Yesterday on the unofficial Chelsea FC forum, The Shed End, a photographer named David Nicolson posted a couple of rare Chelsea Shed Boys pictures, including of their notorious leader, Danny ‘Eccles’ Harkins.
In this great photo, Eccles appears to be wearing black 10-eye Dr Marten’s and a pair of white sta prest with turnups, although they don’t seem to be Levi’s as they haven’t got a hook and button fastener. His striped button-down shirt doesn’t look slim enough to be Brutus – note the waist area – so Ben Sherman is more likely.
The jacket is interesting. For a Harrington from that era, it’s too slim, and it doesn’t have the typical collar anyway. More likely, Eccles is wearing what was variously known as a monkey jacket, zipper jacket or surfer jacket – or simply ‘windbreaker’, as the older generation dubbed it. Although today’s retro monkey jackets normally feature tipping on collar and cuffs, this wasn’t always the case back in the day. Many zipper jackets were plain – not unlike what the Beach Boys wore on the cover of their 1965 seven-inch single, Farmer’s Daughter.
Eccles is wearing the same gear in this better known picture of 1970. We hazard a guess it was taken by David Nicolson on the same day?
In The Shed End, David writes that he spent “at least a year with Bubbles, Jean, Eccles and all the Shed Boys taking hundreds of photos for Sunday Times Magazine”. Apparently, he still has all the original negatives. David wants to reconnect with the boys and hints at some kind of album celebrating the Shed Boys in all their glory being in the pipeline. Now that is something we look forward to, and we’ll be watching that space closely.
Given that David posted the picture in a public forum, we hope he does’t mind us reproducing it here. In fact, we’d be over the moon if he contacted us as we’d love to hear stories about his time spent with the Shed Boys.