DOCTOR JOHN LOUIS (LEWIS) ABEL SYKES (1871 - 1948)

(Former Club Doctor and Vice President of Totteham Hotspur and local all round Sportsman)

(Created from research Notes by Richard Derrick)

 

John Louis Abel Sykes born on 7 January 1871 in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, his father, Edwin Sykes , was 27 and his profession was a General Medical Practitioner. His mother, Elizabeth Sykes (nee Oram), was 25. His family were later to move to Fairfield in Derbyshire and can be found in the 1881 Census. .
The family later moved to Tottenham and settled at York House (225) West Green Road where his father continued his profession as  a General Medical Practitioner. At the time of the 1891 Census John Louis Sykes, is listed  age  20 years and his  Occupation was given as a Medical Student.  He was later to qualify and followed his fathers footsteps to become a General Medical Practitioner himself. 

THE 1911 CENSUS - SYKES FAMILY- 225 WEST GREEN ROAD (YORK HOUSE)
(The signature would have been the original handwriting of Dr. J.L Sykes)
 

 

 

SPORTING ACHIEVEMENTS
 

Dr John Lewis Abel (Louis) Sykes MRCS, LRCP (1871 -1948).

  • Local GP who lived in West Green Road, Tottenham for 30 years at number 170 and then number 225

  • He played for 3 years for Spurs during their amateur days and took over 1,000 wickets for Tottenham Cricket Club over nearly 20 years - they were one of the major Metropolitan Cricket Clubs.

  • Nottingham born, son of Dr. Edwin John Sykes, Louis Sykes moved with his family from Derbyshire to York House, 170 West Green Road, Tottenham after 1881 and before 1886.

  • Later they moved to Holmbush, 225 West Green Road, Tottenham.  Dr Louis Sykes lived there until 1932.

  • Louis Sykes played football for London Hospitals and United Hospitals from at least 1890 when he would have been 19 - played for London Hospitals v West Croydon (Wallington & Carshalton Herald 25/10/1890).

  • Described as ‘the outside right a most brilliant and fast player’ when he played for London Hospitals against Crouch End (Holloway Press 11/3/1892).

  • He was still playing for London Hospitals v Clapton (The Sportsman 27/10/1892).

  • His fellow Spurs and Tottenham Cricket Club colleague Stanley Briggs in a newspaper interview said that he started playing with Hermitage FC as centre half, at the age of 18 WS Borrow was their captain. This team developed into the Tottenham club. Dr.J L Sykes (United Hospitals) and myself defected from the Tottenham and joined the Hotspur. The Spurs at that period of their career were of course an amateur combination (Athletic Chat 1/1/1907).

  • Louis Sykes first appearance for Spurs aged 21 was in a friendly with Uxbridge in January 1892 (Spurs Alphabet).  Also in the Spurs for that team were Tottenham Cricket Club colleagues – Spurs first captain Jack Jull and HD(Sam) Casey. 

  • The newspaper review said that FJ Leese, Sykes and Weston were the pick of the Spurs team at that match (Sporting Life 6/1/1892).

  • Dr. Sykes played for Spurs v Casuals in Jan 1893 at Northumberland Park in front of several thousand spectators  the famous multi sportsman CB Fry played for Casuals (Sporting Life 30/1/1893).  Spurs included Stanley Briggs.

  • Louis Sykes made 57 Spurs appearances with 13 goals.  His father was a Spurs vice president during their amateur days. (The Spurs Alphabet).

  • After Spurs first FA Cup success in 1901 the local newspaper reflected – ‘there are a whole flood of recollections come to one’s mind in this hour of triumph. The early enthusiasm of our amateurs when men like Sykes, Briggs, Burrows , Jull, Cubberley and Payne did their bit to push the club along’  (TEWH 3/5/1901).

  • After 2 years playing for Spurs he then played for Crouch End. (The Spurs Alphabet by Bob Goodwin).

  • There were 1,500 people watching the match when Crouch End played Old St Marks in Nov 1894.

