Jean Ward Skerrow contacted the project about a rather interesting family heirloom from her father in law. We visited her where we found something quite remarkable:
Iím Jean Ward Skerrow and the Cup belonged to my father-in-law. It was an item that I think my husband was embarrassed to say that his father won from playing football with an Elephant at Hull Fair! It was put into a cupboard and put away and I remember when we moved house after forty-eight years living there, the cup of course came to light and my husband said to throw it away. I said I would not, he does not know but I kept it, moved again but still kept it. We always called Herbert, my father-in-law, Pop, so we called this Popís Cup. I have kept it and saw the article in the paper and got in touch.
It has written on the side of the cup, Ďwon by Herbert Skerrow, April 4th 1903í and on the other Ďfrom Lord George Sangerí. Itís very ornate, like pewter. It must have been the Circus that came to the Hull fair site.
Yes, they did tell me that it was Hull Fair and I was always fascinated by it, I would remember, I always used to go to Hull fair and I remember the Circus, not sure it was Sangerís, but I know there was a Circus being there and the animals.
What was Popís character to play football with an Elephant like that:
He was elderly when I met my husband. I worked in an office with someone who actually knew him as a young man and he was apparently quite a lad. He was full of fun and I imagine he would do this when he was with his pals. That was the sort of things they did, they were pals, not rowdy people, but I could imagine him going, he must of beat the animal because he won the cup. I wish now I had asked him how it happened. Unfortunately it was one of the things that embarrassed me and it was put away, it was fascinating. I am so please I kept it.
I am delighted too. This is a wonderful find and great thanks are extended to Jean Skerrow for her persistence and generosity in allowing the project to present Popís Cup.
Now that story about playing football with an elephant may seem pretty far fetched but research known to the project shows that it is in all probability the truth. The last four images to the left of this page show two examples of Sanger advertisements where he was indeed offering a cup as a prize for playing football against an elephant. There are questions to be answered however: these references date from 1899 and 1900 and moreover feature Lord John Sanger as opposed to Lord George Sanger as is inscribed on the cup. We found no reference to an appearance by Sangerís Circus in Hull in the first half of 1903 which would seem the obvious date from ĎPopsí Cup. So it would appear that Herbert Skerrow had played the football match with the elephant either some time before and 3rd April 1903 was the presentation date; or, that the whole event took place somewhere outside Hull. If anyone out there knows of Sangerís Circus appearances around Hull in 1903 do let the project know. An interesting case for a Circus Detective!