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Thursday, 21 July 2005



Bredbury Cricket Club

Bredbury St.Marks Cricket Club was formed in 1913 by the players and officials of the football club of the same name. The Cricket Club rented fields off Werneth Road, Woodley, our present ground, which had been previously occupied by Greave Cricket Club. We were accepted into the Stockport and District Cricket League and won the championship in our first year. Play continued into 1914 then had to be suspended on the outbreak of war late in the season.

By 1919 a resumption was possible and the club joined the High Peak League. In 1922 we won both the First and Second Division Championships and the Second XI were successful the following year and in 1928. It is interesting to record that the subscriptions at this time were 10s (50p) for players, 5s. (25p) for juniors and the tea ladies were treated leniently at 3s.6d. (17.5p).

By the 1930's many improvements had been carried out and the square had become a featherbed which was the envy of visiting teams the result of hard work with limited equipment. An average of 150 per innings in 1936 bears testimony to this fact. Although resources were limited negotiations began in 1938 to buy the ground and the Club was able, through the industry of it's members and by the generosity of Mrs. Jane Harrison, to purchase the ground, 'in perpetuity for cricket', by 1940.

During the late 1930's the Club felt that it had the best crop of young talent so far in it's history but the long-threatened Second World War erupted and was to destroy much more than the aspirations of a cricket club ...............

In the immediate post-war years Bredbury struggled to achieve respectability in its league positions. However the 1950's brought a marked improvement in the club's fortunes. Off the field, a new pavilion was built at a cost of 2500 and in common with ten other clubs formed the Derbyshire and Cheshire League in 1952. Both teams had their success, culminating in the league championship in 1959. Talented juniors had by now emerged through the ranks and were strengthening the senior teams which were to form the backbone of the club for some years. The Club's Golden Jubilee in 1963 came at a time of great success and enthusiasm.

The Club continued to develop both on and off the field and the 1960's and early 70's were undoubtedly some of the most successful in the Club's history. As well as winning the First Division Championship in 1966 and 1969 we were runners-up in the years between. The 2nd.XI were also on the crest of a wave during this era. The culmination of this period was the outstanding achievement of winning the 'Double' in 1971 when both teams won their respective divisions.

Alas success does not continue forever and by 1973 no less than eight first team players had moved on, some for business reasons, others to develop their cricketing ability elsewhere. Once more, team rebuilding had to take place. We were fortunate to possess a very enthusiastic set of juniors who in 1973 and 1976 won their respective Divisions but it would take time for them to help improve the fortunes of the senior teams.

Times were changing. People were no longer coming in large numbers to watch their local sports team as had been the custom at Bredbury. There were many reasons, television, individual sports, car ownership and other interests were encroaching and the club had to accept that it could not exist on the income from cricket alone. Accordingly, the pavilion was extended to provide a larger social area which incorporated a bar and the general facilities were upgraded. New, detached changing rooms were built which incorporated showers and, as if to show that nothing was to remain as before we joined another league in 1978.

The Cheshire Cricket League comprising some 24 clubs at the time covered a far larger area than had been the case before. Several of these clubs were much larger if not better than Bredbury. We were initially successful in achieving First Division status, however the Club's fortunes fluctuated during the 1980's. By 1988 the Club were back into the First Division with a good squad of senior players and the back-up of emerging quality from the junior development programme.

Meanwhile, club and ground improvements continued to be carried out. New drainage, perimeter fencing and improvements to the score box, dressing rooms and pavilion were carried out in 1987 with the aid of labour provided by the Community Services Programme of Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.

If the winning of the 1st Division Championship is the pinnacle of success, then the 1990's was the most successful era to date. The Championship was won in 1993, 1997 and 1998, and but for the size of the ground the efforts of the club to join a higher echelon of cricket in an enlarged Cheshire County Cricket League would surely have been successful.

Ground improvements continued during this decade with new attached changing rooms being built in 1994 at a cost of 32,000 thus enhancing the already good facilities in the clubhouse. Bredbury have, however, never been anything other than ambitious, and the club have high hopes of shortly moving to a new 7.5 acre site with new pavilion and amenities.

We have great optimism and confidence that the future will be as promising and successful as the past has been. None of the foregoing would have been possible without the dedication and commitment of successive Management Committees whose Officers and members, including many ladies, have helped to forge a sporting and community spirit second to none ..........long may it continue.

Robinsons Brewery
William Robinson - Chairman 1920 - 1933he story begins on the 28th September 1838, when William bought the Unicorn Inn, Lower Hillgate, Stockport, from Samuel Hole and began running it as a retail business. His younger son Frederic joined him in 1865 and started to brew his own beer, but he soon branched out into the wholesale business. On the 3rd May 1876, shortly after his father's death, he purchased The Railway at Marple Bridge and so began the growth of the estate. William, Frederic's eldest son, joined him aged 14 in 1878, by which time a horse and dray was also owned so deliveries could be made by themselves.

Frederic and Emma with their son William and daughter Mary - William, pictured here with his mother, became Chairman of Frederic Robinson Limited in 1920

Frederic and Emma with their son William and daughter Mary - William, pictured here with his mother, became Chairman of Frederic Robinson Limited in 1920

Sir John Robinson - Chairman 1933 - 1978hen Frederic died in 1890, he was the owner of 12 licensed houses. The business then passed to his widow, Emma. On the 7th October 1920, the business became a Limited Company, being run at that time by William and his sons, Frederic, John and Cecil. Today the company is run by the fifth and sixth generation of Robinsons. Still very much a family concern they maintain full control of every aspect of the business. Over the years acquisitions have been made, including Scholfields of Ashton-under-Lyne, Kays Atlas Brewery of Ardwick and Bell & Co. of Stockport. The most recent being the 26th July 1982, when Hartleys (Ulverston) Limited became part of Robinsons. Hartleys origins can be traced back to 1755, however it was not until 1896 that the Hartley family commenced their ownership. The company now owns over 400 pubs.


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 bar.

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 Steel Works".

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 age.

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!



This site was last updated 07/21/05