Tottenham Hotspur Lamppost - Atlas Obscura

Tottenham Hotspur Lamppost

A replica of the gaslit streetlamp under which three teenagers founded a football club. 


Tottenham Hotspur F.C. holds a place in the hearts of football fans worldwide. The prestigious football team competes in the Premier League, the highest echelon of English football. This has not always been the case however, and in 2023 the club restored a piece of its history that shines a light on Spurs’ humble beginnings.

Legend has it that a group of schoolboys, Robert “Bobby” Buckle, Hamilton Casey, and John Anderson, huddled under a gaslit lamppost on Tottenham High Road one evening in 1882. Having played cricket at the Hotspurs Cricket Club, the boys, aged 13 and 14, pondered how to while away their time during the impending cricket off-season over winter. After some consideration, they decided that football would be the best solution. Their plans were soon put into action when Casey’s older brother gave them their first ball, and his father constructed a set of blue and white goalposts.

The exact date of the historic gathering is not certain, but officially Hotspur F.C. is said to have been established on September 5, 1882, when 11 boys paid their initial yearly subscription. The club had 18 members by the close of 1882, paying sixpence for the year. By this time, Buckle, still only 14, was Spurs first ever captain, and within the year he became the club’s first recorded, and youngest ever, goalscorer.

Spurs achieved a remarkable feat within their first 20 years by winning the FA Cup championship, becoming the very first, and thus far only, non-professional club to have done so. Ever since, the same dare-to-do spirit that was displayed by those initial schoolboys, who were filled with energy and enthusiasm while gathered around the gaslamp, has continued to captivate the hearts of countless fans.

Even though the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has undergone significant modernization and expansion since the days when Bobby Buckle and his team played on more modest turf, the club has managed to maintain its rich heritage. Interestingly, the stadium is situated close to the very location where the memorable gaslit gathering took place nearly 130 years ago.

Even though the legendary lantern is no longer, Tottenham Hotspur honored their history and humble origins in 2023 when they installed a replica of the lantern directly outside the stadium on Tottenham High Road. The replica prominently displays the Tottenham Hotspur Clock, which held a significant position at the club’s former HQ for over seven decades, from 1934 to 2007.

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