  • There was general laughter in the crowd ‘when Sykes who in shooting from the wing took one of the spectators top hats for the cross bar which was prettily shot off’ (the hat not the bar (Holloway 23/11/1894).

  • He played for Crouch End in 1894 when they played Casuals which included CB Fry again – despite losing 5-2  the newspaper review said Sykes ‘played a fine game’ (Holloway Press 5/10/1894)..-

  • Crouch End included Dr. Sykes, Charlie McGahey and Stanley Briggs when they played Eastbourne in Sept 1894 (Field 29/9/1894).


 

 


DOCUMENTS SHOWING  DR. J.L SYKES INVOLVEMENT WITH SPURS
(
Illustrations courtesy of  authors - Bobby Buckle - Authorised Biography)
 


BOBBY BUCKLE TESTIMONIAL - DECEMBER 1892 -J..L SYKES MEMBER
 
 


MEMBERSHIP CARD, 1895-96 SHOWING DR. SYKES AS A VICE PRESIDENT

 

 

CONTINUED
  • J.L Sykes will this season be found occasionally assisting his old love Tottenham Hotspur. He has had a remarkably successful season with the Tottenham.(London Football Evening News (7/9/1895).

  • In 1895 he played v Leyton (Sporting Life 23/11/1895),  v 2nd Coldstream Guards (Sporting Life 30/11/1895).

  • In  1896 and 1897 Dr. Sykes played for the team described as the Spurs Old Crocks   The 1897 Old Spurs team also included Jack Oliver, Sam Casey, Bobby Buckle, Jack Jull. Jimmy Eccles, Headley Bull. Frank Cotterel, and Frank Walford (Middlesex Gazette 25/4/1896 and 17/4/1897).

  • Spurs played an annual cricket match against the Tottenham Cricket Club from the late 1890’s until the cricket club lost its ground in 1907 and Louis Sykes played in most of them playing for Tottenham Cricket Club.

  • Dr. Sykes was later described as a flying right winger and perhaps a greater cricketer (Sunday Mirror 22/12/1929).

  • He started playing for Tottenham Cricket Club (TCC) in the 1889 season when he would have been 18.  He was awarded a prize for TCC 2nd XI bowling in the 1889 season (TEWH 20/12/1889).

  • 1891 he won a prize for topping the bowling average (TEWH 18/12/1891).

  • 1895 JL Sykes took over 100 wickets for TCC and was described as a bowler of exceptional ability (Evening News London 7/9/1895).    

  • Tottenham Cricket Club ran 3 teams and had a strong fixture list including matches against MCC, Essex Club and Ground,

  • In the 1898 match Louis Sykes bowled 29 overs and took 7 for 56 as the MCC were bowled out for 121. Unfortunately, Kent & England’s Alec Hearne had earlier bowled out Tottenham CC for 34 taking 8 wickets.

  • 1900 Dr. Sykes played 15 matches for Tottenham 1st XI scoring 247 runs in 11 innings including a top score of 129 not out whilst he bowled the most overs – 237 overs – taking 63 wickets at 11.60. No other bowler took more than 32 wickets (TEWH 12/10/1900).

  • By 1902 Dr. Sykes has just completed the capture of 1,000 wickets (TEWH 12/12/1902).  This astonishing amount would have meant that he was taking about 80-90 wickets a season.

  • Dr.Sykes played for 18 seasons for Tottenham Cricket Club and was still playing regularly for the Club’s 1st XI during the 1906 season when he would have been in his mid-30’s.

  • Dr.Sykes in 1908 was described as ‘for ten years one of the prominent club cricketers in London’, during this time taken over 2,000 wickets. Professional duties have kept Dr. Sykes out of county cricket or he would doubtless have secured a fairly regular place in the Middlesex team (Hornsey & Finsbury Park Journal 1/5/1908).

  • Doctor Sykes was described as a good off-break bowler by future New Zealand captain Daniel (Dan) Reese  in his book Was it all cricket by Daniel Reese. 1948..  Reese played one season in the UK in 1907, he played for Tottenham Cricket Club, Essex and the WG Grace’s London team. He was inducted in the New Zealand sports Hall of Fame in 1997.

