Where Did They Play?
Below the level of those 60 teams in the 'Lost Teams' book, here is a list of the many and varied foortball teams that sprang up in the Aston, Birmingham, Walsall and Wednesbury and West Brom areas in the 1870s and 1880s, and the grounds on which they played. The list will be updated as I discover them.
I have all these locations (and more) flagged up on my Google Earth so I can go to them straight away if anyone needs clearer information, if you are, like me a Groundhunter !
Luckily, all the park locations are still there today.
'Birchfields' usually means the Birch Fields on Trinity Road,formerly Aston Unity's grounds, now King Edward VI grounds
'Brookfields' was an early sub-district of the Winson Green/Soho area. I have identified a large 10 acre playing field at the side of the City Hospital, just inside the canal bend. This is now a large industrial estate, and several teams called it home ground. Any team playing at Western Road played here.
There may also have been another small ground known as Brook-fields with the Hockley brook at the bootom by the railway lines at a location that is now the James Watt J&I school
Bloomfield cricket grounds off Nobel Way off Wellhead Lane,Perry Barr, are early 19th century and I am looking into this one, as they are now once more visible since the massive factory built on the site in the 1930s has been demolished.
Abbey FC- Western Road off Dudley Road. This is the Brookfield Ground which was at the rear of the hospital (then asylum) inside the canal bend. It was a large field of at least 10 acres.
Alma FC- Aston Park
Anchor FC- Church Hill Road,Birchfields (likeliest spot was a field behind the Vicarage towards the Harborne end)
Asbury FC- Cannon Hill park
Aston Royal - Aston Park
Aston Florence- Aston Lane ) there was a cricket ground where now stand the Broadway Community School
Aston Unity- Aston Lane ) played there in the 1870s, and so were early important representative Bham FA games.
Aston Victoria- Westminster Road, Birchfield (1878/9) also Aston Cross ground (1880s) which was behind Aston Tavern at Aston Cross. I have identified a large 5 acre field at the top end of Westminster Road, by the infants school, as the likeliest field, although it had a brook running through the middle, it still allowed over 2 acres available. Calthorpe Road now occupies the spot, and the trees defining the field are still visible on Google Earth. It was effectively 2 fields south of Villa's Wellington Road stadium. The field would have been remarkably flat and level compared to all others.
Bathurst FC- 'Selly Oak' -this is too vague a description to work on for the moment!
Boulton FC- 'Brookfields' Handsworth
Bham St.Lukes- Calthorpe Park also Brighton Road,Balsall Heath 1880 (their field lay between Runcorn/Brighton Roads, behind the Brighton P.H.)
Bham St.James- Calthorpe PArk
Black Lake Victoria - Hill Top, West Bromwich (a vague description but likeliest is a field within Hill Top park, off Wallface, still there, tree-lined)
Boulton FC- Hockley Heath also 'Brookfields'- Boulton Road: likeliest field was at corner of Boulton/Alexandra Rd, now playing field of Mathew Boulton Infants
Byron FC- Western Road ground by canal rear Dudley Rd hospital/ also Calthorpe Park
Burton Incognito FC- Inde Coope cricket ground, Burton- next to the river
Clyde FC- HQ: Upper Grounds Hotel, Aston Park- suggests they were yet another Aston Park team
Darlaston All Saints FC- James Bridge, Bentley/Darlaston (this location has eluded many a researcher, but it will prove to be close to the Globe P.H) The 4 candidates are- 1) field to the side of the Globe PH reaching to where the motorway bridge is now, built over with houses in the 1890s 2) large field facing Globe PH where until recently stood the Gasometers, now a gypsy pony field 3) large rough field right at the back of the Globe PH, now bearing the scars of surface mining.4) proposed by Darlaston History Society-Cemetary Road,James Bridge (site of new cemetary and car park)
Douglas FC- Aston Park
Dreadnought FC- Potters Field,Aston (also used for a year by Bham Excelsior) Only refence point is a partly disappeared street-Potters Hill-leading from by the Bartons Arms pub up to Victoria Road. Even by 1890 whole street was built up with no fields shown on maps. Wherever the field was, it would have been on a steep incline!
