Today the term the Civil Service is still one that is mocked by comedians and commentators alike as a lapdog for the latest Government. Red tape, bureaucracy and corridors full of greying plastic furniture in nameless, faceless buildings sort of sums up the stereotypes still in existence from decades gone by. But 150 years ago it was the place to work, something to aspire to as well as an employee who offered some real social and recreational benefits. Job security was what everyone craved after the war and the Civil Service offered just that. As governments came and went, the only positions that were seen a sacred were those that existed in the corridors of Whitehall. But before the monochrome of this story depresses us, let’s rewind to the middle of the 19th century.
In 1863 the newly formed Civil Service club was playing football under both Association and Rugby rules in an informal way, often rotating between the two codes every week. They became one of the founding members of the Football Association in that year and in 1871 they were invited to be founding members of the Rugby Football Union as well. In the same year a posh invitation popped through the letterbox of a certain Mr Warne at the War Office, inviting the “Civil Service football team” to take part in the FA’s inaugural national tournament, the FA Cup. They readily accepted the challenge and in the draw they were picked to play away to Barnes FC. Continue reading