John Hendry
John Hendry
john Hendry
● john Hendry, 1889 (HA)

Northern Ireland

John Hendry was born sometime between 12th March, 1860, and 2nd April, 1860, probably in Northern Ireland. *

The 5' 8 defender probably joined Thistle in 1878 or 1879.

Aged 19, he made his first known appearance on Saturday, 5th April, 1879, in a 1-0 neutral-venue win against Marchton in the West Of Scotland Cup.

John scored his only known goal for Thistle on Saturday, 2nd April, 1887, in a 3-1 friendly win at home to Cowlairs.

He played his last known game for the club on Saturday, 21st September, 1889, in a 4-1 win away to Summerton Athletic in the Glasgow Cup, having clocked up at least 170 appearances for the Thistle.

His known club-list included only Partick Thistle and Kilsyth Wanderers.

John died on Thursday, 11th March, 1937, in Hyndland, Glasgow, aged 76.

* If you can help us to improve any of these marked points on The Thistle Archive, then please do get in touch →

Bio Extra

The son of John Hendry (shipbuilder) and Agnes Hendry (née Mahon), both Irish. We've looked at John's census, marriage and death records and none state his town of birth, only that he too was born in Ireland. Given that his father worked in shipping, we think that Belfast is probably most likely. The date of birth parameters statement as outlined is commonly true to the census in 1881, the marriage in 1887, the census in 1911 and the death in 1937. We've disregarded his stated ages (29/39) in the 1891/1901 census as these are wildly out of sync with the other docs. Sadly, obtaining the exact birth date is going to be too big a problem to overcome as The General Register Office (GRO) only holds all official records of Irish births, deaths and marriages from 1864.

Since there's no sign of them in the census of 1871, we think that the Hendry family moved to Scotland at some point during the 1870s. By 1881, the 21-year-old John was living with his mother, Agnes, at 37 Mansfield Street, Partick. We can only speculate that the family had moved to the area to work on the Clyde. John's father was deceased at that point, and our young man himself was working as a ship's plumber.

John is one of the oldest and best links that we’ve got to our formative years. Here we have a man who played with Thistle in the public park days of the 1870s. He was the only player who could lay claim to having played at all 4 of our early homes; Overnewton Park, Jordanvale Park, Muir Park and Inchview.

John played at right back when Thistle won their first trophy (the West of Scotland Cup) in 1879. The final was played in front of 400 spectators at the First Hampden Park on the 5th April 1879; Partick Thistle 1, Marchtown 0. The chances are high that he also played in our very Scottish Cup match versus Jordanhill in October 1880, although no line ups have been unearthed for that one as yet. He was certainly there for the following round against Rangers a few weeks later. A great highlight in John's Thistle days was the action-packed run to the last 16 of the FA Cup in 1886-87. Thistle took a great scalp in the first round when they defeated Blackburn Olympic - the first Northeners ever to win the FA Cup in 1883 - by three goals to one at their Hole-i'-th-Wall ground. “Of the winners, Duff was very safe between the posts, and Hendry and McLean were both reliable and sturdy backs, particularly the former, whose tremendous lifts were a treat. So adieu to the Cup, Messrs. Olympic.” (CFF)

Until such times as we discover evidence to the contrary, our man goes down as one of those “one goal wonders”. His goal came at Inchview in on the 2nd April 1887; he put Thistle 2-1 up in a 3-1 derby victory against Cowlairs. In the 1880s, John was simultaneously listed as being in the committee and it’s our guess that he was likely to have been part of the “match committee” responsible for team selection.

The 27-year-old John married 22-year-old Elizabeth McArthur (who worked as a domestic servant) at Wood Street, Partick, on 25th November 1887. Now this was a bit of a dilemma. At that point he was personally sitting on a club-record run of 18 consecutive quoted competitive appearances (not known to be broken), a run which had stretched for just over 4 years (we never played so many competitive games in those days). As the club captain, he took his responsibilities seriously. And tomorrow would be a big one… the mighty Queen's Park would be the visitors to Inchview in the last 16 of the Scottish Cup. Would John play in the game? Of course he would! Heavy rain had turned the pitch into a quagmire with pools of water in front of both goals. A goal in each half saw Queens (who wanted to play a friendly) through. Thistle had spells of pressure and hit the post twice but once more they fell short despite getting closer to their illustrious opponents. We wonder if Elizabeth was there, cheering on her new husband? If so, we can only hope she left her whites at home that day.

John and Elizabeth raised one girl and three boys (Jessie, William, John & James) at their family home in Hyndland. He worked as a plumber all of his days but was retired by 1937, at which point he was a widower. He himself died on Thursday, 11th March, at Dowanhill Street, Hyndland, after 3 days of suffering from a hemorrhage of some sort. His son, John, travelled up from his home in Ramsbottom, Lancashire, to sign the death register entry.

John was virtually an ever present all the way through the 1880s, loyal to the Partick Thistle who continued to develop into one of the most prestigious clubs in the country. We know of one day that he played away however. In May 1888, along with his teammates Jim Buchanan & Willie Paul, John guested for Kilsyth Wanderers against the bizarrely named Falkirk Heavy Weather Club. You couldn't make it up! To all intents and purposes though, John was a one club man and appeared for the Thistle on at least 170 occasions – an enormous total in an era when a huge number of team line ups were simply not recorded. For all of the reasons stated, we love Hendo. And he wore a great moustache. Legend!

(WS/JK)



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