ORIENT’S badge is an unusual one to say the least with two mythical creatures, known as Wyverns adorning the crest. But over the years there have been a number of changes to the design as Steve Jenkins explains….
Amazingly enough prior to the 1940s and going right back to the early years of Clapton Orient there does not appear to be an official club crest.
The only indication of a logo was on the club’s matchday programmes during the 1930s which show the famous Orient chevron with a football wedged within.
The first real crest appeared in 1946 following the change of name from Clapton to Leyton Orient and was basically the crest of the Borough of Leyton with the added latin motto ‘Ministrando Dignitas’ (meaning ‘Dignity through service’).
This remained the official club badge until 1965 when the Borough of Leyton was incorporated into the new London Borough of Waltham Forest.
For a short spell after that the O’s Manager of the time, Dave Sexton, designed a simple blue and white striped shield shaped badge. Mr Sexton departed the O’s in December 1965 and six months later the Orient had changed their crest yet again, by now the O’s were wearing a plain red kit and on their shirts was an oval badge with the colours of blue, white and yellow incorporated within.
There are suggestions this design was used to represent the colours of the shipping company P&O Group which took over the Orient Shipping Company whom the O’s were named after all those years ago.
Orient stayed with this design up to season 1969/70 when it was changed to a left facing red Dragon (similar to the Welsh Dragon) and the words ‘Orient FC’ above it within a shield – on the players shirts the Dragon was reversed out in white.
In August 1976, Orient organised a Competition to design a new club badge and there were two entrants, Clive M Brown and Mark Hodges whose designs were deemed as being very similar and therefore joint winners.
The O’s Chairman Brian Winston completed the final design before it was sent to the London College of Arms. This is still the current crest apart from the addition of ‘Leyton’ into the club name when the club reverted back to Leyton Orient in July 1987.
It has been asked on numerous occasions what the crest comprises of and why? The local Guardian Newspaper asked the same question several years ago and my answer was: the Leyton Orient crest comprises of two Wyverns facing each other. A Wyvern is a mythical creature, half Dragon and half Serpent. I believe the Dragon represents the crest of the City of London (very similar to Leyton Orient’s crest) whilst the Serpent represents Orient’s connections with the sea (Orient Shipping Company and P&O Group).
The football and date thereon are obvious inclusions on the crest.
The Guardian had many suggestions and my one was the one they chose, obviously this is only my interpretation and maybe it would be worth asking Clive Brown or Mark Hodges!
Steve Jenkins with help from Neil Kaufman