Stuart Roy Clarke

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Stuart Roy Clarke at St George's Park, in front of his picture "Looking Up".

Stuart Roy Clarke is an English documentary photographer based in Lincolnshire, England. His major works include The Homes of Football and Scenes from a British Summer Country Pop Music Festival.


Clarke was born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire on 19 August 1961, the youngest of three children of Mary (born Punton-Smith) and Roy Percy Clarke, a quantity surveyor. His paternal grandfather, Percy, was the mayor of Berkhamsted between the Wars and commissioned the building of many of the town’s recreational facilities and also oversaw the opening of the town’s Rex cinema and the arrival of The British Film Institute (then The BFI National Archive) at Kingshill in 1935. His maternal grandfather was a master at Millfield School (founded 1935) near Glastonbury where his mother spent her early years.

Further education led Clarke through a year at Hertfordshire College of Art & Design at St Albans where his photography abilities and keen eye were seized upon by product designer cum lecturer Richard Seymour. Accordingly, Clarke proceeded to do a degree in Film & Photographic Arts at the Polytechnic of Central London.


After several years of working for local newspapers in Hertfordshire and as a freelance photographer for Time Out magazine in London, Clarke went to live in The Lake District, where he began “The Homes of Football”[1] in 1990.

Stuart Roy Clarke on photographic assignment in front of huge Carlisle flag at an England football match abroad in 2004.

The football opus, documenting the changing face of the game, was self-funded initially but then evolved into a touring exhibition hired by various municipalities and shown in 80 museums and art galleries over a 15-year period. In 1997 Clarke also opened a permanent gallery[2] to his football work in the heart of the Lake District, at Ambleside, in the county of Cumbria.

In 2005, he started “Cumbria Surrounded”, which went on to win the Lakeland Illustrated Book Of The Year in 2010

The football project has continued to dominante Clarke’s career, with recent summers revolving around photographing British pop festivals, including Glastonbury.


The Homes of Football[edit]

The Homes of Football Bristol Exhibition 2004

The Homes of Football is composed of photographs taken entirely on medium format film, without cropping or undue retouching and without photoshop, using a Bronica camera without any change of (standard) lens or use of light meter. The transparencies (positives) are then scanned to produce digital files for archiving and print production. Comprising over 100,000 images, from the 1990s and every decade since, and ongoing, The Homes of Football is one of the largest collections of football photography in the world.

Roy Clarke began The Homes of Football in the wake of the Hillsborough Disaster and the resulting Taylor Report. The earliest photograph in the collection is of four boys at Kilbowie Park, home of Clydebank, in 1989 - a club and ground that has since disappeared. During the 1990s, Clarke made thousands of trips to football matches, photographing the crowd and the grounds themselves. The focus was on the ordinary football supporter, rather than the more 'glamorous' side of the game. Clarke was also the only official photographer for The Football Trust from 1991 and its successor The Football Foundation until 2005. The collection has had the singular support of the professional Footballers Association all along.[3]

Exhibitions (UK unless specified)[edit]

  • 1991: The Homes of Football, Burnley Towneley Hall Art Gallery, Barrow Forum 28 Gallery, Leeds City Museum
  • 1992: The Homes of Football, Stoke Museum & Art Gallery, Derby Metro Gallery, Birkenhead Williamson Museum & Art Gallery, Coventry Herbert Museum & Art Gallery, Bath F-Stop Gallery, Wigan History Shop Museum, Hove Museum & Art Gallery, Bournemouth Russell Cotes Museum & Art Gallery, Scunthorpe Museum & Art Gallery
  • 1993: The Homes of Football, Maidstone Library Gallery, Bilston Museum & Art Gallery, Aylesbury County Museum, Durham DLI Art Gallery, Fulham Library Gallery, Mansfield Museum & Art Gallery, Peterborough Museum & Art Gallery, Huddersfield Art Gallery, Westminster House of Commons (one day only), Hitchin Museum & Art Gallery, Middlesbrough Art Gallery, Southend Focal Point Gallery, Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery, Guernsey Museum & Art Gallery, Salford Museum & Art Gallery, Milton Keynes Exhibition Gallery
  • 1994: The Homes of Football, High Wycombe Guildhall, Grimsby Heritage Centre, Swansea Industrial Museum, Belfast Ulster Museum, Carlisle Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery
  • 1995: The Homes of Football, Bradford Industrial Museum, Warrington Museum & Art Gallery
  • 1996: The Homes of Football, Reading Museum & Art Gallery, Edinburgh City Arts Centre, Liverpool Museum of Liverpool Life, Coatbridge Summerlee Heritage Park
  • 1997: The Homes of Football, Arbroath Art Gallery, Forfar Methen Art Gallery, Paisley Museum & Art Gallery, Prescot Museum, Barnsley Cooper Gallery, Stockport Art Gallery
  • 1998: The Homes of Football, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Kilmarnock Dick Institute, Yorkshire York Museum, Wrexham Arts Centre, Falkirk Callendar House, Birmingham Mac
  • 1999: The Homes of Football, Holyhead Arts Centre, Dunfermline Pittencrief Museum, Kirkcaldy Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter Museum & Art Gallery, Cheltenham Museum, Dumfries Museum & Art Gallery, Stranraer Museum, Kirkcudbright Museum, Lincoln Usher Gallery, Luton Artezium, London RIBA
  • 2000: The Homes of Football, Gillingham Library, Strood Library, Solihull Arts Complex, Oldham Museum & Art Gallery, Darlington Art Gallery, Hull Ferens Art Gallery, Watford Museum, Wakefield Art Gallery
  • 2001: The Homes of Football, Leamington Spa Museum, Sheffield Galleries, Warrington Museum
  • 2002: The Homes of Football, Leicester Museum, South Shields Museum, Coventry Herbert Art Gallery, Leeds Corn Exchange, Bolton Museum & Art Gallery
  • 2003: The Homes of Football, Cardiff St.David's Hall, Sunderland Art Gallery, Salford Lowry Outlet, Reading Museum & Art Gallery, Shrewsbury Museum
  • 2004: The Homes of Football / Football in our Time, Gateshead Library, Lisbon University Portugal, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Norwich Forum
  • 2012: The Homes of Football, National Football Museum, Manchester
  • 2013: The Homes of Football / True Colours, National Football Museum, Manchester
  • 2014: The Homes of Football / Northern League 125, National Football Museum, Manchester
  • 2018 - 2019 THE Game, National Football Museum, Manchester

