Woodley Sports Centre was a brain-child of an ex-RAF officer who was
employed by Exors James Mills Steel Factory back in 1953. The officer
hit on an idea to open a sports club for the factory employees.
Originally, called Bredbury Steelworks Club, the sports centre was
made up of a crown green bowling green, a cricket pitch, a football
pitch, two all-weather tennis courts and of course a bar.
The buildings came from a original RAF aerodrome. On the bowling
green, the stands were actually a signal box from Cheadle Railway
Station and a waiting room from Levenshulme Railway Station. A caravan
was placed at the end of the old railway buildings to act as a licensed
The sports club was the first in this area to obtain floodlights for
its bowling green which were erected by the Gas Works.
The facilities were used far and wide and one of the most famous
users of the centre were Stockport County Football Club who to this day,
still play friendly football matches against the Woodley Football team.
Eventually, the members formed a private members club and Bredbury
Steel Works Club became better known as Woodley Sports Centre although
ask any of the elder residents of Bredbury/Woodley, and it is still "Bredbury
As time went by, many facial changes started to occur at the centre.
The first thing that was needed was a car park and that replaced the
all-weather tennis courts. Unfortunately, in those days, there were not
many budding Tim Henmans around! The cricket teams dispanded and so the
cricket pitch become the sole field for the football games.
In 1992/3, the members elected a Fund Raising Committee to help raise
funds to better the facilities. The main club was still the original
buildings from the RAF Aerodrome which were now getting past their
sell-by dates and in the winter, you could certainly feel the cold.
So car boot sales, BBQ's, fun nights etc were organised and the money
started to come in.
The Aerodrome building was sentimental to all the members and so
cladding was added to the exterior. In years to come, when you tell your
grandchildren about Woodley Sports Centre, you can truthfully tell them
that if they knock the cladding off the outer base, there is something
of British History underneath. The interior of the club was upgraded to
help members enjoy the odd pint of British best.
For the time being, the members were happy with the facilities they
had. But hence, this was short-lived. It was fund-raising time again.
The bowling green's old railway buildings were started to feel their
So in 1998/9, it was time to get the members to dig in their pockets
again. We needed a new purpose-built club for the side of the green. So
back to fun nights, BBQ's and the like and the money is on its way
again. Also thanks to a donation from Manchester Airport, the members
didn't have to dig quite so deep.
We now have a wonderful new club at the side of the green, which has
been built by local builder, Wayne Kent who has very strong connections
with the Club being the chairman on the main committee. So as you can
see, it's all down to committment and a loyalty to the Club itself which
helps to keep it going from strength to strength.
The football side, over the recent years, has become more successful.
It now homes a great stand, turnstiles and the pitch is on top form. The
teams are doing OK too.
So we are in a new millennium and Woodley Sports Club is still going
strong. Not bad for something that's almost 50 years old and started out
as a social past-time for factory employees.
We are sure the ex-RAF officer would be proud of how Woodley Sports
Centre has progressed over the years.
Incidentally, if anyone can remember his name, we would certainly
appreciate it! Old age has crept in with some of our older members -
they can't remember who he was!