Birmingham Trafalgar- Summerfield Park, Rotton Park
Forward FC-Aston Park
Globe FC (West Bromwich)- Dartmouth Park
Hamstead FC-Hamstead Road (there was a cricket/football ground next to the lake in the park, now built over by Victoriana Way)
Handsworth Rovers- Hall Road,Handsworth (known locally as 'Jawbone Lane' on account of its shape being that of a human jaw) and it was a field owned by Crick Farm
Harborne Unity- Metchley Lane, Harborne
Harold FC- HQ @ Alma Street Board School- still cant decide if they were a Perry Barr team or an Aston team. There was also a Walsall Harold FC.
Havelock Unity- Calthorpe Park
Heathfield FC- Handsworth ( Heathfield Rd had many fields directly off it in the 1880s, but likeliest field was a 3 acre one left of the chapel, now James Watt Drive)
Highland Rovers- Aston Park
Hill Top Athletic- Swan Village, West Bromwich ( a vague description, but likeliest is a cricket ground between Lily/Law/Ruskin streets, now built over)
Lozells St.Pauls- Grove Ground, Oxhill Road also Church Hill Road,Birchfields,Aston (Grove ground was directly behind the Grove Tavern, Oxhill road)
Melrose FC- Calthorpe Park
Nechells Park Unity- Aston park
Perry Athletic- Aldridge Road playing fields,Perry Barr (now Perry Barr park)
Rotton Park Athletic- Birmingham Heath ground, Winson Green Road (also known as the Bellefield grounds,also GKN ground, near the pub of the same name)
Royal Oak FC- Church Hill Road also Hall Road,Lozells
Saltley Foresters- Shaw Hill ? vague description, but the only place with the same name is Shaw Hill Road, Alum Rock off Sladefield Road. However, this was just farmland until the 1940s, and Shaw Hill Rd is only 50 years old. But at least it is in the right area.
Small Heath Rovers- Glovers Road,Small Heath (now built over with houses). contact me if you want the exact site.
Small Heath Swifts- Small Heath park
Smethwick Perseverence- Cape Hill,Smethwick. Again, a bit vague as there were several grounds in the Cape Hill area, including Victoria Park,Smethwick.
Sparkbrook Victoria- Ladypool Lane Small Heath park
Speedwell FC- Brookfields,Aston (I traced 'Brookfields' to a 4 acre field by Hockley Brook, site now covered by James Watt Infants school)
St.Johns Athletic- Summerfield Park, Bham (rear Edgbaston Resevoir)
St.Georges FC- Aston Park/ Fentham Road/Cape Hill brewery ground
St.Pauls United- Aston Park
St.Saviours FC- Hall Road,Handsworth (triangular field between Hall/Welford Rds, once Crick Farm, used by at least 3 teams)
St.Thomas FC- Pebble Mill Road off Pershore Road, Selly Park
St.Georges Claremont-Aston Park also Fentham Road
Star of Hope FC- Adderley Park
Tangyres FC- Queens Head Lane,Handsworth
Tipton Providence-Horsley Fields- Providence Road is just off the Horsley Fields road and it was all fields there in the 1880s-they may have used the Gt.Bridge ground
United Rovers- Adderley Park, Saltley
Walsall Florence FC- various, inc. Follyhouse Lane, Birmingham Road (Malt Shovel?), Hall green Wednesbury (by the old Manor House)
Walsall St.Paul's FC- Chuckery grounds
Walsall White Star FC- Chuckery Grounds (now Walsingham Street)
West Bromwich Christ Church FC- ground next to Four Acres (obliterated by the Expressway but it faced the main park entrance)
West Bromwich Rovers- Dartmouth Park
West Bromwich Brittannia- Dartmouth Park
West Bromwich St.Phillips- Dartmouth Park
Welcome FC-Brookfields ground,Aston
Wretham FC- Crick Fields, Jawbone Lane, Handsworth (I actually found 'Jawbone Lane'-behind King Edwards School-field was triangular, only 90x55 yds)
Worcester Rovers- also 'Henwick' 1879
Wycliffe FC- Calthorpe Park