Critical response[edit]

John Motson called the work: "A unique and wonderful collection of football scenes. Stuart Roy Clarke puts a new perspective on the game."[4]

Bryan Robson, the then manager of Middlesbrough, wrote in 1996 that: “Stuart Clarke has brought to life the international game of football with a series of outstanding, innovative and often witty photographs.”[5] Mike Foster, General Secretary of The FA Premier League added in 1998 “The exhibition really is paradise for any lover of football. The feelings I had were not dissimilar to walking into an empty stadium; soaking up the atmosphere and letting your imagination wander – you really do lose yourself in the surroundings” ... and in 2010 on the release of an anthology of Clarke's Homes of Football work adds "I never tire of looking at the photographs. They are captivating and evocative of a football lovers’ halcyon days."

Kevin Roberts, Worldwide CEO of Saatchi&Saatchi, described the Ambleside gallery as "an amazing experience"[6]in a 2009 article about Clarke's work on his blog aimed at the creative and advertising world.

Philip Köster, managing director of '11 FREUNDE - Magazin für Fußballkultur' writes that: "Clarke depicts football at its core, which eventually makes its indestructible: passion. Whatever he takes photos of he always searches automatically for the emotional centre of the picture. Clarke is a documentalist of change, an incorruptible contemporary witness with a camera.”[7]


  • 1997–2011: The Homes of Football at Ambleside: three-storey Museum
  • 2001–2007: Homes of Football: At The Football Association HQ London
  • 2014–current: The Homes of Football: In the Courtyard of FA Centre of Excellence, St George's Park National Football Centre


  • The Homes of Football (1996) by Stuart Clarke
  • Passion of A Nation (1999) by Stuart Clarke, Little Brown & Co
  • More Than A Game (2001) by Stuart Clarke, Random House
  • Football In Our Time (2003) by Stuart Clarke, Mainstream Publishing
  • England The Light (2004) by Stuart Roy Clarke, Giant Step Publishing
  • Scenes From A British Summer Country Pop Music Festival (2010) by Stuart Roy Clarke, SRC Books
  • Cumbria Surrounded (Somewhere Across A Promised Land) (2010) by Stuart Roy Clarke, SRC Books
  • The Cradle of The Game (2010) by Stuart Roy Clarke, SRC Books
  • The Homes of Football / Where the Heart Is (2013) by Stuart Roy Clarke, Bluecoat Press
  • Britische Fussballkultur in Den 90er Jahren (2014) by Stuart Roy Clarke, Edition Panorama
  • THE Game (2018) by Stuart Roy Clarke, Prestel Publishing


  • A Common Passion (1996), ITV written and presented by Stuart Clarke
  • Splendid Isolation (2000), ITV written and presented by Stuart Clarke
  • The Homes of Football / Stuart Roy Clarke (2012), Northern Stars / National Football Museum / British Sea Power
  • The Homes of Football / Inside Out (2013), BBC1
  • The Homes of Football / True Colours (2013), FIFA Football Mundial
  • Stuart Roy Clarke / Sport in Focus (2014), BT Sport


  1. ^ Clarke, Stuart Roy. "The Homes of Football". 
  2. ^ Skelton, Helen (5 May 2005). "Homes of Football - Football heaven comes to Cumbria". BBC Cumbria. 
  3. ^ "Give me sport website". 
  4. ^ Clarke, Stuart Roy (1999). The Homes of Football: the passion of a nation. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0316647985. 
  5. ^ Clarke, Stuart Roy (1999). The Homes of Football. London: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0316647985. 
  6. ^ Roberts, Kevin. "Blog". 
  7. ^ Clarke, Stuart Roy (2014). The Homes of Football: Britische Fussballkultur in den 90er Jahren. Mannheim: Spielmacher in der Edition Panorama. p. 218. ISBN 978-3-95680-009-2.