Loading...
Next Match: Image
Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup
Wednesday 20th September 2017, KO 20:00 BST.
User avatar
decorativeed
Reserve
Reserve
Posts: 310
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:47 pm
Call Me: Tim

North Road: United's first home

Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:46 pm

I've been doing some reseach of late about Manchester's old football grounds and I thought I'd share some information and photos with you lot about it. Some of it is nicked directly from Wikipedia mind you:
North Road was a football stadium in the district of Newton Heath, Manchester, England. It was the first home of Manchester United F.C. – then known as Newton Heath Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Football Club – from the club's foundation in 1878 to 1893, when they moved to a new ground at Bank Street, Clayton.

The ground was originally just a pitch, around which an estimated 12,000 spectators could congregate, but the addition of stands by the club in 1891 increased the capacity to around 15,000. However, the football club split from the railway company by whom they were run and, without the company's financial support, they were unable to afford the rent on the ground and were evicted.

Early years

Upon the foundation of Newton Heath L&YR F.C. at the request of the employees of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Company's Carriage and Wagon Works, it became apparent that the club would require a pitch upon which to play. The site chosen was a "bumpy, stony patch in summer, [and] a muddy, heavy swamp in the rainy months". Located adjacent to the railway line operated by the L&YR, the ground was often clouded with a thick mist of steam from the passing trains, and there was not even a place for the players to get changed on site. Instead, they had to change at the Three Crowns pub, a few hundred yards away on Oldham Road.

The first recorded matches at the ground took place in 1880, two years after the club's formation, and were mostly friendlies. The first competitive match held at North Road was a Lancashire Cup first round match against Blackburn Olympic's reserve team, played on 27 October 1883; Newton Heath lost 7–2. The details of the match attendance have been lost, though it is assumed that the ground was now enclosed as an entry fee of 3d was levied. Football became a professional sport in England in 1885, and Newton Heath signed their first professional players in the summer of 1886. Their income at the time was not sufficient to support the new wage bill, a problem they overcame through the extension of the 3d admission charge to all matches at North Road, later rising to 6d.

Expansion and eviction

Records show that the ground originally had a capacity of around 12,000, but the club officials decided that they should be able to provide for more spectators if the club was to have any hope of joining the Football League. Therefore, in 1891, Newton Heath used what little financial reserves they had to purchase two grandstands, each able to hold 1,000 spectators. However, this transaction put the club at odds with the railway company, who refused to contribute any finance to the deal. The two organisations began to drift apart from that point, and, in 1892, the club attempted to raise £2,000 in share capital to pay off the expansion of the ground. The split also meant that the railway company now refused to pay the rent on the ground, which actually belonged to the Manchester Cathedral authorities, who then raised the rent. Unable to afford the increased rent, especially as the Manchester Deans and Canons felt it inappropriate for the club to charge admission to the ground, the Heathens were served with an eviction notice in June 1893. Fortunately, the club's management had been seeking a new stadium ever since the first attempted eviction in May 1892, and they moved to a new ground on Bank Street, three miles away in Clayton. They attempted to take the two grandstands with them, but the attempt failed and the stands were sold for just £100.

Present


The stadium no longer exists, and North Road has been renamed Northampton Road. The site now serves as the location of the North Manchester Business Park, and before that it was Moston Brook High School. A red plaque could once be found attached to one of the school's walls at the location of the old stadium, as a marker of the social history of the city of Manchester, but the plaque has since been stolen and not replaced.
I cannot find any photos of United playing at North Road or of the stadium itself, but I'm sure there must be some out there, so I've looked for some old ordinance survey maps of the area to post here:

This is North Road In about 1880:
Image

Here's a closer look:
Image

Here's the same area in 1908 after the stadium was demolished:
Image

And the area the following year:
Image

Some years later Moston Brook High School was built on the site, here's an aerial photo C2000:
Image

The school itself was demolished in about 2003 and a compulsory purchase order was issued for the site and plans for Europe's largest business park to be built on the land were announced:
Image

This is a picture i made with the old OS map superimposed on the area as it appeared after the school was demolished:
Image

There are no recent aerial photos on the site as it appears now, but I patched a few "bird's eye" views of the area together instead:
Image



User avatar
MobileNanny
International Player
International Player
Posts: 1035
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:13 pm
Call Me: Joanne

Re: North Road: United's first home

Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:49 pm

Wow, Tim! That is fantastic. Thank you so much for your hard work. (Y) They showed the site, briefly, on MUTV's Sunday show with Terry Christian, but you've put them to shame with this research. Well done!
1966 was a great year for English football. Eric was born!

