W.A. & A.C. Churchman was originally established in 1790 by William Churchman and originally sold small pipe tobacco from their shop on Hyde Park Corner in Ipswich. It was not until 1888 that the company began producing ‘white cigarettes’ and were soon producing more than 20,000 an hour with newly-installed manufacturing machines.

The company was now run by William Alfred and Arthur Charles Churchman, grandsons of William Churchman, and was at the forefront of tobacco production in the United Kingdom. Facing increased competition from America, however, Churchman took the decision to join the Imperial Tobacco Company with six other British firms in 1902. As the company expanded it’s output, it opened a new facility at the junction of Portman Road and Princes Street. In the years leading up to the First World War, Churchman was one of the most popular tobacco brands in the country.

Churchman published its first set of football cards in 1909, Football Club Colours, followed by Footballers Portraits soon after. In 1914 it released a series of coloured action pictures with individual portraits as insets. These proved incredibly popular and are among the most recognisable cards from the period.