Monday 20 July 2015

Tony Goulding on Cricket clubs in Chorlton ........South West Manchester and Chorlton-cum-Hardy

Both of Chorlton's cricket clubs present difficulties for a researcher as both have similarly named clubs in the area with which they could easily be confused.

Chorlton-cum-Hardy Pavilion
As well the obvious problem posed by Chorlton-on-Medlock there was also a cricket club known simply as "Chorlton" who in fact played in one of first recorded matches in the Manchester area against "Manchester Clarence" in 1843.

Incidentally some earlier matches dating back to 1832 were played by “Manchester" (the forerunner of the Lancashire county team) against both Sheffield and Yorkshire at a ground on Moss Lane which became the site of St Mary's church, Hulme

South West Manchester could well be mistaken for not only the South Manchester club which played on Burton Road ,Withington but also South East Manchester whose ground was on Anson Road, Rusholme (not far from Chorlton/Chorlton-on-Medlock's ground on Upper Brook St---.further muddying the waters).

Both clubs were formed in the early 1880's S-W. M. C .C . in 1882 and  the board outside their old ground (sadly no longer used for cricket) states that C-c-H.C.C. were formed in 1885.

The origins of this club go further back, however as it was reported in "The Manchester Times", dated May 31 1884, that a Mr. William Buckley was sentenced at the Salford sessions to 15 months imprisonment and 1 years police supervision for breaking into the Chorlton-cum-Hardy cricket club's hut and stealing a quantity of cricket balls.

Again both clubs appear to have fielded quite successful teams in the late Victorian era.
"Chorlton----"s record for the 1890 season was won 13, drew 3, and lost only 1 whilst, in the 1893 campaign even more impressively "South West" won 15, drew 4, and lost just the 1 match

In common with virtually every other sports club in the land each of Chorlton's cricket sides suffered tragic losses during World War 1.

Below are just two examples.

South West's secretary Frederick William Barker was mortally wounded on 29/30 August 1916 on the Somme  (probably during an attack on Delville Wood ) just 2 days after his promotion to Company Sergeant Major, "A" company 21st battalion Manchester Regiment -dying of his wounds on September 8 1916.

Lt. John Clarke of Hartington Road, a stalwart of the Chorlton-cum- Hardy team, was invalided home after being wounded on the western front 24th May 1918.

During the middle part of the last century significant developments took place Hardy Lane not only hosted some of the first official Lancashire Women’s cricket matches; against a Yorkshire XI on 15th. July 1933 and Middlesex 2 years later in May 1935 but also developed a multi-sport use of the ground with Tennis and Lacrosse sections of the club. The lacrosse team re-located to Timperly Cricket Club in 1970
This multi-use had not always been the clubs policy,however, as back in 1898 they had "evicted" Chorlton-cum-Hardy Hockey Club from their ground, causing that club to disband.

South West Manchester's score box and dressing rooms
South West 's ground is now on Ellesmere Road ,however some early reports indicate an entrance on Egerton Road  -- but the existence of a "Chorlton Congregational Cricket Club" whose pavillion , on this road ,was broken into ( and sporting equipment stolen) during February 1905 makes this a matter for conjecture .

The land it occupies was once part of Hobson Hall farm and according to John M.Lloyd  " ----- South West Manchester  Cricket Club now occupies the site-----" of the hall.

Other uses had been made of this open area from time to time ,notably a Whitsuntide gathering of Moss Side Unitarians on 19th May 1893 and "Volunteer shooting" practice on  2cnd October 1905.

The parent cricket club like the Hardy Lane one developed another sporting use of the site but here it took the form of a thriving Bowling section and the provision of snooker tables.
The post World War 2 history of these two venues  also includes some very interesting changes and events ; perhaps to be written up another time.

Finally ,and completely unrelated, but showing how one historical enquiry can so easily lead on to another  I uncovered this fact whilst looking for background on Hobson Hall. In the 1861 census one of the labourers on the farm was Henry Hayson who was to give evidence against the Habron brothers  in the P.C.Cock murder trial

© Tony Goulding, 2015

Picture; courtesy of Tony Goulding

1 comment:

  1. I lived at 29 Ellesmere Road from 1946 until 1956 . It had been unoccupied during the war when the owners went to live in Canada. Dad died in 1963, Mum stayed on for a few years . I believe it was bought by the owners of No 31 who developed the 2 properties as apartments.
    As children - myself and my younger brother and sister spent many happy hours not only watching the matches but enjoying games in the then untended grounds.
    One of my treasured possessions is my autograph book signed by some of the famous players who took part in Benefit Matches.. Happy Days!