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Liverpool Caledonians FC

 

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paulh66
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Dec 30, 2014, 9:42 PM

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Post #1 of 28 (28696 views)
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Liverpool Caledonians FC Can't Post or Reply Privately

Over the weekend a mate mentioned a query raised by the local historical society about Liverpool Caledonians so I thought I'd see if anyone on here can help.

"We have been asked about a football ground known as Woodcroft Park, which in 1892 was the home of the Liverpool Caledonian AFC. The ground was described as "close to Wavertree Station ... The covered grandstand holds 1,000 persons, and the uncovered grandstand 2,000, while altogether 30,000 spectators can be accommodated".

The club was, apparently, one of the 'big four' in Liverpool at the time - and only just missed out on election to the Football League. Can anyone tell us exactly where the football ground was situated? Do any memorabilia of the club survive?"


The Wavertree station back then was on the Crewe-Liverpool line and was situated on Wellington Road, adjacent to the current Wavertree Park. Other references found on the internet suggest the Woodcroft Park ground was only a short walk from Wavertree station. So does anyone know if Woodcroft Park is now part of Wavertree Park, or was it somewhere else (in which case it would probably now be under houses)?

Incidentally, the other three of the 'big four' referred to in the quote would have been Everton, Liverpool and Bootle. I understand that Caledonians was set up to attract the Scottish expats who'd moved to Liverpool for work, but the newly-formed Liverpool FC proved too much of a counter attraction and the Caledonians soon folded.





(This post was edited by paulh66 on Dec 30, 2014, 9:45 PM)


pitch 63
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Dec 31, 2014, 10:19 AM

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Post #2 of 28 (28612 views)
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Re: [paulh66] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I would have thought that being described as one of the big four Liverpool clubs was an overstatement; the club lasted less than one season in the Lancashire League.


PaulC
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Dec 31, 2014, 10:20 AM

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Post #3 of 28 (28612 views)
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Re: [paulh66] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

A tough one. None of the contemporary maps I've seen show a likely candidate. There is, however, a Woodcroft Street in the vicinity.


Yorks Amateur
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Jan 1, 2015, 7:12 PM

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Post #4 of 28 (28255 views)
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Re: [paulh66] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Liverpool Caledonians are included in Denied FC by Dave Twydell.

Sadly, the two page article does not provide any info on the ground but it does confirm that Liverpool Caledonians were formed in 1891. They had professional aspirations from the start, as they set themselves up as a limited company. In their first season, they won the Liverpool Senior Shield and reached the semi of the Liverpool Senior Cup.

They applied for football league membership and were turned down. Thirteen teams applied for twelve places, so they were the unlucky team to miss out.

They were accepted in to the Lancashire League and played seven league games. They played in front of 2,500 (against Blackpool) and 5,000 (against Fairfield). They also made it to a fourth qualifying game in the FA Cup, where they lost 3-2 to Northwich Vics. They went in to liquidation shortly after and their brief league record was expunged.


(This post was edited by Yorks Amateur on Jan 1, 2015, 7:43 PM)


PaulC
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Jan 3, 2015, 8:49 PM

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Re: [paulh66] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

The 6 inch to the mile maps don't come up with much but the attached extract from an inch to the mile map (dated 1885-1900) suggests a possible location. I have marked on the map in red the line of the present Woodcroft Road and it passes through a possible rectangle which might have housed the ground.
Attachments: woodcroft.jpg (144 KB)


paulh66
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Jan 4, 2015, 3:40 PM

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Re: [PaulC] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Thanks for all the replies so far. Once this thread has run its course I'll pass this all on to the local historical society.

That map is intriguing, Paul. I could swear I'd seen an 1898 map of the area on which Woodcroft Road and the other streets in the neighbourhood had been built, but I'm blowed if I can find it again. Though it doesn't prove anything, this would fit though - a Woodcroft Park existing in early 1893 and a new Woodcroft Road appearing by 1898. Incidentally, there is also a Woodcroft pub in the area today, on Smithdown Road, and presumably at/near its junction with Woodcroft Road.

