The club, called Thames Ironworks F.C, was founded in 1895. It belonged to Thames Iron Work Sand Shipbuilding Co. Ltd, the metallurgical and shipbuilding enterprise. Arnold Hills was the managing director, and Dave Taylor was the lead. In 1896, The Irons began to play in the League of London and won it in the 1897-98 season. In 1898, the club joined the Second Division of the Southern League and became professional. Irons won this tournament on the first try. In 1900, when the club became a limited liability company, Thames Iron Works F.C. changed its name to West Ham United F.C.
All the main nicknames go back to the old name of the club – Thames Ironworks, as well as hammers, depicted on the emblem. Emphasizing the club’s importance in the formation of the national team, the fans nicknamed West Ham as a “football academy.” Also, West Ham has a quite contemptuous nickname, “Cockney boys.” The point is that the natives of London, who belonged to the lower stratum and middle class, were called “cockney.”
Meaning and History
West Ham has a rich history of the logo changes, but for such a long period, the emblem has always had two unchanged items: hammers and the castle that was added a little bit later. Only the shape and color of the emblem were changed through this time.
There is no official confirmation of when the crossed hammers became a symbol of West Ham. The Thames Ironworks players as a shipbuilding plant team were liquidated in 1900 and later revived as a professional club named West Ham United. The earliest publication depicting the hammers was the program of the official match in the 1910/11 season. The shipyard team’s logo was represented by the image of the British flag with the inscriptions T.I.W., located above and FC, that was below.
For the first time, the fortress’s image appeared in the official pre-match programs during the 1921/22 season. The castle, located on the site of a home arena, is traditionally associated with Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. However, this belief is not based on facts, and the fortress was a structure known as the Green Street House. It was built in 1544, 8 years after Anne Boleyn’s execution. Two years later, a couple of towers were added to the House to emphasize the beauty of the local surroundings, one of which was preserved for a long time after the Second World War (demolished in 1955).
After the 1957/58 season, when West Ham returned to the highest English league, the fortress and crossed hammers were depicted on the emblem separately. The first image of the fortress and hammers as a whole composition appeared in the souvenir handbook, released in 1958. It was dedicated to the return of the club to the First Division.
Another interesting detail of the West Ham emblem is the shape of a shield. It looks like a section of the Royal British Navy armored frigate called Warrior built by the shipyard Thames Ironworks in 1860.
Over the next few decades, the coat of arms had experienced many changes, but the basic concept (crossed hammers against the background of the fortress) had not been changed.
In the late 1990s, the West Ham logo was significantly redesigned and updated by the London-based design agency Springett Associates. The fortress became yellow and wider with fewer cross-shaped loopholes. Also, the peaked ends of the towers disappeared. Designers changed the shape of the hammers, edging, and other small details to give the logo more solidity. That’s how the modern West Ham appeared.
In 2014, the Premier League club West Ham marked the Olympic Stadium’s move with a new emblem. Based on the traditional club colors, the new West Ham logo has a simpler and more streamlined form. The iconic image of the hammers was located in the center of the emblem and painted in golden color.
The fortress, which was on the previous emblem, has disappeared, and the inscription “West Ham United” has moved to the inner part and now is located at the top. The inscription “London” at the bottom of the logo has become a new detail, which was not on the previous version of the West Ham logo.
Most West Ham United logos feature crossed hammers and a Boleyn Castle. This concept has never changed: designers only experimented with shapes and colors.
1895 – 1900
In the year of foundation, the club presented its debut emblem: the image of the British flag with the inscriptions “T I W” (above) and “F C” (bottom). This is an abbreviation of the name Thames Iron Works Football Club.
1923 – 1950
After the rebranding of the logo, the center image of the logo was crossed rivet hammers used in the shipbuilding industry. Similar hammers are found in the arms of West Ham County and Newham Borough of London.
The tools reflect the club’s origins as an amateur Thames Iron Works team founded by shipbuilders. The instruments are surrounded by a burgundy ring and are located in the center of a stylized shield with a blue outline.
1950 – 1952
There is no ring on the new logo. Hammers are enlarged and occupy all the free space. The shield is quadrangular, with a burgundy border around the perimeter.
1952 – 1958
In 1952, the design of the shield on the logo changed again. It resembles the 1923 version, but with a double stroke.
1958 – 1963
The emblem of 1950 has returned. Now the logo is surrounded by a wide blue line.
1963 – 1968
The blue color on the logo has completely disappeared. The background has turned white.
1964 – FA-Cup-Final
During the F.A. Cup Final, the club used the logo with hammers and the Boleyn Castle fortress. According to legend, Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, lived in her. At the bottom of the triangular shield is the inscription “Wembley 1964” – the stadium’s name and the year of the match.
1965 – E.C.W.C.Final
Logo dedicated to E.C.W.C. Final, similar to the previous one. The only difference is the inscription “E. C. W.C. Wembley 1965. ”
1968 – 1975
The hammers and the lock on the logo are inside a quadrangular heraldic shield with a sharp base. Below – a curved ribbon with the name of the team.
1975 – 1980
The key elements of the 1975 logo are a large burgundy circle, a white castle with rounded towers, and blue hammers crossed in the center.
1980 – 1983
The version of the 1968 logo returned. In the sketch, more angles and straight lines appeared. The color scheme is yellow-blue.
1983 – 1985
For two years, symbols in the style of minimalism were used: a burgundy square with white crossed hammers and the abbreviation “W.H.U.F.C.”
1985 – 1987
An identical copy of the 1980 emblem
1987 – 1999
The color scheme of the logo has changed. The background inside the shield turned red.
1999 – 2016
In 1997, designers at Springett Associates revised the logo style. The castle increased, the triangular tops of the towers disappeared. A white inscription, “West Ham United” appeared on the ribbon under the shield.
2016 – present
There is no Boleyn Castle on the new logo because the club has moved from Boleyn Ground to the London Olympic Arena. There are only hammers with engraved “T.I.W.” on their sides – a tribute to Thames Iron Works. The team name has moved to the top of the shield. Below is the word “London.” According to legend, the shape of the shield coincides with the cross-section of the H.M.S. Warrior frigate, but real schemes prove the opposite.