The Watford Observer has teamed up with Watford Museum and its curator Sarah Priestley to take a journey back to the town’s past through items or places of historical significance.

We've reached item 32 in 'a history of Watford 50 objects' and it comes from the museum's extensive collection relating to Watford FC - a handbook for the 1899/1900 season which Sarah says "is full of fascinating detail and particularly interesting to me for the entry it includes about John (also known as Jack) Cother.

"John and his brother Edwin, who also played for Watford, were of Indian heritage. They were the first players of colour to play for Watford, and the first South Asian professional footballers in the country. We think of Watford as a diverse town today, with many cultures and heritages adding to our community, but this handbook shows that diversity isn’t such a recent thing in Watford.

"John in particular had an illustrious playing career at Watford, but why is it important to remember these trailblazers? The Cother Brothers played football on their merits, but colour often stalled the careers of many players of colour, and racism is still a problem in the sport today.

Read more: The Watford pub sign of its Victorian times

"It’s great to know that our club was at the forefront in the early days and that Watford Football Club cares so much about making football inclusive today with initiatives like Watford Welcomes and recent success in gaining the Premier League’s Advanced Equalities Standard.

"You can read more about the story of John and Edwin in the latest edition of the Watford Treasury with an article by Bill Hern which will be on sale at the museum when we reopen and is available online at"

Watford Museum is currently closed under lockdown restrictions but you can still pay it a virtual visit at or find the museum on Facebook and Instagram @watfordmuseum