Another interesting source of information has been Kjell Hanssen's website charting the history of Liverpool FC via contemporary newspaper reports - http://kjellhanssen.com/...verpool-caledonians/ . A couple of snippets in there include an interesting one from the Liverpool Mercury on January 7, 1893:

"Liverpool Old Boys have acquired the ground known as Woodcroft Park, Wavertree, lately occupied by Caledonians F.C., and their home matches will be played on it in future. The accommodation for spectators is excellent, there being two stands (one covered), about 40 yards long each, with ample press conveniences.

There is also a good racing track, and the ground is very suitable for race meetings. The situation is most central, being only a minute`s walk from Wavertree Station, and within easy distance of Sefton Park, Wavertree, and Fairfield. The turf is perfectly level and well drained."

I've just contacted him to see if he may have any more information.


(This post was edited by paulh66 on Jan 4, 2015, 3:41 PM)


PaulC
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Post #7 of 28 (27686 views)
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Re: [paulh66] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

The Liverpool Mercury 22/12/1992 carries a front page notice

"CALEDONIAN FOOTBALL CLUB LIMITED - in liquidation

The Liquidator is prepared to receive Offers for his INTEREST in the LAND and ERECTIONS at Woodcroft Park, Wavertree. Offers to be sent in not later than the 28th instant.

For full particulars apply ...."

I note the reference to Old Boys and the ground being a one minute walk from Wavertree Station.



Old Boys were a rugby team. The penultimate reference to Woodcroft Park is in December 1897 when Old Boys played Broughton Park there. There's then a gap in reporting Old Boys matches but by 1899 they are playing their home matches at Edge Lane.

In May 1895 there is a reference to a cricket team - Windsor Wesleyans playing at Woodcroft Park.

The final reference to Woodcroft Park is in November 1900 for an association football match

"WEST DERBY & DISTRICT LEAGUE
Albion v Liverpool Central, Woodcroft Park, Wavertree. kick off 2.45 p.m."


It's location really is a quite a mystery.


PhilN
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Jan 4, 2015, 8:10 PM

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Post #8 of 28 (27653 views)
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Re: [paulh66] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

See attached.
1894 six inch to the mile OS map (surveyed between 1889 and 1891) shows area indicated on PaulC's attachment.
If it is the correct location the ground must have been laid out after OS survey took place.
Attachments: OS Lancs CV1.SE Pub 1894.jpg (102 KB)


paulh66
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Jan 4, 2015, 8:56 PM

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Re: [PhilN] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I've now found the 1898 map of the area - two, in fact, which seem to differ from each other on the existence of Woodcroft Road! This could be because they were surveyed at different times, though someone has commented that, for other reasons, the map which does show Woodcroft Road seems inaccurate for its date. They're at: http://historic-liverpool.co.uk/old-maps-of-liverpool (btw, both are interactive). Woodcroft Rd can be seen in the very top right of the first one - http://historic-liverpool.co.uk/...gland-and-wales-1898 .


IF Woodcroft Road existed in 1898, then it couldn't have been where the ground was given it was still hosting sporting fixtures in 1900.


But the area shown on Phil's map between the station and Grosvenor Hotel looks interesting. It too is shown as a blank space on the 1898 maps and, intriguingly, as an arena-shaped feature on this 1905-6 map: http://www.francisfrith.com/...ions/wavertree/maps/ . As yet, I haven't been able to find any reference to what was actually there.


[Incidentally, while it might have been tempting to think that the ground could have been swallowed up by Wavertree Playground (Park), this seems to be a non-starter as the "Mystery" (as the playgrounds are known locally) opened in 1895, and its use immediately prior to that is reasonably well documented - with no mention of the Woodcroft Park ground. And it wouldn't fit anyway, with Woodcroft Park still being used after 1895.]


