Skipper’s Name Lives On In Union Street

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The Shop In Union Street The Shop In Union Street

Union Street is a place that has undergone massive change in recent years and you may have noticed that the building once occupied by Feneck’s Military Tailors is now home to Sloggett & Son, ‘Seller of Interesting Things’. Last year I was reading an article about the shop, which sells a range of vintage and antique furniture and homeware, when I realised a possible connection with Plymouth Argaum.

Remembering the surname from our online history I checked through our archives and everything seemed to tally with the article. This was confirmed when I contacted Roland Sloggett, the proprietor, who is the grandson of one Harold Sloggett; a prominent member of the club in the 1920s and 1930s. Harold is shown 3rd from left in the team photograph from November 1934 and his name can be seen on the Captain’s Board in the clubhouse as skipper for the 1930-31 season.

Plymouth Argaum 1st XV November 1934
Plymouth Argaum 1st XV November 1934

Harold is also listed in several fixture cards of the period as Hon Treasurer as well as part of the selection committee and that was not the end to his roles in local sporting clubs. He was in involved with Devon Barbarians Rugby Club, who played matches on Wednesday afternoons (later to be the inspiration for the name of Argaum’s own Wednesday side in the 1960s).

The Barbarians pursued several activities apart from rugby, including cricket, billiards, shooting and tennis; as a Devon County swimmer Harold oversaw the club’s swimming and water polo activities. A preview In the Western Morning News from January 1930 has Harold listed in the Devon Barbarians side to play The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment at The Rectory. He was in illustrious company as the Devon side included players from Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth Albion.

The 1930s was a reasonable period for reporting of Argaum’s activities and Harold is present in many of the team line-ups. A second rower, he features in reports as a try scorer on numerous occasions. Harold’s involvement with the club appears to lessen after his marriage in 1936, where his best man was fellow clubman Vic Brooks (another Argaum captain). However, he continued to be listed as a Vice President on fixture cards into the 1950s.

Harold decided did not follow his father Jack, also an Argaum VP in the 1930s, into his well-known pawnbroker & jewellery business. Instead he pursued a career as an architect and became well known for his mock-Tudor style buildings which included the West Hoe pub amongst others. He still found time for sport and was a prominent golfer at Whitsand Bay golf club, where a trophy in his name is still played for. Sadly Harold died at a relatively young age in the late 1950s.

Harold Sloggett(1) and Bill Westlake(2) in action
Harold Sloggett(1) and Bill Westlake(2) in action

His son Geoffrey (Roland’s father) also became an architect although he now can be found on occasions helping out in the Union Street Shop. He has in his possession a picture of Harold in action, along with Billy Westlake, they are denoted respectively in the photo (1) and (2). Although unfamiliar kit this looks like a match at Plympton, possibly against OPOs.

Although Harold was involved with the club for only around a decade he made a huge contribution in that time as well as to the wider sporting community. His is a fascinating story and sheds some light on Plymouth Argaum in the pre-war period.


 

There is a wealth of information on the history of the first 125 years of Plymouth Argaum at http://www.argaum125.argaum.org.uk

You can find out more details about the shop at http://www.sloggettandson.co.uk

You can view the original article in the Plymouth Magazine here.

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