Showing posts with label Bonnybridge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bonnybridge. Show all posts

Friday, 1 July 2016

Midland Club - Greenhill

I have blogged once or twice about the Grasshoppers of Bonnybridge, rightly so as they were the first football club in the district. But it is easy enough to find out about them, they have their own wiki page after all.

Next to nothing is remembered of the second club in Stirlingshire - Midland Club of Greenhill. Greenhill is nowadays thought of as part of Bonnybridge, but it is not, and back in the mid 1870s there was definite green space [and foundries] in between the two villages.

Midland Club unlike their Bonnybridge rivals were a very short-lived affair not surviving a calendar year, with next to no match results surviving.

Falkirk Herald 25th December 1875


At the begining of the following 1876/77 season, the Falkirk Herald on 16th September 1876 reported a club meeting taking place.


And that was the last I ever found anything on the club. Nothing.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Lost Football Grounds of Falkirk District - Milnquarter Park

I just came across a fantastic new 'thing' on the NLS maps website, where you can look at the 1898 Ordnance Survey map cross-checked with the current bing maps to give it a historical context. So when I was playing about earlier, looking at the parts of Falkirk that I do not have on paper I came across a couple of grounds, some of which I am not sure about and will need to research a bit further, but some I knew but had never looked at on the map.

Football in Falkirk District started in Bonnybridge, but although they were enthusiastic the Grasshoppers never quite had the ability challenge on the field of play. As a result of this they never really managed to establish themselves so paid the ultimate price when the great cull of village clubs came in the wake of professionalism and league football.

Local knowledge has it that Grasshoppers' first ever match was played on a the field where Bonnybridge Library now stands [sometimes known as Bonnyside]. Exactly where the Grasshoppers played over the next couple of seasons is difficult to pin down. Occasional match reports state "Peathill" whilst others state "Highland Dykes" and whilst it is possible they were the same ground it still only vaguely locates it to the area about modern Larbert Road in Bonnybridge.

Around 1880-1881 Grasshoppers moved to what would be largely their permanent home for the rest of their history: Milnquarter Park. The club had relocated to the, then, largely vacant, fields between Bonnybridge and Greenhill. I say it was largely their permanent home because they spent season 1886/87 in Longcroft.

Since I have never come across any descriptions of the actual ground in any match reports I do not know what it was like, but it is fairly safe to assume it was very basic, probably just a roped off area in a field, the teams getting stripped in a nearby pub or similar hostelry. In the map [below] it is quite a bit off the local roads, this would affected access, and the fact that there was unlikely to be any Grandstand would have made it virtually impossible for the club to charge the any crowd for the privilege.


Milnquarter in 1896

According to the OS map it seems that the ground was partly built over the Antonine Wall, which leads one to presume that at least that part had been dismantled by 1880. Another thing which is missing from this map which is in later maps, is that the land immediately to the East on the other side of the railway lines was the home of Bonnybridge Cricket Club, part of which is now the playing area of the Antonine Primary School.


The exact same area taken from Bing Maps 2015

Although Milnquarter was never the greatest of grounds in the district, it was important enough. Several Scottish Cup matches were played on the ground, so we can tell that the ground was up to scratch in the eyes of the SFA, there are countless recordings of teams being forced to replay matches, or play matches away from home simply due to the quality of the ground.

I must admit to ignorance at this point though, I am not completely sure if the ground was shared in latter days with Bonnybridge Juniors, and even if so, how long football was played on the ground after Grasshoppers became defunct. I will get round to looking up these things in time, but for the time being I'd like to think that the ground was at least being used in the Junior Cup matches until it was finally built over.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Bonnybridge Grasshoppers sometime before 1898

I have recieved an e-mail from one of the decendents of William Roy who played for Grasshoppers in the 1890s, and said descendent believes he is in this picture of the Bonnybridge Grasshoppers.


NB- I have seen a lot of pictures of Falkirk District Clubs in my time, and have never seen this, and the tops are definitely Grasshoppers.

Grasshoppers were almost ever present in the Senior Football Scene from their birth in 1875 until they folded about 1900, but they could really only recruit locally, and the expansion of League Football in the 1890s to 1900s really spelt the death knell of the 19th Century Village Clubs.

If you know more than I of this photo, please get in touch.

+John Meffen @John_Meffen

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Grasshoppers of Bonnybridge


A couple of years before people got round to playing 'the Association Game' in the town of Falkirk, a couple of miles to the West football in the County of Stirlingshire began in the form of the Grasshoppers from the now unlikely location of Bonnybridge.

I say unlikely because Bonnybridge is little but a local identity these days. It has since the war been amalgamated into a sprawl of former villages between Falkirk and Cumbernauld [encompassing, Bankhead, Banknock, Bonnybridge, Denny, Dennyloanhead, Dunipace, Fankerton, Greenhill, Head of Muir, Longcroft & Milnquarter [the Metropolis of Greater Herbertshire as I have decided to call it]]. The borders are still signposted, but few other than the locals know where one place ends and the other begins.

But in 1875 the situation was far from this. Bonnybridge was the only one of these villages which straddled the Forth & Clyde Canal and it was for this reason that Smith & Wellstood's, the Glasgow Stovemakers, decided to build a foundry [the Columbian Works] just to the South of the Canal, soon to be followed by Singer's [the Sewing Machinists]. This had two main impacts on the village, it helped take the focus away from Falkirk in terms of trade, and more importantly, it brought workers from the city.

Tradition has it that in the Autumn a group of workers met in the library of the Columbian Works Halls and decided to form a football team, writing to their boss H.N.Smith of Queen's Park FC [Scotland's referee in the first ever international], to send them a ball and a copy of the association rules, and that was that. Within months they were playing a team from the firm's Glasgow Warehouse and football had begun in Stirlingshire.


'The Falkirk Herald' Edition - Thursday October 21st 1875.

NB - The only reason that I can think of as to why they chose the name 'Grasshoppers' is because sand for the moulds in foundries was moved about in big Hoppers, but that is just a guess on my part.