PaulC
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Jan 5, 2015, 4:48 PM

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Post #10 of 28 (26596 views)
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Re: [paulh66] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Leicester University has online street/trade directories for many town and cities, including Liverpool

The 1894 Kelly's Directory doesn't appear to list any addresses in Woodcroft Road. However at 279 Smithdown Road is the Woodcroft Hotel. and between 271 and 273 it states "here is Woodcroft Road". Further back up Smithdown Road is the Angel Hotel and Woodcroft Cottage is then listed.

Looking at an 1850 map (attached) I have located "Woodcroft" which I take to be the Woodcroft Cottage mentioned above and this would seem to be the structure shown on later maps.

On the pre-Woodcroft Road map (attached) I've marked Woodcroft Hotel, Woodcroft Cottage and line of future Woodcroft Road. I've also marked out a 180 m by 110 m area to the north of the cottage - a smaller area is available to the south of the cottage.
Attachments: woodcroft1850.jpg (80.1 KB)
  woodcroft189s.jpg (137 KB)


paulh66
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Re: [PaulC] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

What a fascinating publication that Kelly's Directory is! Spent a good couple of hours poring through that, including what was in the other roads in the vicinity of where we're looking and I can see no mention at all of our elusive ground. This evening I've taken out a week's subscription to the British Online Archives, which houses the Gore's Liverpool trade directories for 1766-1900, including specifically those of 1891 and 1892. Hopefully something may turn up there.


The 180x110m area you drew may just be too small for the ground, bearing in mind it was said to be also suitable for racing (of some description), having a track around the pitch, while also accommodating attendances of up to 30,000. You never know, but I'm still keen to find out what, if anything, was in that area between the station and the Grosvenor Hotel.


paulh66
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Jan 13, 2015, 2:53 PM

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Re: [PaulC] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I've now had access to each of the Gore's trade directories from 1892 to 1900. They don't seem to mention the ground or Woodcroft Park, and the only references to an address for Liverpool Caledonians are in the city centre, presumably their registered office. They do, however, throw more light on the evolution of Woodcroft Road which, tantalisingly, is not inconsistent with Paul C's suggested location of the ground in post #10 and with the Liverpool Mercury chronology of the ground in post #7.

Specifically:

- Woodcroft Road appears in each of the 1892-1900 street directories but, for 1892-1897 inclusive, does not appear in the section that lists street 'admeasurements'. This would suggest that the 'street' was little more than an opening/spur off Smithdown Road during these years.

- In the directories for 1898 onwards, Woodcroft Road is included in the admeasurements section, and shown as being 374 yards long. This would suggest it was built some time during 1897.

- Even after being built, none of the 1898-1900 directories list any occupants/addresses in Woodcroft Road, suggesting that development of the road and its immediate vicinity took place after 1900. This in turn would allow for the ground to have still existed in Paul's suggested location - perhaps in a truncated form in its latter couple of years - up to 1900, after which the area was further developed.


(This post was edited by paulh66 on Jan 13, 2015, 3:03 PM)


PaulC
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Re: [paulh66] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Interesting. I do have the feeling that Woodcroft Road and its neighbouring roads were a long time in being developed.

I've found another map, which I don't recall having seen before, which I'll post later. It's shows a lot of the land around Woodcroft and towards the station being parcelled up in a way I haven't seen on other maps.


PaulC
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Re: [PaulC] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

False alarm I'm afraid. I thought I was looking at an 1890s map ... it was from the 1850s!


paulh66
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Re: [PaulC] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

A slight false alarm from me too! Everything I said about Woodcroft Road is correct but, after now checking the adjacent roads (Portman, Egerton, Granville and, in part, Langton), the same applies to them too. The admeasurements given mean that all these roads joined Smithdown Road with Lawrence Road by 1898 - which means they all ran through the area you boxed in red. However, these roads (including Woodcroft Road) were, at some point after the 1900 directory, subsequently extended beyond Lawrence Road and up to Grosvenor Road, which means the ground could have been the plot behind the Salisbury Hotel i.e. just across the road from your 'red box'. This appears to be a slighty larger plot than the red box, which might fit better with the reported 30,000 capacity of the ground...