User avatar
babysenorita
Reserve
Reserve
Posts: 293
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:41 pm
Call Me: Siti

Re: North Road: United's first home

Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:12 pm

:shock: Tim that is absolutely brilliant! How much effort did you put on it? Thanks, not only i can read about it but can actually look at the location.. (Y)

User avatar
decorativeed
Reserve
Reserve
Posts: 310
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:47 pm
Call Me: Tim

Re: North Road: United's first home

Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:53 pm

babysenorita wrote::shock: Tim that is absolutely brilliant! How much effort did you put on it? Thanks, not only i can read about it but can actually look at the location.. (Y)
It wasn't a great deal of effort TBH, Siti - I didn't take the photos from my own helicopter or anything :P

I had previously thought that North Road stadium was off North Road in Clayton, very near to Bank Street. You'd have thought there would have been a bit more information on it to be had really. It was only when I started looking into it that I realised that I had been for a job interview in one of the warehouses on that photo about 10 years ago.

Anyway, here's a map showing all the locations of the United and City stadia in Manchester and their relation to the center of town (which I believe must be Piccadilly Gardens):

Image

User avatar
Mushy peas
International Player
International Player
Posts: 1570
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 9:48 pm
Call Me: Christy

Re: North Road: United's first home

Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:41 pm

Good work there Tim. (Y)
FCUM- A right bunch of dicks.

Mushy Peas>Little Pea

User avatar
babysenorita
Reserve
Reserve
Posts: 293
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:41 pm
Call Me: Siti

Re: North Road: United's first home

Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:29 pm

decorativeed wrote:
babysenorita wrote::shock: Tim that is absolutely brilliant! How much effort did you put on it? Thanks, not only i can read about it but can actually look at the location.. (Y)
It wasn't a great deal of effort TBH, Siti - I didn't take the photos from my own helicopter or anything :P
You didnt??? What a disappointment... :evil: :P


Still terrific effort that is...its amazing to look at it from this view especially to someone like me who isnt at all familiar with the surrounding.. :P

RedSte
Reserve Team Coach
Reserve Team Coach
Posts: 8980
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:40 am
Call Me: Ste

Re: North Road: United's first home

Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:30 pm

(Y) Gets my vote for Post of the Month (if we had such an award) :P

Very informative Tim!
My old man said be a City fan...

Nothing significant and lasting will ever come of FFP! - RedSte (2012)

User avatar
decorativeed
Reserve
Reserve
Posts: 310
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:47 pm
Call Me: Tim

Re: North Road: United's first home

Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:50 am

Here's another more recent photo of the area:

Image

User avatar
decorativeed
Reserve
Reserve
Posts: 310
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:47 pm
Call Me: Tim

Re: North Road: United's first home

Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:41 am

I trawled the Manchester archives ( http://www.images.manchester.gov.uk/ ) for any old photos of the old grounds recently. There were not very many - presumably most of the exisiting photos are owned by the club - and the ones that I could find were all of the areas after the club had moved out, but here are a few of North Road and the Newton Heath Carriage and Wagon Works where the original players worked:

Image
The road in the top right corner is North Road itself, the actual ground being just off the road to the left. You can just about see some goal posts, so football was still being played here at the time these pictures were taken in the mid 1920s, however judging by the old maps, the pitch that Newton Heath played on may have been much nearer to the roadside. The buildings in the foreground are the Monsall fever hospital.

Image
In this 1920s aerial photo, North Road is running from the middle left-hand side diagonally to the top right, with the old Carriage works just south of it. The main road running paralel to North Road from the bottom left corner is Oldham Road.

Image
Again, the fever hospital is in the foreground, with the football ground at the top centre and the carriage works to the top right corner. In this photo you can see some small structures just on the North Road edge of the ground. Perhaps these are the stands the club were forced to dismantle or abandon (they had no choice but to choose the second option because they could not afford otherwise) shortly after they had been built when they were evicted from the ground in 1893. You can also just about make out the odd parallelogram shape of the ground as seen on the old maps above.

User avatar
lee1984
New Signing
New Signing
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:15 pm

Re: North Road: United's first home

Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:18 pm

Someone's already started an online petition to have the former North Road site commemorated with a plaque as that land represents "an historic and social importance to Manchester". They've also designed a potential plaque too.

