With Harlequins taking on Gloucester at Twickenham Stadium this month, we're highlighting thehis Harlequins cap which was awarded to William Wavell Wakefield in the 1920-21 season when he was club captain. It is kindly loaned to the museum by his family.
Harlequins FC was originally founded as Hampstead FC in 1866. During the 1869/70 season, with many of their players no longer from the Hampstead area, it was decided that the club needed a new name. It was agreed that the club should retain its motto, nunquam dormio (I never sleep), and its 'HFC' monogram. They therefore needed a new name beginning with the letter 'H'. The story goes that committee members went through a dictionary looking for a suitable word and chose 'Harlequin', the name of a stock comic character in the Italian commedia dell'arte theatre genre. A type of clown, the character is known for his quick wit, physical agility and mischievous nature.
With the club's change of name, there was a change of kit - the team no longer wore black and gold hooped jerseys. Their jerseys were now light blue, magenta, chocolate and French grey quartered, with green and black sleeves. The iconic colourful jersey referenced the costume traditionally worn by the Harlequin character, and the clown himself was adopted as the emblem on the team's caps.