Return of sport

We’ve all been missing sport and are excited about the prospect of it restarting – even if we can’t see it live and most matches will be played behind closed doors. In this week’s Remember When? we’re stepping back in time to look at football and cricket in Oldham using two objects from our collections.

The Remnants Cricket Team, 1903

This amazing photograph shows ‘The Remnants’ cricket team tour of Ireland in Aug 1903. Did you know that the history of Moorside Cricket and Bowling Club is strongly linked with both the Mellodew family and their business, Thomas Mellodew and Company Limited, velvet manufacturers?

Moorside Cricket and Bowling Club

The Club was set up in 1862 by William Smith who was employed by the Mellodews as the village schoolmaster and married to Martha Ann Mellodew, the eldest daughter of James Mellodew an original founder of the firm. The Mellodew family provided land for the club to use and several Mellodews were players.

Thomas, James Arthur and cousin William Mellodew played regularly for the team between 1890-1910 and each of them captained the 1st XI team. In Jul 1898 Thomas scored the first recorded hundred by a Moorside batsman with 102 against Saddleworth. The club had its first taste of glory when in 1907 it won the Central Lancashire League championship beating Rochdale in the final match. Thomas and James Arthur were members of ‘The Remnants’ team who toured Ireland.

Football Crazy, Football Mad!!

Hidden away in the records retrieved from the Oldham Chronicle Office is a fascinating notebook all about Oldham Athletic from 1938-1941. The writer of this notebook has recorded the details of long forgotten players such as George Nicholson, Albert Valentine, Roland Barclay and Thomas Hampson who were signed to Athletic just before the outbreak of World War II.

The notebook includes details of the 1940-1941season and the players on loan to Athletic such as Billy Porter and Bert Whalley from Manchester United and Cliff Chadwick from Middlesbrough who scored 45 goals from 174 appearances in the Football League playing as a winger for Oldham Athletic.

There are also newspaper articles relating to wartime legislation and incidents that happened during the 1940-1941 season including a short article about Kenneth Glynn who at the tender age of 15 years and 10 months was the youngest person who had ever turned out for Athletic

Also included in the notebook is a fascinating account of air-raid damage at Boundary Park which happened during a blitz on Manchester on 22 December 1940 and resulted in £700 of repairs and the Christmas Day morning match between Athletic and Rochdale at Boundary Park being postponed. However, football fans did get to see a match between these two teams later in the afternoon as the clubs had already agreed to play twice on Christmas Day!!

Your Local Sports Club

We’d love to find out about the history of your local sports clubs – cricket, football or bowling? Have you got a story to tell or some photographs that you’d like to donate?

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