West Ham football clubs most famous nickname is probably “The Hammers” but in reality they were originally known as “The Irons”, this nickname then progressed onto “The Hammers” later on.
The Irons nickname isnt really a surprising one when you realise West Ham were originally known as Thames Ironworks FC, of course ironworks require hammers to hammer in nails so again its no surprise to see this reflected in the club crest, we are of course referring to the famous crossed hammers …… which gives you a clue to where the more well known nickname came from !!
The card below shows the Hammers nickname in caricature form, it is from a series named AFC Nicknames which was originally released in 1933 by Ogdens.
The cards were subsequently reprinted in 1997 by Imperial Publishing and the text on the back reads;
"Visitors to Upton Park may have been mystified by the stentorian shout "Up the Irons", which always seem to inspire the West Ham team to greater effort. The cry survives from the days when the club was known as Thames Ironworks. It was started by workmen of the company in 1895; in 1900 the name was changed to West Ham and since then they have been known as The Hammers."
Another football cigarette card that mentions the "Hammers" nickname is shown above, this was issued by Sweetule in 1959 and shows a caricature of the team nickname and a footballer in the West Ham kit, the text on the back reads;
"Another team which has derived its nickname from its clubs name. The Hammers were originally Thames Ironworks FC. Founded in 1895 and later reformed and admitted to Div II in 1919"
As you can see from the sentence above, and of course in line with most football nicknames, there is other “theories” as to how a club gets its nickname. West Ham are no different, some people claim that the nickname Hammers is simply derived from the team name.
We don’t believe that though not given the obvious reasons apparent in the football clubs history !!
The cartoon above is Paninis take on the West Ham Forest football nickname, this was part of the Panini 86 sticker series. This sticker, and the other cigarette cards, can be purchased on our Footybits site where they have been mounted in a clear fridge magnet.