You are at the entrance to Duke Street Cemetery and before you stand two of the three chapels.
Where did it all begin?
By 1850 the Factory Act had begun to limit the working week to sixty hours with the week ending earlier on a Saturday. With Sundays being set aside for Church this naturally led to Saturday afternoons being the time for leisure activities. The only national holidays at this point were Christmas and Easter.
First of our sports to get a hold was cricket and this has been played in the town since 1859 with the original Southport Cricket Club. As it became more popular, other clubs sprang up.
- The Alexandra Cricket Club was one of the most prominent, being formed in 1863.
- Birkdale Cricket Club was formed in 1874.
- When the original cricket club stopped playing, Alexandra changed its name to Southport Cricket Club in 1890.
- Southport & Birkdale Cricket Club was formed when Southport (Alexandra) Cricket Club later merged Birkdale Cricket club in 1902.
But Cricket was a summer sport, so they needed something to do in the winter.
Rugby was next and has been played in the town since 1872 with the original Southport Football Club.
- Today’s Southport Rugby Club goes back to Southport Olympic in 1906, who changed their name to what we know today in 1913.
Association Football began with amateur clubs playing in 1881.
- Today’s Southport Football Club was formed as a professional club named Southport Central in 1888, just seven years after amateur clubs first started played.
We’re going to walk you through that summary in more detail and our first stop on the tour is going to take us to see one of our earliest Cricketers.