Saturday, June 27, 2015

Aylestone Road - where Leicestershire used to play

An impressive pavilion for the Leicester Electricity Sports Cricket Club, who were running up an impressive score against the Leicester Centurion club when I dropped in today, you may think. And there is a reason.

This is the ground where, between 1901 and 1939, Leicestershire played their county games. According to the club's website, the great names who played hear include Grace, Bradman, Hammond and Hutton. It was known as the Aylestone Road ground.

In those days Grace Road, where the county played in the 19th century and where it plays today, was thought too far out of the city. It was not bought by the club until 1996. Before then it was owned by the city's education committee, and someone I worked with remembers taking part in his school sports day there.

The county played a couple of further championship games at Aylestone Road after the war and the final first-class match here was between Leicestershire and Cambridge University in 1962. Mike Brearley was a member of the visiting team.

Aylestone Road was dominated by the neighbouring the power station and infamous for the pollution from the neighbouring factory chimneys. The war was hard on it and land was lost to industrial expansion.

The factories have gone and the power station site is not the home to Leicester City's King Power Stadium, though there is still an impressive amount of electrical equipment on the site.

Unmitigated England has written about the ground and so has Down at Third Man. The latter blog includes an aerial photo that shows that the wicket has been turned by 90 degrees since its first-class heyday.

It also shows a stand which was moved to Grace Road and still stands as the homely but loved Meet.

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