Most historian connected to Liverpool F.C. or football in general have taken it for granted that the flagpole at the corner of The Kop and Centenary Stand is from one of the first iron ships – The Great Eastern.
But, an article in the Sheffield Evening Telegraph from December – 1906, reveals the history of the famous flagpole – or flagstaff as it was called in the article. I will quote the whole article:
“Few among the thousands of habitues of the Liverpool Football Ground are aware of the fact that the enormous staff which bears the red flag of the club has historic associations. This flagstaff was formerly one of the masts of the old Royal yacht Alexandra, which was once much used by the Royal Family. It was the Alexandra which took the present King and Queen, then Prince and Princess of Wales, to Dublin on their first visit to Ireland so long ago as 1864. The Football Club acquired the mast through a captain now retired and living in the neighbourhood of the club’s headquarters. The staff is a very high one, and a great deal of care had to be exercised in placing it in position. The flag it bears is of crimson colour, with a figure of the “Liver bird”, so called.”
The Royal Yacht Alexandra.
Most books about the history of the club that touches the area about the flagpole mentioned it in connection with the Great Eastern ship. It will be exciting to see if this new finding changes the little paragraph in the club’s proud history.
Though, I must admit it sounded better with the iron clad the Great Eastern than the Royal Yacht Alexandra.
UPDATE: If the newspaper article’s content is correct – the Royal Yacht’s name cannot be correct. The only yacht that fits the time line is “HMY Victoria and Albert II” which was scrapped around 1904.
The article was found in the Sheffield Evening Telegraph, December 1 – 1906.