Expansion and Development: 1919-1951
In 1919 when cricket resumed after the war, crowds began to grow steadily and in 1920 the Roses Match attracted 67,000 over the three days, a new record for the ground. In 1921 the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) paid a visit to the ground during the Australian match. In 1924 35,000 came to the ground on Bank Holiday Monday for the Roses Match.
In 1924 Lancashire celebrated their Diamond Jubilee and the Souvenir describes the ground:- “Even to-day you can momentarily escape from the sense that Old Trafford has been made part of greater Manchester simply by going up to the top of the pavilion. From the seats there you will behold the stretch of fields and open land reaching towards Stretford and Chorlton. Seymour Road may be picked out in the distance; in hot dusty weather it lies like a white ribbon, and, as the watcher up in the skies observes a tramcar moving slowly along it, there invades the mind that ripple of romance which always comes whenever we look down from the height and see familiar objects made into tiny toys."
Membership continued to grow and in 1925 a new Committee-room was developed, as well as £2,500 being spent on a press box and further extensions-including a members’ dining room. Steps were also taken to acquire the adjoining land owned by the Gun Club. In 1927 new dressing rooms and a ladies pavilion were built costing £6,000-an application for using the ground for greyhound racing was turned down.
Interest in the 1926 Test Match against the Australians was immense and during this period Lancashire enjoyed their most successful era, winning four Championships in five years. In 1934, as well as winning the Championship, Old Trafford was the place where Jack Hobbs scored his 197th and last century at the age of 51. As he walked back up the pavilion steps members sang' Auld Lang Syne' to him.
Tropical heat hit the 1934 Test against Australia with hundreds of spectators collapsing from exhaustion. In 1939 when war broke out Old Trafford was used by a Unit of Royal Engineers as well as being a transit camp for troops from Dunkirk and a storage depot for the Ministry of Supply.
In December 1940 bombs fell on the pavilion, on other buildings and the playing area, killing the sentry on guard. The Member’s dining room, the ladies pavilion and B stand were totally destroyed. Stands F and H and the Secretary's Office were severely damaged and a large crater was made on the outfield. The part of the pavilion which contained the groundsman's quarters was also destroyed.
Matches were played on the ground in 1944-45 between the armed services while German Prisoners-of-war were paid three-farthings an hour to help tidy the ground, ready for 1945. The 'Victory Test' was played that year between England and Australia with 76,463 spectators on the three days
A £100,000 appeal was launched by the Committee to help rebuild the ground after the War. "The Committee, with your help, intend to raise on the ashes of the old pavilion, an edifice of which, not only we in Lancashire, but the country at large may well feel proud." Sadly the target was not reached and only £42,000 was raised, which meant that the pavilion could not be totally rebuilt.
In 1951 winter coaching began at the ground, with nets erected in the members dining-rooms. The following year this was extended, to be called the Indoor Cricket School, with Winston Place and Geoff Edrich acting as coaches. In 1955 C Stand was extended and the war damage to the entrance in Warwick Road rebuilt on new lines, and permanent terracing in front of the main scoreboard at the Stretford end
Previous Page I Next Page