A new exhibition devoted to sport has opened in St Andrews – and has uncovered a forgotten gem.
Entitled ‘Sticks and Stones, Bats and Balls: Sport in St Andrews’ the display at the Preservation Trust Museum will run across the summer and will include the Jannettas Cup as one of its key artefacts, a trophy which was created by the famous ice cream family and first played for over 100 years ago.
Samantha Bannerman, museum curator, said: “People are getting really excited about this!
“We don’t actually know a lot about it. We were given a box with a few trophies from the Fife Amateur Football Association that weren’t played for any more and the Jannettas Cup was one of them.
“From what we can gather from the inscriptions on it, it was instituted in 1907 which is early because Benedito Jannetta only opened his first shop in 1908, so it is quite strange. But we think there may have been a shop in Dysart.
“Also it may have been played for in the season 1907/08. It’s quite confusing!
“It was played for up until the late 1950s/early 60s, but has not been seen for a long time. I think now the Jannettas are thinking about reinstating it so that teams will play for it again.”
Owen Hazel, the current owner of Jannettas with his wife, Nicola, said they were “thrilled” that the Jannettas Cup had been found.
“Discovering we had a Jannettas Cup donated to the Amateur Football league by Nicola’s Great-Grandfather Benedito (or Bennett) came as a revelation to the family but not surprising really given our family’s long standing passion for the game both then and now.
“We were particularly thrilled to see and be reunited with the cup. The bonus being that the Cup is still in pristine condition.”
Owen said that there are now plans for the cup to be played for once more.
“It’s beautifully ornate and seeing it stirred up a passion in us to have it reinstated as a cup local teams could play for again.
“Currently we are looking into how this could be achieved but we hope with the help of Archie Denny, secretary to the Fife Amateur Football Association, we will find a way and that we can do this in Bennett’s memory keeping his dream alive.
“The story of this cup is only just revealing itself to us.
“Thanks in part to Jean Herd, widow of Jackie Herd, the ex chairman of Methillhill Strollers, who were the last team to have played and won the cup, we have managed to unravel some of the Cup’s history.
“We are also indebted to Dave Seeley and May Watt both who have undertaken months of research into our history and the history of the cup.
“We believe this is only the start of this journey. We are delighted that the third, fourth and fifth generation have been reunited with the cup but would appreciate knowing more about its history, the stories/photos of those who played for it and won, reuniting us with our history, something we are very passionate about and celebrate at Jannettas.
“If anyone has any information or indeed photos they would be prepared to share with us we would be extremely grateful. A free cone awaits them too!”
Samantha said it was the upcoming summer of sport that gave her the inspiration for the exhibition.
“We’ve never really had an exhibition on sport before but with this year having the Euros and the Olympics on we thought that this ties in with that.
“Over the summer it’s nice to have an exhibition concentrating on outdoor activities and sport goes well with that sort of theme.
“Probably half the things we have on display have been loaned, but the rest is our own, most of which has been in store for a number of decades and some of which have never been displayed before, so it was really a combination of all of those reasons that made us decide to put this on.”
A year in the planning, the display features pictures and mementoes from a number of different sports, including among others, curling, athletics, football, tennis and archery.
“Archery is one of the best documented,” Samantha said, “We know it was played in St Andrews as far back as the early 15th century and the university has loaned us a 17th century archery medal, from the Silver Arrow competition, which ran for around 100 years.
“We’ve also made up scrapbooks and photo albums, so if any visitors see people that they recognise and they aren’t named then hopefully they’ll let us know because it would be great to identify them.”
The exhibition is now open but Samantha is hopeful that it will feature a few more additions.
“We are keen for people to come forward with any artefacts relating to sport in the town. In fact just last weekend a visitor brought us in a badminton trophy which had been played for in the 1930s up until the 1980s. The badminton club isn’t around any more so it’s nice to have that.
“So if anyone has anything else they’d like to loan to us that would be great.”
> ‘Sticks and Stones, Bats and Balls: Sport in St Andrews’ is on at the Preservation Trust Museum, 12 North St, St Andrews, from 2pm to 5pm until October 2. Entry is free.