Harry Thorpe’s 1908 Gold Medal

Links With The Past: Harry Thorpe’s 1908 Gold Medal

Club Historian John Hutchinson's Links With The Past series continues with a look at a very valuable gold medal from 1908.
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Last year, the Club took possession of this rare and very valuable gold medal. There is a tragic story behind this medal.

It was presented to left full-back Harry Thorpe to mark Leicester Fosse’s promotion to the old First Division for the first time in the Club’s history.

Harry had joined Leicester Fosse for a fee of £300 from Southern League champions Fulham at the start of the season, having previously played in the Woolwich Arsenal side which was promoted in 1904.

At the start of the 1908/09 season, season ticket sales were at an all-time high at the Club, impressive ground improvements had been completed, taking the capacity to 22,000, and quality new players were arriving.

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Harry Thorpe’s 1908 Gold Medal
Harry Thorpe’s 1908 Gold Medal

The medal is now a precious item within the Club's archives.

This included Thorpe himself - who was described in the media at the time as 'a gem at the back, daring, cool and clever' - and his skills were useful as Fosse mounted a promotion bid.

An ever-present for Leicester for the first 25 matches of their promotion season, Harry returned to the side following injury for a fixture against Glossop which the Fossils won 3-2, taking them to third in the table.

This was the last game of football that Harry ever played. After the game, he succumbed to a bout of influenza and never recovered. He died six months later on 16 September, 1908.

The directors’ minutes book reveals that, in Fosse’s match at Preston on 19 September, 1908, three days after Harry’s death, both sides wore black bands.

This medal's addition to the Club's archives, however, means memory of his impact on Leicester Fosse will never be lost and enables Leicester City to celebrate his achievements over a century on.

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