A look back at the origins of a Barnoldswick football club

Alverley Ashworth
Alverley Ashworth
Share this article

Barnoldswick Town’s games over the week were both postponed.

Saturday’s home clash with 1874 Northwich fell victim to a frozen pitch, while the rain on top of the snow and ice put paid to Tuesday’s trip to Padiham.

So it is an opportune time to look at the origins of a Barnoldswick Football Club, as researched by the late Town chairman Alverley Ashworth.

He found that Barnoldswick Cricket Club had been the pioneers behind the origins of football in the town, and also the creators of the first Barnoldswick Football Club.

On Thursday, August 15th, 1889, Thursday being cricket practice and probably team selection night, a committee meeting was held and a discussion took place regarding whether to start a football team.

The committee decided to go ahead, and that they would be responsible for the running of the football club’s affairs, and that the football club would play games on the lower part of the cricket ground – which then was situated in the Gisburn Road area of the town at Grimestopes.

The cricket club was in debt, and also had problems with the cricket ground’s landlord over non-payment of ground rent.

The situation came to a head while members of the cricket club were practising, when they were interrupted by Mr C.G. Bracewell, who presented notice that they should cease playing at once! The field was cleared and the gates fastened.

It didn’t sound like it was not the best situation for the new football club to begin it’s existence, but despite the problems, the football club began to play friendlies, then called ordinary games, for the first few years.

At this time it was common that some of the players played for both cricket and football clubs, such as J. Eastwood, A. Chadwick, J. Chadwick and E. Whipp.

The 1894 General Meeting of the Barnoldswick Football Club was held at the town’s Mechanics Hall in Jepp Hill, Barnoldswick on May 10th.

This building was to become in later years Barnoldswick’s Town Hall, and in more recent times has been converted to housing flats.

It was announced that the football club had severed their association with the cricket club and were to go it alone.

That meant leaving the Grimestopes Ground.

A small Committee was set up to find a new home.

The club were in the black, with £2-7s- 0½ pence in hand, a comfortable amount to build on for the club’s future.

The meeting also decided that the club intended to enter the Burnley and District League in the 1895-1896 season.

The committee secured a field, situated above Calf Hall on a portion of land at Hollins Farm, and the rest is history!

l Town are at Bootle tomnorrow, kick-off 3 p.m.