A PIECE of Bradford’s sporting history is set to be auctioned off next month.

A Victorian silver ewer presented to rugby union player Harry Wharfedale Tennant Garnett by the Bradford Football Club on November 24, 1880, when he retired from the club ahead of his marriage the following month goes under the hammer.

Bradford FC, who played their first competitive game 150 years ago in February, 1867, moved to the newly-built Park Avenue ground in 1880 following a merger with Bradford Cricket Club.

The ewer was passed down through the family of Mr Garnett and has never been seen on the market before.

The trophy is inscribed with ‘Presented to HWT Garnett by Bradford Football Club, Nov 24th 1880’.

It was presented during the early days of the club’s history when they played rugby union, before they converted to rugby league in 1895, and then switched to football in 1907, eventually becoming known as Bradford Park Avenue.

Mr Garnett, who died in 1928, played for, and captained, both Bradford FC and Yorkshire Wanderers, and also won a cap for England in 1877.

After retiring as a player, he became a county administrator, president of the Yorkshire governing body from 1876 to 1883 and was named as the first Yorkshireman to become president of the Rugby Football Union in 1889.

John Dewhirst, 54, author of Room at the Top - The Origins of Professional Football in Bradford, which features the origins of the city’s sport in the 19th century and the history of Bradford Football Club, said it was wonderful that the trophy has been found.

He said: “There are not too many artefacts relating to Bradford Rugby Club from its heyday, they are few and far between. It is an era that is long forgotten about.

“It is wonderful that something like this has been discovered.

“He is rightly credited for having pioneered rugby football in Bradford, as well as in Yorkshire.

“Garnett had been a leading member of the club in the second half of the 1870s and under his captaincy the club had become known as the strongest in Yorkshire.

Otley-based Garnett had also been the second player from the club to be awarded an England cap by the rugby union in 1877."

“Garnett appears to have fallen out with other members of Bradford FC and while the trophy was a generous gift, it is notable that the presentation to him was poorly attended.”

The ewer is on offer as part of Tennants’ Summer Fine Art Sale in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, on July 15. For more information call 01969 623780 or email enquiry@tennants-ltd.co.uk.