The firm was founded in Ipswich by William Churchman in 1790, beginning as a small pipe tobacco manufacturer with a shop at Hyde Park Corner. In 1888 William Alfred (later Sir William) and Arthur Charles Churchman (later Lord Woodbridge and a director of the British American Tobacco Co. from 1904 to 1923), grandsons of the founder, succeeded their father, Henry, in the business.
Churchman produced several sets of cigarette cards to advertise its products, beginning in the first years of XX century, most of them related with sports, mostly association football sets. The first football set included rugby union players and appeared in 1909, featuring illustrated footballers of both codes in their clubs' shirts. Other football sets were released in 1914, 1938 and 1939 but only related to association football.
Churchman also released a railway series in 1935, and an athletes series (featuring photographs of sportsmen of diverse disciplines) in 1939.
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- "IMPERIAL TOBACCO LTD (FORMERLY W A AND A C CHURCHMAN LTD), IPSWICH AND NORWICH". The National Archives. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- The History of Football Cigarette Cards by John Simkin, on Spartacus Educational, September 1997
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