Transcripts from the Minute Book of the Gloucester Football & Athletic Ground Company Ltd
(by Malc King)
In January 1891, Gloucester had a home fixture at the Spa against Swansea, but on the morning of the match the ground was found to be frozen. Faced with the prospect of losing a major and lucrative fixture, officials and members fetched tons of salt in carts and spread it liberally across the pitch. Initially this seemed like a master stroke – the ground thawed, the match was played, and Gloucester won a famous victory. Thereafter the real cost became apparent – the grass died, the ground was described as having “the appearance of a newly ploughed piece of arable land”. The cricket club, which held the lease, were aghast, and it was agreed that the Rugby Club should leave the Spa. The Club had previously considered the desirability of having its own ground, but the idea had been shelved because it was thought to be beyond their means – now it was a necessity.
Four sites for the new ground were considered but one at Kingsholm was selected, and 7 acres of the Castle Grim estate were purchased for £4,400. A company was formed – the Gloucester Football and Athletic Ground Co Ltd – to make the purchase. It was registered on 12 Aug 1891, 3,000 £1 shares were issued, most being taken up by officials and supporters of the Rugby Club, and a £2,500 mortgage was taken out. For more than a century afterwards, these two bodies operated separately, but in close collaboration, one owning the ground and the Club leasing it. Many of the same people served as officers on the board/committee of each. The arrangement came to an end when Tom Walkinshaw bought out both.
The complete minutes for the Gloucester Football and Athletic Ground Co Ltd have been preserved and the originals can be viewed at the Gloucestershire Archives. We have also transcribed them so that they can be viewed on this website – see below.
Some of the minute books of the Rugby Club have also been preserved, and can also be viewed in the Gloucestershire Archives. We are in the process of summarising them into soft copy, and those completed so far can be viewed elsewhere on this website.