Monday, 9 December 2013
I recently was allowed to scan a scrap book of E.Gordon Crofts who played cricket from 1924 to 1939.During this time he played for Yorkshire Seconds in 1934 and 1935.
There is a press article on the above cricket ground which intrigued me.The ground was owned by Samuel Robinson Jackson who had 50 hat shops in the Leeds area.He bought the property and adjoining land in 1898. It had beautiful grounds including kitchen gardens and an orchard as well as flowers and ornamental gardens. Electricity was supplied by an generator before the power line was laid, and Mr. Jackson was of the first car owners in Leeds, being the proud possessor of a Cadillac.
Mr. Jackson kept to his ambition to have a cricket ground of his own and in 1901 when living in Shadwell ,he found himself with an estate on which there was a paddock ,which offered just the cricket ground he had always wanted.Year by year ,the ground was improved .It was fifty to sixty yards square,the turf was wonderfully kept and the wicket well laid in the middle.The ground was drained on the herring bone plan-it was said that play was possible within an hour of a thunderstorm.
In 1910 the ground was levelled by the help of twenty men who were employed for six months . There was a hump in the centre of the field and the soil moved to one end of the ground where there was a rabbit warren that required filling.
Mr. Jackson put in a sight screen ,a little scoring box,and the basement of house was the headquarters of the club.In the scrap book Gordon played in the above ground in 1926 in annual match between Mr. Jackson side and Clifford House . It states he scored 28 not out and his father played in a similar match in 1925.
Mr Jackson himself was a lending cricketer and later became vice president of the Yorkshire Cricket Club and was the first man to score a run on Headingley Cricket Ground at its opening match between Leeds and Scarborough.
In 1936 the Clifford House ground was absorbed by the Craven Gentlemen so that the club had two grounds, one in Shadwell and one in Ilkley.
When the first wicket was being prepared a neighbour stopped as he was riding to a hunt meet to ask Mr. Jackson what was doing with the paddock.
"Making a cricket ground " said Mr. Jackson
"Whatever do you want a cricket ground of your own for? ",asked the huntsman" It takes 22 men to play a game of cricket "
"That is the reason ,why I am making a cricket ground to give 22 men some real fun. You are going hunting and you will be the only one who will get any fun out of the money it costs you to keep your horses and so on, because i do not think the fox will. But I will get lots of sport out of the money I spend on my ground, and whats more, so will 21 others everytime it is use."
In 1938 he sold Clifford House and moved to Primley Park Avenue where he died in 1941 aged 82.On the site of the house Leeds Corporation in 1973 built a housing estate .