William Sinclair Scott Hannay, son of T S Hannay of Greenbank, in 1901 decided that Upton needed a Cricket Club. W.S.S.Hannay identified a suitable piece of land known as Hall Hill Meadow, the 1836 Tithe maps show this piece of land, which measures 5 acres, 1 roods, 13 perches, was owned by William Webster. In 1901 it was owned by Lord Leverhulme, and the 18 year old William, with the help of his father, negotiated a lease on this land. W.S.S.Hannay laid out a cricket pitch, lawn tennis courts and a bowling green on the land.

The first match the 1st XI of the new club was played on 18th May 1901 against EH Biglands. Upton were victorious in this match, scoring 61 all out while EH Biglands scored 31 all out. The first recorded match of the 2nd XI was on 15th June 1901 when Upton who scored 26 all out, were beaten by Hoylake who scored 32 all out.

Upton First XI

A formal constitution for the club was drawn up, the official name for the club being ‘The Upton and District Cricket & Lawn Tennis Club”. Up to this time the club had been mainly run and financed by the Hannays. A Committee was appointed, its first task at its first meeting on 24th April 1913 was to elect a Club President. Mr T S Hannay was elected as the first Club President.

During the first world war, no cricket was played although tennis was played and the club facilities remained open. Cricket was resumed in the summer of 1919.

In 1923 the lease was renewed at a cost of £29 per annum, but gave Lord Leverhulme the power to reclaim part of the land for building with two months notice, and to reclaim all of the land in February of any year provided a months notice was given.

Upton Cricket Club in 2004

When the lease was next renewed in 1939, the club took the opportunity of adding part of Saughan Field Meadow to the land, making a total area of 7 acres, 3 roods, 14 perches, for a rent of £31-10-0 per annum. The lease allowed the playing of cricket, hockey and tennis, but still had the same conditions of termination. The extra land was used to provide a second cricket pitch.

During the second world war cricket continued to be played, and the club joined the ‘Merseyside Cricket Competition’. Upton Ladies Hockey Club used the ground in the winter season.

Electricity was installed in the pavilion at a cost of £28-5-9 in July 1945, club members dug the trench to save cost. In August two hard tennis courts were constructed at a cost of about £300. The following year the club was threatened with the land being bought under the compulsory purchase powers of Birkenhead Corporation who wanted the land for housing.

The Old Pavilion being Demolished in 1972

The tearoom was built in 1947 and a hut was erected on the back ground as a changing room, in the same year Sunday cricket was played for the first time and the bar opened on Sunday evenings for the first time. Ladies were only allowed in the bar on match days after 8.30 pm.

The New Pavilion Nearing Completion in 1973

A tennis pavilion was built at a cost of £120 in 1948, calor gas lighting and heating was installed in 1962. The club also began thinking about a new cricket pavilion.

The bowls section folded in 1953 and two new tennis courts were built on the bowling greens, together with additional car parking.

In May 1968 the tennis section folded, the reason given by some members was the inflexible attitude of some of the senior managers and the section management team, and the poor facilities compared to the Victory Hall Tennis Club.

In 1972, planning permission for the new pavilion was obtained, and an application for grant aid was made to the North West Sports Council. Eventually, after various changes were made, a grant of £4,200 was offered towards the total cost of £11,170. In addition, Greenall Whitley offered a loan of £2,500 towards bar costs. Demolition of the old pavilion was carried out by the members over the weekend of 21st/22nd October. Work on the new pavilion started in early November. Lord Leverhulme officially opened the new pavilion on 12th June 1973.

Upton Cricket Club in the early 1900s

In 1974 the club changed its name to ‘Upton Cricket Club’, and plans were made to replace the kitchen and tearoom at a cost of between £5,000 and £10,000, but due to the worsening economic situation, the brewery who were to provide the loan for the project, had to withdraw. In the event, the existing kitchen and tearoom were retained. The possibility of re-opening the tennis section was also investigated, but with an estimated cost of £12,000 it was decided that it was impractical.

The club tried to buy the ground from Leverhulme Estates in 1976, but they were not prepared to sell the land.

In 1977, with assistance of a loan from the brewery, a new kitchen was built and the tea room was renovated, also, the score box was moved from its old site and built into the front of the tea room.

On 5th May 1985 (May Bank Holiday) the hut on the back pitch was burnt down, a replacement hut was supplied and installed in a more convenient position, nearer the main pavilion. The following year central heating was installed in the pavilion and the bar area was refurbished.

Early in 1989 the old wooden groundsmans hut was burnt down, this was replaced by a concrete building. Leverhulme Estates negotiated an increase in ground rent which was still only £120 per annum rising in stages, £750 in 1990, £1,000 in 1991, £1,500 in 1992 and £2,000 per annum from 1993 onwards.

Can You Help?

Do you have any pictures of Upton, or of events in and around Upton either old or not so old?

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If you do, please contact me by e-mail at frank@upton.cx