(This post was edited by paulh66 on Jan 13, 2015, 8:56 PM)


paulh66
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Re: [paulh66] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I contacted the Wavertree Society to let them know of this thread and to see if they could offer any more insight. Although the mystery of exactly where Caledonians played is still unresolved, I received a detailed and most appreciative reply from their secretary, Mike Chitty, who offers another lead which tantalisingly plays to the Caledonian heritage. For interest, here are excerpts from his reply:


A key point, which I'd overlooked before, is the reference to the ground
being "only a minute`s walk from Wavertree Station" (Liverpool Mercury,
7 Jan 1893). That - assuming it can be taken literally - really does narrow
down the 'search area' quite considerably. Woodcroft Road is much further
away than that, and the ground must have been west of the station because
Wavertree Playground was created to the east in 1895 and it would surely
have incorporated the stands, pitch and cinder track if they'd been on that
side of Wellington Road.

I conclude (provisionally!) that the ground was on the site of the present
Strathcona Road, Plumer Street, Methuen Street, Macdonald Street, Broadwood
Street and Wauchope Street - i.e. the area to the NE of the Grosvenor Hotel.
None of these streets is listed in Gore's 1900 Liverpool Directory (which I
downloaded from
http://specialcollections.le.ac.uk/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16445coll4/id/278528/rec/7 )
and nearly all of them are named after Scotsmen (mostly military men
connected with the Boer War):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Smith,_1st_Baron_Strathcona_and_Mount_Royal
(not a military man, but Scottish)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Plumer,_1st_Viscount_Plumer (not
Scottish)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Methuen,_3rd_Baron_Methuen (not Scottish)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hector_MacDonald (Scottish)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_George_Broadwood (of Scottish descent)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Gilbert_Wauchope (Scottish)

I did wonder if the ground could have occupied the triangular area
immediately adjacent to the railway embankment. I assume Paul C was thinking
of this area when he mentioned "an arena-shaped feature on this 1905-6 map".
On referring to my own copy of the map, however - which was the Ordnance
Survey 1:2500 scale sheet CVI.15, revised 1905 and published 1908 - you'll
see that the shaded feature is a Confectionery Works (see
https://app.box.com/s/kq2z8euy6583z7qtgurqof2q4ypxfbly ). This was Jonathan
Edmondson & Co's factory, the address of which was officially Colville
Street (it was accessed under a railway arch). Before I noticed all the
Scottish street name connections, I did investigate whether this triangular
area was big enough to accommodate the ground and concluded that it was -
but only just! Compare the extracts from 'Philip’s New Plan of Greater
Liverpool' at https://app.box.com/s/c0zo2hfzd22d3iz9237mn7mispqlgfkm
(Grosvenor Rd area) and
https://app.box.com/s/b2ooegskgqjjsbus4dn9y9ssovpmslp6 (Liverpool FC Anfield
area, same scale). This map - of which I was given a photocopy many years
ago - was published circa 1905.

You can find a copy of the Ordnance Survey 1:2500 scale map of the area
(published 1893, and I assume revised c.1890) at
https://app.box.com/s/vzmfjzkub972st18j79vmskjzsia7kv4 . (I
copied-and-pasted this map from screenshots of
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/os-1-to-2500/liverpool/106/15 ). The
rectangular area - its NE corner sliced off by the railway embankment - does
look to be a prime candidate. There are still a couple of mysteries, though:

1. How was it accessed from Wavertree Station in one minute? and

2. Why was it called Woodcroft Park? (As far as I can tell the land was
never in the same ownership as the Woodcroft estate, which was situated to
the south of Lawrence Road).

