Hearts in 50 objects: No.10 – Memento from the ‘Floodlight Friendly’

The teapot from Miller & Stables
The teapot from Miller & Stables
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This is the teapot from a tea set given to Hearts by the Edinburgh engineers Miller & Stables Ltd, the company which who installed Tynecastle’s first set of floodlights. These were used for the first time in October 1957.

The opponents for such a momentous occasion were city rivals Hibs in a game which would become affectionately known as the ‘Floodlight Friendly’. Hibs ran out 4-2 winners on the night, Monday, October 7, 1957, thanks to a Tommy Preston hat-trick and a goal by Joe Baker.

Hearts had raced into a 2-0 lead inside the first 25 minutes with goals from their legendary strikers Willie Bauld and Jimmy Wardhaugh. Hibs, though, would overhaul them quite spectacularly.

Installing a set of floodlights was a huge issue for any club at that time and, as such, engineering firms around Britain who could deliver what was required were in high demand.

Miller & Stables also installed floodlights at Easter Road, Celtic Park, Hampden Park, Fir Park, Tannadice Park and St James’ Park, Newcastle. They made a good amount of business from the football industry as midweek night games became more of a fashion on fixture lists.

European football was taking off at the time and driving the demand for floodlights to enable clubs to host midweek matches against foreign opponents.

The directors of Miller & Stables handed over a tea set to Hearts to commemorate the occasion, although what happened to the rest of the set remains unknown. The teapot remains well polished and looked after by the historians at Tynecastle as a symbol of a significant night in the club’s long history.

Players from both sides received writing sets containing a Parker pen, a biro and a pencil. Hearts gifted Hibs a silver quaich and each director was given a tankard. The Honorary president of Hearts, the Earl of Rosebery, decided to hand over a photograph of himself.

• See more great items from Hearts’ history at the club’s museum. For opening times, go to www.heartsfc.co.uk/pages/museum