  • In the 1906 season Dr. Sykes took 8 wickets  v Barnet 1906 (TEWH 11/5/1906). 5 wickets for 28 runs against Woodford. Dr Sykes who figures in the first team somewhat rarely (TEWH 17/8/1906).

  • In 1907 he played for Tottenham CC 2ND XI but as a batsman.

  •  Other mentions of Louis Sykes in the local newspaper give an indication of his life.

  • One of the three judges along with Spurs HD (Sam) Casey at the weight lifting competition at the Tottenham Physical Culture Club ( TEWH 14/12/1904).

  • May 1908 Dr.Sykes aged 37 married Mabel Ellen Tidmas at St Anne’s Church, Tottenham (Hornsey & Finsbury Park Journal 1/5/1908).   He was a Sidesman at St Ann’s  (TEWH 8/4/1904).

       

 

  • A member of Tottenham Chess club team (TEWH 9/11/1906).

  • He was summoned for riding a bicycle on the footpath – he pleaded the muddy state of the road and that he was going to an urgent case – Case dismissed (TEWH 1/1/1909)

  • At a meeting in July 1910 at Downhill Schools  he was on a provisional committee to run the Carnival in West Green Ward  (TEWH 15/7/1910).

  • Dr. Sykes acting house surgeon at Tottenham Hospital (TEWH 17/8/1910).

  • The Annual carnival at the Prince of Wales Hospital -Dr Sykes was the chairman of West Green Road committee (Islington 15/9/1911).

  • Dr. Sykes Chairman of the West Green Institute Swimming Club (TEWH 1/12/1911).  Picture below West Green Social Club and Institute

  • Dr. Sykes was a witness in an industrial trial where he was reminded by counsel that a medical referee had given an opinion – Dr. Sykes said ‘I am not going to set my opinion up against a referee but even referees in football matches sometimes go wrong in their decisions (Laughter from attendees) (TEWH 28/2/1912).

  • One of Grove United Football Club’s Vice Presidents they  played in Downhills Park (TEWH 7/8/1914).

 

TOTTENHAM CRICKET CLUB


The above photograph shows Tottenham Cricket Club in 1890 and it is highly probable that Dr. J.L Sykes is pictured. Unfortunately, we do not have the names of all the players.
He first played for Tottenham Cricket Club (TCC) in the 1889 season when he would have been just 18 years old. By all accounts he was a very accomplished all-rounder. But it was his achievements as a bowler that gained him most recognition.

Another prominent player for Tottenham Cricket Club was Percy Perrin who first played for the club aged 16 in 1892. Percy Perrin went on to play for Essex C.C.C where he remains to day as one of their highest  ever run scorer.

 

 LATER LIFE  
  • 1929 the partnership of Doctors JLA Sykes & GLT Lawlor at 225 West Green Road was dissolved (The London Gazette 5/3/1929).

  • From his obituary he retired in 1933 and moved to Bath and lived at 27 Bradford Road, Coombe Down, Bath where he died 15 years later  

  • His wife died in Bath late 1936.

  • In his 1948 obituary in the local paper amongst other bequests he left money to the waitresses at the Fortts Restaurant in Green Street, Bath. Later in the obit it mentioned that he was one of the foundation members of Spurs and that on one occasion he was instrumental in preventing the club being dissolved  (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Advertiser 30/10/1948)

  • In the national papers there was mention of another bequest to a neighbour but nothing about his sporting prowess (Daily Mirror 29/10/1948).

  • He left small bequests to several Tottenham based charities.

 


In the probate listing following his death it is recorded that he left £19,580 - Quite a considerablesum for the day.

He is buried in Bath Abbey Cemetery.

Article prepared and edited by Alan Swain from original notes provided by Richard Derrick

We acknowledge the approval to use two illustrations from the 'Bobby Buckle' Autobigraphy