circumstances.. About a year ago his friends were shocked to hear that he had had a paralytic stroke. He recovered sufficiently to enable him to undertake the journey to Capetown. In the more general surroundings at sea level his condition improved somewhat. He returned to Johannesburg and for a time the improvement seemed to continue, but latterly it was recognised that his weakened constitution could not long stand the continued strain. The end came very suddenly.
"Mr. Britten took the keenest interest in his profession, and did not spare himself in advocating any measures that would tend for its advancement on the Rand. He was one of the founders of the Mine Managers' Association, a member of the S.A. Association of Engineers, and a life member of the American Institute of Mining Engineers.
"The sporting life of the town also claimed his interest and activities. He was a foundation member of the Johannesburg Turf Club, and was a familiar figure for years at Turffontein. He took a prominent part in polo in the early nineties, when the game was at the height of its popularity on the Rand. e was a devotee of tennis, and it is worth recalling that Mr. Winslow, the present-day champion, received his training on the Wolhuter courts, where many a hard-fought game was played. Mr. Britten also encouraged cricket and every form of outdoor exercise.
"He was a foundation member of the Rand Club and a warm supporter of the Rand Pioneers organisation. The motto of the latter body, 'They did their level best,' has peculiar significance when applied to 'Tommy' Britten."

The Hereford Times, Saturday, 13 November 1910.
Probate "BRITTEN Thomas Johnson of Johannesburg Transvaal South Africa died 24 October 1910 Administration (with Will limited) London 19 May to William George Child Britten land agent attorney of Cecilia Johanna Britten widow.
Effects £ 672 7s."



Playing Career

Club(s) Also played in Glasgow for Parkgrove FC 1874-78 and Presteigne FC (Wales) from 1877 until at least 1880. He was then a playing member of Grantham FC in 1878-79. He seems to have taken a few years out before becoming a leading member at Brentwood FC, playing and scoring for for them regularly from 1883-86, in fact, Britten was instrumental in their name change to Crusaders FC in October 1886, continuing to play for them until his emigration. Throughout 1885 and 1887, he was also playing for Grantham FC.
Appears to have took his football with him to Transvaal, winning the Association Cup with Wanderers FC.
"Britten was greatly popular, particularly amongst footballers, who simply idolised him as one of the best players of that or any other time. As centre-forward of the old and at that time very popular Grantham Town F.C."
- Grantham Journal, Saturday, 29 October 1910.
Club honours None
Individual honours Glasgow FA (vs. Sheffield, February 1878, one goal)
Nottinghamshire FC
(vs. Queen's Park, November 1878; vs. Derbyshire FA, December 1878 (floodlit); vs. Queen's Park & vs. Sheffield (one goal), both February 1879)
London FA
(vs. Glasgow, November 1886).
When he wasn't playing football, he wasn't too bad at cricket either!
In the late 1870's, he was winning races (flat racing & hurdling) wherever he was, Glasgow, Grantham, Presteign.
Height/Weight not known

England Career

Position(s) Centre-Forward
Distinctions Has two appearances for Wales, one before his reserve for England, and one after.

Beyond England

A mechanical and mining engineer who took his trade to South Africa in 1887.

The Numbers
parties due to start
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Match History

 Club: Parkgrove F.C. - no full appearances

Welsh F.A. Committee - no full appearancesx

Age 20
1 3 23 March 1878 - Scotland 9 Wales 0
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Fr AL   cf

 Club: Grantham F.C. - no full appearances

F.A. Committee (Charles Alcock) - no full appearancesx

pp 1 March 1879 - England vs. Scotland, Surrey Cricket Ground, Kennington Fr postponed - frost res

 Club: Presteigne F.C. - no full appearances

Welsh F.A. Committee - no full appearancesx

Age 22
2 7 27 March 1880 - Scotland 5 Wales 1
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Fr AL   cf

 Club: Brentwood F.C. - no full appearances  

Age 24
13 3 February 1883 - England 5 Wales 0, Surrey Cricket Ground, Kennington Fr AL withdrew

 Club: Crusaders F.C. & Grantham F.C. - no full appearances  
Age 28
13 26 February 1887 - England 4 Wales 0, Surrey Cricket Ground, Kennington Fr AL withdrew