The original enquiry, as reported in our Newsletter and website - at
http://www.liverpool.ndo.co.uk/wavsoc/news14/page6.html - last January, came
from a local City Councillor. I'll pass on the information you and I have
assembled. I hope he'll be pleased. If you manage to find out any more,
please let me know. Meanwhile, please thank your colleagues on the Forum
very much for all their efforts.


aiwa
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Feb 7, 2015, 11:52 AM

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Post #17 of 28 (23916 views)
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Re: [paulh66] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

This query has now made it to the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/...-merseyside-31148503


PaulC
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Feb 7, 2015, 11:59 AM

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In Reply To
This query has now made it to the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/...-merseyside-31148503


Excellent.

I think "As the team's Roman suffix suggests, they may have had a Scottish link." is understating it a bit, though!


paulh66
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Feb 7, 2015, 7:47 PM

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Re: [aiwa] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

After my last post in this thread I received an email from Kjell Hanssen (see post #6 above) alerting me to a new posting about this on his facebook page. Nothing conclusive but two interesting speculative suggestions based on the land elevation in the area and possible north/south orientation of the ground - see: https://www.facebook.com/...otif_t=share_comment


I forwarded this to Mike Chitty at the Wavertree Society and he mentioned that the local councillor, who originally raised this topic with him, had now sent out a public appeal. Never mentioned it was on the Beeb though! Mike also passed on his and the councillor's gratitude to all who have contributed on this thread:

I passed on all of your information to Councillor Tim Beaumont, who was the
person who sent me the initial query a year or so ago. His response was:
"Fantastic. Please pass on my huge thanks to all who've investigated".

Cllr Beaumont also immediately got the City Council to issue a Press Release
which you can find at:

Liverpool Express (City Council news website)
http://www.liverpoolexpress.co.uk/can-solve-football-mystery/

Mersey & Southport Reporter (online newspaper) 30 Jan 2015
http://www.southportreporter.com/693/693-8.shtml

Liverpool Echo 30 Jan 2015
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/search-lost-liverpool-football-stadium-8549537



Hopefully something definitive will emerge....




(This post was edited by paulh66 on Feb 7, 2015, 8:04 PM)


Tractor Boy
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Feb 7, 2015, 8:54 PM

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Post #20 of 28 (23726 views)
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Re: [paulh66] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Thought I'd take a slightly tangential look at this by trying to track down the Liverpool Caledonians captain who according to one of the Liverpool Echo reports broke a leg against South Shore.

It appears he was Daniel Kirkwood. In the 1891 census he was 24 and boarding at 26 Coniston Street, Everton. A labourer, born in Scotland, he was sharing with 5 other Scottish labourers - Duncan McLean, Daniel Doyle, Alexander Brody, Patrick Gordon and James McMillan.

By 1901 he was a newsagent living at 42 Townsend Lane, West Derby, Lancashire, married with 5 children, the first of whom was born in or around 1894 so the broken leg hadn't affected him too much!
The 1901 census suggests there was plenty of inhabited development in Woodcroft Road at that time - up as far as number 100 in fact. None of which really helps identify where this ground was!


(This post was edited by Tractor Boy on Feb 7, 2015, 9:38 PM)


PaulC
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Feb 8, 2015, 11:31 AM

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In Reply To
Thought I'd take a slightly tangential look at this by trying to track down the Liverpool Caledonians captain who according to one of the Liverpool Echo reports broke a leg against South Shore.

It appears he was Daniel Kirkwood. In the 1891 census he was 24 and boarding at 26 Coniston Street, Everton. A labourer, born in Scotland, he was sharing with 5 other Scottish labourers - Duncan McLean, Daniel Doyle, Alexander Brody, Patrick Gordon and James McMillan.

By 1901 he was a newsagent living at 42 Townsend Lane, West Derby, Lancashire, married with 5 children, the first of whom was born in or around 1894 so the broken leg hadn't affected him too much!
The 1901 census suggests there was plenty of inhabited development in Woodcroft Road at that time - up as far as number 100 in fact. None of which really helps identify where this ground was!


