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Arthur Wharton
A Timeline of the Pioneer
A Date-by-date historical timeline, showing the major events in Arthur Wharton's life.
1865 Born in Accra, Gold Coast (Ghana), West Africa. Father Methodist Minister and Missionary from Granada (West Indies). Mother related to Fante Royal family (Gold Coast). Both parents have part Scottish ancestry.

1866 Arthur’s older brothers return to Accra from Wesleyan College in England.

1869 Asante uprising in Gold Coast.

1870 Arthur accompanies father and older sister Clara to England, where she attends Boarding School. Arthur returns, probably to attend Wesleyan Elementary School in James Town, Accra.

1872 Father supervises Methodist Missionary service in Gold Coast. Serious earthquake in Accra.

1873 Anglo-Asante War. Father serves as Chaplain to the Methodists in the British anti-Asante force, but dies while recuperating in Madeira. Later Arthur’s mother moves back to Cape Coast, her hometown in the Gold Coast.

1875 Arthur sent to London to be educated at Dr Cheyne’s Burlington Road School for 4 years.

1878 A racially-divided legal system and administration is put into place in Gold Coast, lasting until 1882.

1879 Arthur attends the Wesleyan High School, Cape Coast. Cricket, athletics and football are all played within the Euro-African community.

1881 Arthur and 3 cousins leave for England. His uncle (newspaper proprietor and wealthy entrepreneur) supports Arthur’s education at Shoal Hill Methodist College, Cannock, in the Midlands.

1882 Studies Divinity for 3 years and plays for the Cannock and White Cross Football Club. Also plays rugby, and cricket for the Wesleyan band of Hope Cricket Club.

1885 Shoal Hill closes, so Arthur moves to Cleveland College, Co. Durham. Takes up amateur Athletics through links with the Darlington Cricket and Football Club.

1886 Plays 32 amateur football matches for Darlington as Goalkeeper, also for Newcastle and Durham teams. Runs for Birchfield Harriers, (near Birmingham). Wins the AAA 100 yards Sprint Championship in 10 seconds at Stamford Bridge, London - a record that stands for over 30 years.

1887 Goalkeeper for Preston North End and Middlesbrough. Several Charity matches. (Benefit match at Darlington - last amateur season). Plays for Sheffield United for the first time. Arthur is nominated to play for England, but not selected. Still competing as amateur runner. Cycling record - tricycle race from Blackburn to Preston. Arthur considers returning to Africa at the end of his studies.

1888 Football League begins. Arthur moves to Sheffield, leaving Darlington, to take up professional status as runner (‘pedestrianism’). Trains in Sheffield (with other black runners) and in Rotherham for the Doncaster Sprint Handicap in September. Still playing football for Preston North End, also plays rugby at Heckmondwyke.

1889 Plays professional football as a spectacular goalkeeper for Rotherham Town. Carries a heavy handicap in professional running at Edinburgh. Plays professional cricket for (Rotherham) Greasborough.

1890 Retires as a professional runner. Marries Emma Lister of Greasborough. Foundry workers strike in Rotherham results in poor attendances at Rotherham Town F.C.

1891 Takes over the Albert Tavern, Rotherham as licensee. Plays cricket for Rawmarsh (Rotherham) and Rotherham Borough Police, as well as football for the Town F.C.

1892 Licensee of the Plough Inn, Greasborough.

1893 Lengthy Miner’s strike results in difficulties for Rotherham Town F.C. Arthur applies (unsuccessfully) for position with the Government Service of the Gold Coast.

1894 Arthur transfers to play for Sheffield United F. C. Also manages a pub in Sheffield. Still playing cricket in Rotherham.

1895 Shoulder-charging against the Goalkeeper is at last disallowed, reducing risk of injury.

1896 Arthur returns briefly to Rotherham Town after the Sheffield season but the Town Club is in difficulty. Signs up with Stalybridge Rovers F.C. as player/coach. Plays professional cricket for Stalybridge. A military force from GB is sent to fight against the Asante in the Gold Coast.

1897 Arthur joins Ashton North End F.C. as Captain, playing centre forward. Later reverts to goalkeeping. Member of the newly formed Players Union. Some illness is recorded.

1898 Ashton North End closes down. Arthur returns to Stalybridge Rovers.

1899 Arthur is selected for the ‘Rest of Lancashire League’ team. The Boer war in Southern Africa begins, G.B. being heavily involved. A team of black footballers from South Africa tours G.B.

1900 Arthur resigns from Stalybridge Rovers. G.B. war against the Asante in the Gold Coast continues.

1901 Arthur joins Stockport County Football Club.

1902 Arthur’s last Football League appearance. He retires from professional sport and leaves Lancashire.

1903 Publican in Rotherham

1907 Plays cricket for Rotherham Town Club, including a memorable match against Denaby.

1912 Great industrial unrest in the North.

1914 Arthur is offered Cricket Coaching work in County Durham, but cannot take it because there is no paid work available for him in the area.

1915 Works at Yorkshire Main Colliery at Edlington, Doncaster, as a haulage hand, for 15 years. Lives in the village for the rest of his life.

1926 General Strike. Arthur is a member of the Miners Federation (pre-cursor of the National Union of Mineworkers).

1930 Arthur suffers long, painful illness. He is sent to Springwell House sanatorium. He dies on 12th December, at the age of 65, and is buried in the Municipal Cemetery at Edlington, in an unmarked grave.

1944 Emma Wharton, Arthur’s widow, dies childless and is interred at Masbrough Cemetery in Rotherham. Her niece, Minnie Wharton Proctor, is later buried beside her.

1997 At a special ceremony, a memorial stone is placed over the grave of Arthur Wharton in Edlington Cemetery, Doncaster.

Alison Rodgers Doncaster Museums 20 May 2002


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