Treasured items from legendary Leeds footballer featured on Antiques Roadshow filmed in Roundhay Park

The “beautiful story” of a legendary Leeds footballer was shared with experts from the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow after camera crews descended on the city.
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The popular programme sees people travelling from across the country to have their unique and unusual items valued by professionals – and this week’s episode was set against the lush green backdrop of Leeds’ own Roundhay Park.

Among the treasured antiques featured on Sunday (October 1) were two rare caps that belonged to 1930s footballing legend Joseph Eric Stephenson. He is known for having played for Leeds United before the Second World War, but was also commended for his bravery in the conflict.

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As well as the footballs caps, Stephenson’s great great-grandson brought along his relative’s war medals to be examined by expert Raj Bisram in Roundhay Park.

Among the treasured antiques featured on Antiques Roadshow on October 1 were two rare caps that belonged to 1930s footballing legend Joseph Eric Stephenson, who is also known for his bravery in World War Two. Photo: Copy by Steve Riding.Among the treasured antiques featured on Antiques Roadshow on October 1 were two rare caps that belonged to 1930s footballing legend Joseph Eric Stephenson, who is also known for his bravery in World War Two. Photo: Copy by Steve Riding.
Among the treasured antiques featured on Antiques Roadshow on October 1 were two rare caps that belonged to 1930s footballing legend Joseph Eric Stephenson, who is also known for his bravery in World War Two. Photo: Copy by Steve Riding.

The auctioneer explained: “[Joseph Eric Stephenson] was a legend of Leeds because he had two careers: his footballing career, and then his career in the war.”

He added: “He came from an extremely humble background. He was from London, but because his parents didn’t have a lot of money, they moved to Roundhay in Leeds.

“He trialled for Leeds and, at 16, they offered him a contract. It was £12 a week, which was a lot of money in those days. It meant he could carry on playing football and support his family. It’s a beautiful story.”

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It was explained that Stephenson enlisted in October 1939, a month after war broke out. He was a physical training instructor in the army, but later stepped up to be a commissioned officer in the Indian Army with which he led a company of Gurkhas.

Antiques Roadshow, which is now in its 45th series, was filmed in Roundhay Park, Leeds. Photo: Friends of Roundhay Park.Antiques Roadshow, which is now in its 45th series, was filmed in Roundhay Park, Leeds. Photo: Friends of Roundhay Park.
Antiques Roadshow, which is now in its 45th series, was filmed in Roundhay Park, Leeds. Photo: Friends of Roundhay Park.

Stephenson served in three campaigns, before he was killed in action in September 1944.

The two England football caps – one of which was for playing against Ireland and the other for a match against Scotland – were valued between £1,200 and £1,500. The medals were valued between £80 and £120.