Ralph Rylance Grave

Ralph Leather Rylance and family. An impressive memorial for a man of influence.

Grave Location: Duke Street Cemetery, Southport

Much has been made of R.L. Rylance’s contribution to establishing association football in Southport. He came to Southport from Blackburn in 1881 where he was employed by a firm of solicitors. Before moving he played for the Blackburn Law team.

As early as January 1881 Rylance had designed (GB 1881-7A) an entirely artificial pitch surface. It no longer had anything in common with your average natural grass field and he was not the inventor of astroturf. Even in it’s most primitive form however an artificial grass surface wasn’t to follow for nearly another 50 years. His invention consisted of a concrete, asphalt or wooden plank foundation with a rubber layer applied on top. Depending on the use and the sports grounds the rubber utilised was to be either solid, spongy or moulded. Full detail of the patent can be found here.

For a look in detail at Ralph and his family please visit here

Southport FC Career: 1881 – exact date of retirement not currently known (we will find out!)