Long live Eccles: rare Chelsea Shed Boys pictures resurface

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?

1970 london skins going to world cup final

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.



20 thoughts on “Long live Eccles: rare Chelsea Shed Boys pictures resurface

  1. Matt, we conversed elsewhere about what comrade Eccles might be wearing in these two photos.

    Shirt: I’m having doubts as to that shirt being a Ben Sherman. Maybe somebody can prove me wrong, but I don’t remember that combination of stripes. There appears to be at least three colours in that combination, and that is unfamiliar to me. Also the collar doesn’t seem to sit like a BS. Go on, prove me wrong.

    Strides: Tricky – you seem pretty sure that they’re not Levis, but again at the time I can’t recall anyone wearing any other brand in London. The thing about Levi Sta-Prest is that they weren’t all to the same design – you could, for example, get fob- or fly-pockets. The belt loops on Ecc’s strides seem too small for Lee-Prest, but what do I know!

    Jacket: I’ve struggled with this, because I can’t recall anyone wearing surfer jackets by the time light-coloured Sta-Prest and striped BS were worn – anyone at all! But what else can this jacket be? The contrast on the pictures is high, making it very difficult to discern detail. If you look at the bottom picture, the bloke next-but-one to the (our) right from Eccles is probably wearing a Harrington with the collar up; you could imagine that Eccles was wearing one too, but foreshortening and high contrast obscures the collar. I wondered whether it was a cardie, but the two blokes on the left are wearing cardigans of the length we wore. One both photos he appears to be wearing a small button badge, which would have been unlikely on a Harrington. We know he had a Harrington – a green one like mine at the time – but this isn’t it.

    I enlarged the photo and monkeyed about with the definition and contrast, and some details do emerge. It does appear to have a zip, and it does appear to have a surfer neck, not a Harrington collar. Its slimness indicates it’s unlined, but we would have been reluctant to pin a button bade on a single-skin nylon surfer, because it would have left holes and maybe ripped altogether. I’m wondering whether it may be black suede, seeing as we’re out on a limb anyway, in the era of Sta-Prest and Ben Sherman.

    Maybe all will be revealed when the other pics emerge. Maybe there’ll be more pics of Eccles than there are of me! Can’t say I’ll be sorry!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have had a few BS shirts with various coloured stripes, all in the 70s, so a do not know what some clown is going on about? also, it is mainly window pane check types, or plane that we are used to seeing.


  2. I’m wearing the crombie, sta priest ivy smooths, check Ben Sherman, photo taken Worlds End SW10 April/May 1970 there’s a better photo taken Coomber Rd SW6 at the same time

    Liked by 1 person

  3. old Bradford Chelsea supporter looking to get back in contact with danny Eccles and primo (nickname). Anyone know any contact details please.


  4. Trying to get in contact with babs or Eccles, anyone know where they drink these days? Gutted I missed the reunion!


  5. Was part of the North Stand with Eccles/Babs/Mike G, last time I saw Danny H was at Reading away quite a few seasons ago


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