A new book by Martyn Routledge provides an innovative vision of British history from the dinosaurs to the digital era, using an unusual lens – football badges.
Martyn has carved out a fascinating niche exploring the world of football club badges, after he turned his final degree dissertation while studying BA (Hons) Graphic Design into a book entitled The Beautiful Badge published in August this year. This reached the No 1 slot on Amazon (Sports History), and won Illustrated Book of the Year at the 2019 Telegraph Sports Books Awards.
For The Beautiful History: Football Club Badges Tell the Story of Britain – written with Elspeth Wills, and illustrated by Adam Forster – Martyn uses the football badges of over 100 British clubs as a springboard to explore the history that inspired their imagery, revealing a host of surprising and quirky stories. As well as illustrations, the book includes activities, suggested places to visit, a football timeline and quiz.
Martyn says: “The book uses football to bring alive the wider historical context, and in doing so plots the story of Britain. It uses graphic wit to get young people who love football engaged in history – especially if they are not naturally inclined to academic subjects. We wanted to make the book fun, interesting and spark questions. It really is an education tool disguised as a book about football!
“What does Colchester United’s eagle tell us about Roman Britain? Why do the badges of three football clubs feature the Mayflower, the ship on which the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for the New World? How does the Norwich City canary celebrate 16th century refugees? And which team honours the Battle of Britain, and why?”
You can see a selection of images and excerpts from the book on the mr. Creative Studio website.