Almost certainly the first Southerner to play for Everton Football club, Godfrey Turner, came from a most eminent family background. His Father Charles, was a prominent floriculturist of Victorian England and was the lessee of the Royal Nurseries at Slough where he employed around 100 people. He had formerly held the license of a Flower Nursery at nearby Chelvey with his Wife Susannah and Godfrey, their 6thchild, was born here on the 26th of July 1854.
Godfrey was educated Crawford School and Twickenham College after which his movements are something of an enigma. Official FA records place him acting as Umpire at an International match between Scotland and England – 23rd of March 1878 – at Hampden Park in Glasgow wherethe home side won 7-2. However, the claim that he was representing Edinburgh University does not comply with their Matriculation Album that lists his arrival as being the 12th of December 1878. Turner, at thismoment in time, claimed to be a member of the London Wanderers club.
The Edinburgh University Football team of 1878.
During his time at University, he had become acquainted with members of the Bateson family and this may have been the reason why he chose to opened a business in their home town of Liverpool.
Around 1880, the name of GW Turner starts to appear in the Liverpool newspapers while playing for Wavertree Cricket Club at Sandown Lane. Assisted by his friend J F Bateson, he tried to form an association football team amongst the Wavertree members of the but it disbanded after just one season. Nonetheless the football skills of Godfrey Turner had been noted and he was invited to represent Everton at Stanley Park– 18th of November 1880 – against the church of St Mary in Kirkdale. Turner scored twice as Everton won 7-0.
The 1881 census finds him living with the Hughes Family at 48 Chestnut Grove, Wavertree where he gives his occupation as a Brewer. Following his single game with Everton, Turner joined Bootle Football Club andwas in the side when they faced Everton – in January 1882 – at Bootle Cricket Ground. Everton won 4 -1. Next month Godfrey Turner, along with the Bateson family, became a founder member of Liverpool Ramblers Football Club.
The highlight of his time with Ramblers came when he was invited to make a guest appearance for the Corinthians during their Christmas tour of 1886 where he once again “linked up” with his former team mate from Edinburgh University, Dr John Smith. The match, against Everton, took place at Anfield and the home side were beaten by 4 goals to 2. Godfrey Turner spent the rest of his football career with Liverpool Ramblers and became one of their most seniormembers.
At the time of the 1891 census, he is found lodging with the Robinson family at 11 Rathbone Road while in 1901 he lives at 10 Ashfield, Wavertree and employs a Housekeeper. He is still in the business of Brewing Beer. He later settled in Wallasey where he spent his declining years before entering the Turner Memorial Home in Liverpool. Godfrey Turner died at this location and his body was taken back to Slough where his funeral service was held – 24th July 1936 – at the church dedicated to St Mary.