Lost & Forgotten | Manchester Sporting Venues | Letter B



We continue are time travelling adventure of Manchester lost sporting venues, This time, we discover a football stadium a mile away from the current home of Manchester City. then over to Old Trafford for another venue a mile away from the current Manchester United Ground and Finally to Bolton to finish off this Article of memories.

Bank Street

Bank Street, known for a time as Bank Lane,was a multi-purpose stadium in Clayton, Manchester, England. It was mostly used for football matches and was the second home ground of Manchester United Football Club (then known as Newton Heath Football Club), after North Road, which they left in 1893. The stadium had a capacity of around 50,000, but the club moved to Old Trafford in 1910 because club owner John Henry Davies believed he could not sufficiently expand the ground.



Early years

Also known as Bank Lane, the ground was located on Bank Street in the Manchester suburb of Clayton, opposite the junction with Ravensbury Street and between the railway line and the Albion Chemical works. Known locally as the Bradford and Clayton athletic ground, it was owned by the Bradford and Clayton Athletic Company. After Newton Heath F.C. (who became Manchester United in 1902) were evicted from their old ground at North Road by the Manchester Deans and Canons, who believed it to be inappropriate for the club to charge an entry fee to the ground, secretary A. H. Albut procured the use of the Bank Street ground in June 1893. The site was let to the club for eight months of the year, with pre-season training permitted on occasional nights in the summer. The ground was without stands, but, by the start of the 1893–94 season, two stands had been built; one spanning the full length of the pitch on one side and the other behind the goal at the “Bradford end”. At the opposite end, the “Clayton end”, the ground had been “built up, thousands thus being provided for”

Departure and destruction

Following Manchester United’s first league title in 1908 and the FA Cup a year later, it was decided that Bank Street was too restrictive for Davies’ ambition and the club would have to move to a new stadium five miles away in Old Trafford. Bank Street was sold to the Manchester Corporation for £5,500 and leased back to the club on a monthly basis until the new stadium was complete. Bank Street played host to just 5,000 spectators for its final game on 22 January 1910; a 5–0 home win over Tottenham Hotspur. Manchester United’s move away from Bank Street seemed to have come at the perfect time, as, only a few days after the Tottenham match, one of the stands was blown down in a storm. The roof of the grandstand was blown across the road, landing on the houses opposite, and the stand was left in tatters.The Tottenham match was meant to have been played at Old Trafford, but building problems at the new ground had caused the fixture to revert to Bank Street. Despite the destruction of the Bank Street End stand, the club’s reserve team continued to use the ground for matches until the expiry of the lease on 1 January 1912. The remaining timber at the site was then sold to Keyley Bros. for £275. The site had various industrial uses for the next 80 years until it was cleared for inclusion in the new Manchester Velodrome in the early 1990s. The actual site occupied by the stadium now serves as the Velodrome car park while a red plaque attached to a house opposite marks the site as part of United’s history.



Botanical Gardens Cricket Ground

Botanical Gardens Cricket Ground was a cricket ground in Old Trafford, Stretford, Lancashire. The ground was located adjacent to Manchester Botanical Garden. The ground was on land owned by Sir Humphrey de Trafford, who allowed Manchester Cricket Club to lease the ground.

The first recorded match that is now considered to have been first-class on the ground was in 1848 when Manchester Cricket Club played Sheffield Cricket Club. The following season a Lancashire team played a team from Yorkshire. In 1851, a Lancashire side played their second and final first-class match at the ground in a repeat of the previous first-class fixture there involving. Manchester Cricket Club played two further first-class matches at the ground in 1852 and then 1854, both coming against Sheffield Cricket Club.


The final recorded match held on the ground came in 1856 when Manchester Cricket Club played rugby. Shortly after the ground was developed for the 1857 Art Treasures Exhibition. Later, the location of the ground became a motorcycle speedway venue before closing in 1982. Today the location of the ground is covered by the White City Retail Centre.


Burnden Park

Burnden Park was the home of English football club Bolton Wanderers who played home games there between 1895 and 1997. As well as hosting the 1901 FA Cup Final replay, it was the scene in 1946 of one of the greatest disasters in English football, and the subject of an L. S. Lowry painting. It was demolished in 1999.


Bolton Wanderers was formed in 1874 as Christ Church FC, with the vicar as club president. After disagreements about the use of church premises, the club broke away and became Bolton Wanderers in 1877 meeting at the Gladstone Hotel. At this time, Bolton played at Pike’s Lane but needed a purpose built ground to play home matches. As a result, Bolton Wanderers Football and Athletic Club, one of the 12 founder members of the Football League, became a Limited Company in 1894 and shares were raised to build a ground. Land at Burnden was leased at £130 per annum and £4,000 raised to build the stadium. Burnden Park was completed in August 1895. The opening match was a benefit match against Preston and the first League match was against Everton in front of a 15,000 crowd.

In its heyday, Burnden Park could hold crowds of up to 70,000, but this figure was dramatically reduced during the final 20 years of its life, mainly because of new legislation which saw virtually all English stadia reduce their capacities for safety reasons. A section of the embankment was sold off in 1986 to make way for a new Normid superstore.

It was decided to build a new multimillion-pound 25,000-seater stadium (later raised to around 29,000) – the Reebok Stadium – 6 miles away at the Middlebrook development. The move took place in 1997, bringing an end to 102 years of football at Burnden Park.


For some years, the site suffered. Travellers camped in the car park of the derelict Normid superstore and Burnden Park itself fell into disrepair, with demolition not taking place until two years after the last match had been played.

There is now an Asda superstore on the site, which opened in 2005 after taking over the Big W. The Asda store identifies itself with Burnden Park by having a number of extremely large photographs of the former stadium and players, placed high above the checkouts. Also on the site are a Co-operative travel, a Subway, a Carphone Warehouse and a Johnson’s Cleaners adjacent to Manchester Road.


Stay turned into Autism Life for more lost sporting venues from around Greater Manchester, next time we will be covering the Letter C.


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