I certainly get the impression that the development of Woodcroft Road and adjoining streets was a creeping development. I suppose we think about modern housing development and the speed at which new estates are thrown up, but in 1900 they didnt have the technology to throw up houses so quickly.

I'm not sure how I concluded the development started at the south end (so I might be totally wrong) but it might be possible to estimate where the ground was in the development (if it was there) by when it ceased to be used.


paulh66
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Feb 9, 2015, 8:14 PM

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Re: [PaulC] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

More news from Mike at the Wavertree Society…

First, the public appeals seem to have fired the public imagination - the BBC story was among the most read BBC articles on Saturday morning and Mike has received over 20 emails already in response.

Although we don’t yet have a definitive answer, things have moved forward quite a bit and he feels we’re now pretty close to a solution to the mystery. His latest thinking is summarised in a short document entitled 'Is this the site of Woodcroft Park - Liverpool's 'lost' football ground?', available here: https://app.box.com/s/2t00nncptcc5vears167m155rt2y7ucg

In short, the latest theory is that the football ground was on the site of the present-day Bartlett, Banner, Bligh, Whitman and Roby Streets. This area was originally part of the grounds of Woodcroft – a newly-established fact based on a look at an old Tithe map (*see below) - so the name 'Woodcroft Park' would have been historically appropriate. It was (just about) within a minute's walk of Wavertree Station. And it was both level and large enough to accommodate the 'stadium'.

One of the next steps he and the councillor will pursue to get definitive proof will be to find some old house deeds which may give the names of previous landowners – so I’m about to remind him of PaulC’s post #7 in this thread.

We’ll get there….



(*) The Wavertree Tithe Map (1846) shows that the grounds of Woodcroft (the 'country house', a.k.a. Woodcroft Cottage) weren't confined to the south side of Lawrence Road, as was previously thought.

You can view/download the relevant extract from the Tithe Map at https://app.box.com/s/dy148p3pufal6qa1gq9bsoysj0yb6lfa and get a clearer view of the Woodcroft boundary by looking at the OS six-inch map – nominally published in 1851 but with the railway superimposed in the 1860s – at https://app.box.com/s/euldvuzsnqh9b3no8o6k39ymeygxvhe7

The Tithe Map Schedule - see https://app.box.com/s/nbo525he6os5x8fimh6jvqql016jphls - confirms that (in 1846) the fields numbered 1022, 1023 and 1024 were in the same ownership as Woodcroft the house (plot number 1018).


(This post was edited by paulh66 on Feb 9, 2015, 8:20 PM)


PaulC
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Feb 10, 2015, 2:27 PM

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Location: Ayrshire, Midlothian
Team(s): AFC Darwen, Troon, Ayr Utd, Burnley

Post #23 of 28 (19506 views)
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Re: [paulh66] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Excellent stuff.

Just to throw a spanner in the works, the attached inch to the mile map dated 1892-1908 (not very helpful) caught my eye. The area below the "W" of Wavertree is a nice size (260m x 150 m). It's now below Egerton Road, Portman Road and Woodcroft Road.


(This post was edited by PaulC on Feb 10, 2015, 2:33 PM)
Attachments: woodc.jpg (108 KB)


Wheelbarrow
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Feb 10, 2015, 8:14 PM

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Post #24 of 28 (19422 views)
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Re: [paulh66] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


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In short, the latest theory is that the football ground was on the site of the present-day Bartlett, Banner, Bligh, Whitman and Roby Streets.


That would be appropriate since they've recently built a new street called Mystery Close just to the north east of this block!Laugh


MaccDavid
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Feb 22, 2015, 4:54 PM

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Post #25 of 28 (16966 views)
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Re: [Tractor Boy] Liverpool Caledonians FC [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Tried to reply last week, but only just been validated. In regard to the other 5 Scottish labourers, I'm fairly sure they all played for Everton around this time. Dan Doyle & Alex Brady (Brody?) were regulars in their Championship winning side of 1890-91. Duncan McLean & Patrick Gordon also played that season a few times. James McMillan played a few games the following season.

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