A Brief History 1920-1939

 by T.Henderson

We make no apologies for reprinting (with some editorial changes) the following articles written for our Golden Jubilee, by the late Tom Henderson and long serving member Bernie Lodge, tributes to whom are printed later.

After 50 years it is perhaps understandable that neither personal memory nor written record are at their best. The beginning is hazy but was undoubtedly partially or entirely the work of the Murdoch brothers, David and John. During our first season (1920-21) we played only 5 games and obtained the use of Warriston Park as our home ground. Unfortunately our tenancy was short lived. Pressure from the Education Authority was too great and we gave way to Boroughmuir School.

The first recorded A.G.M. took place at the Y.M.C.A., South St Andrew Street on 4th October 1921. The club officially gave itself a name and a constitution – Northern R.F.C. (the name Edinburgh was not added until several years later). Our title was simply derived geographically.

In the early years we led a nomadic existence, moving from place to place in search of a home. We played at Canal Field, Fettes College, Murrayfield, and several other grounds until we finally settled down at Inverleith Park in 1926. Needless to say, those spartan years recognised no such thing as changing rooms and we were thankful for the trees for both shelter and privacy. Visiting teams from out of town changed at the Y.M.C.A. and travelled to Inverleith Park by tram in rugby gear – and ne’er an eyebrow was raised.

Indeed success was such that by the mid twenties we were forced to restrict admission to the club with a maximum playing membership of 20!!!

The first club photograph was taken in 1926, and by 1928 we had added a second XV and were well on the way to completing our first decade. Recognition gradually dawned with the higher echelons and from time to time our players represented the Edinburgh and District Rugby Union.

At our AGM in March 1939 the club office bearers could not have guessed that the next season they would have a different job to do. War came, club funds were frozen and by and large junior rugby came to a halt.