I realise that that the site once had a plaque which was stolen but surely we need a new one with a permanent place for it?

https://www.change.org/p/restore-a-newt ... -fc-plaque

User avatar
robertbrian23
Supporter
Supporter
Posts: 4151
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:34 am
Call Me: Rob

Re: North Road: United's first home

Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:37 am

lee1984 wrote:Someone's already started an online petition to have the former North Road site commemorated with a plaque as that land represents "an historic and social importance to Manchester". They've also designed a potential plaque too.

I realise that that the site once had a plaque which was stolen but surely we need a new one with a permanent place for it?

https://www.change.org/p/restore-a-newt ... -fc-plaque
done (Y)

User avatar
lee1984
New Signing
New Signing
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:15 pm

Re: North Road: United's first home

Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:04 pm

Image

User avatar
lee1984
New Signing
New Signing
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:15 pm

Re: North Road: United's first home

Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:53 pm

Disregard that last pic, I've come up with where the ground should be...
http://oi67.tinypic.com/a2w7t3.jpg

User avatar
lee1984
New Signing
New Signing
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:15 pm

Re: North Road: United's first home

Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:35 pm

robertbrian23 wrote:
lee1984 wrote:Someone's already started an online petition to have the former North Road site commemorated with a plaque as that land represents "an historic and social importance to Manchester". They've also designed a potential plaque too.

I realise that that the site once had a plaque which was stolen but surely we need a new one with a permanent place for it?

https://www.change.org/p/restore-a-newt ... -fc-plaque
done (Y)
Apparently, someone's actually paid for a one to be made and displayed. Just goes to show how much United's fans will go to have the history of Newton Heath LYR FC remembered...

http://www.change.org/p/restore-a-newto ... u/17383217 (Y)

User avatar
Dante
Referee
Referee
Posts: 8240
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:16 pm

Re: North Road: United's first home

Sun Aug 07, 2016 3:29 pm

That's awesome.
Image

User avatar
marcus leong
Referee
Referee
Posts: 5935
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 6:31 am

Re: North Road: United's first home

Sun Aug 07, 2016 8:04 pm

Rick: "Weddings are basically funerals with cake."

User avatar
lee1984
New Signing
New Signing
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:15 pm

Re: North Road: United's first home

Sat Sep 03, 2016 5:49 pm

Image

User avatar
Dante
Referee
Referee
Posts: 8240
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:16 pm

Re: North Road: United's first home

Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:16 pm

That's bloody brilliant.
Image

User avatar
marcus leong
Referee
Referee
Posts: 5935
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 6:31 am

Re: North Road: United's first home

Sun Sep 04, 2016 3:42 pm

Thanks for sharing
Rick: "Weddings are basically funerals with cake."


User avatar
SUBXERO
International Player
International Player
Posts: 1082
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:20 pm
Call Me: Max

Re: North Road: United's first home

Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:22 am

I'm speechless, mate... just speechless...
UNITED > ENGLAND

User avatar
lee1984
New Signing
New Signing
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:15 pm

Re: North Road: United's first home

Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:05 pm

I might go back sometime after the new year to see if it's still up. I often think if it's been taken down or stolen.
Google are planning on updating their street view between April and November 2017, so it'll be great to eventually see the plaque on Google street map. Although from Northampton Road, it'll be a blurry red square but good to see nonetheless.

User avatar
redmaria
First Team Player
First Team Player
Posts: 618
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:24 am

Re: North Road: United's first home

Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:45 pm

Here is an original letter from my collection
It was signed by Fred Attock in 1893
Fred is believed to be the first chairman and founder of the football club.He was the superintendent at the railway works and he could see the team play on North Road by looking out of his office window
enjoy

RedSte
Reserve Team Coach
Reserve Team Coach
Posts: 8980
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:40 am
Call Me: Ste

Re: North Road: United's first home

Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:45 pm

great piece Ray!


I wonder if that train wagon is the one that keeps getting us to London late for games these days :P
My old man said be a City fan...

Nothing significant and lasting will ever come of FFP! - RedSte (2012)

User avatar
marcus leong
Referee
Referee
Posts: 5935
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 6:31 am

Re: RE: Re: North Road: United's first home

Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:32 am

redmaria wrote:Here is an original letter from my collection
It was signed by Fred Attock in 1893
Fred is believed to be the first chairman and founder of the football club.He was the superintendent at the railway works and he could see the team play on North Road by looking out of his office window
enjoy
Nice
Rick: "Weddings are basically funerals with cake."

Return to “United Legends & History”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users