SWINTON LIONS VIRTUAL HISTORY TRAIL – PART 4

26 May 2020

As part of a continuing series, discover the landmarks that have mapped the history of our club.

In a continuing series, Swinton Lions club director Steve Wild guides us on a virtual tour of the local area to places that have played an integral part in the history of the club.

Part 4 – Moving to Chorley Road

By 1886, the Lions had outgrown their modest ground off the Stoneacre footpath, where the previous year a record 6,000 crowd had crammed in to see a Swinton-Salford derby descend into a riot. However, the search for a site on which to develop a more substantial stadium didn’t take long, as the club was able to rent a larger field immediately next door, on land situated between the old Swinton Cricket Ground and New Cross Street.

The new ground would become known as “Chorley Road”, and it was opened with a fine victory over Manchester on 2nd October 1886. A splendid new main stand was added in 1890, but this was lost to a great fire in November 1901 following a training night mishap. Another structure was soon built in its place, a stand which in 1929 was transported plank by plank to Station Road to be renamed the Townsend Road Stand.

Chorley Road would witness the Lions’ heady days of the 1920s, including a then record club attendance of 22,000 against Oldham in 1925. It was also the scene for Swinton’s all conquering season of 1927/28, when the Lions carried off “All Five Cups”. Ironically the club had by then become a victim of its own success, and following a protracted rent dispute with the landlord Thomas White, the Lions decided to move lock stock and barrel and develop a new ground off Station Road.

Note: Please follow current government guidelines around social distancing and leaving your home.

 

A map of the Chorley Road ground and surrounding area, dated 1927. The main stand is located to the rear of New Cross Street, and a smaller stand sits on the far side of the pitch adjacent to the cricket field. Both of these stands would be transported to the new Station Road stadium in 1929.

 

Action from the Championship semi-final at Chorley Road in April 1927 when Swinton defeated Wigan. The houses in the background are still there today, at the upper end of Douglas Street.

 

A modern aerial view courtesy of Google Earth. The Chorley Road ground was situated within the confines of Victoria Street, Cheetham Road and New Cross Street, with Swinton British Legion, then as now, at the south-east corner.

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