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Friday, 27 March 2015

Pioneering days at Holker Street

LAST Friday was the centenary of the first match played by Barrow AFC on the Holker Street ground.

CHANGING FACE: The Holker Street stand is dismantled in July 2000

Not that much seems to have been written about it at the time but we have been able to put together a few snippets from a scarce booklet produced in 1951 for the club’s golden jubilee, a copy of which is being sold in this Sunday’s sale at Furness Auctions.

It noted: “Barrow opened their present headquarters at Holker Street at the commencement of the 1909/10 season.

“It had previously been the home of Hindpool Athletic, and before that, it was a refuse tip.

“For several seasons pieces of glass and tin kept coming to the surface and players used to protect their knees with felt pads.

“Now the playing pitch is one of the best in the Northern Section and the covered stand and two large sections afford excellent accommodation together with the terraces in those portions of the ground still uncovered.

“Further improvements are contemplated.

“It is estimated that Holker Street Ground could house 20,000 spectators – it is hoped that before long this will be put to the test.

“So far the biggest crowd was 14,801 on the occasion of the FA Cup tie with Carlisle United in 1947.

“The first match at Holker Street was a Lancashire Combination fixture on September 4th, 1909, when Eccles Boro were defeated 5-2.

“Barrow’s team was: Mellor, Irvine, Johnstone, Finlay, Downing, Booth, Dillon, White, Shaw, Singlehurst and Grundy.”

It seems the first season at Holker Street was a financial disaster – largely due to poor weather and poor performances keeping the crowd levels low.


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