11 November 2023

Portslade Cricket Club

Judy Middleton & D. Sharp 2003 (revised 2024)

copyright © J.Middleton
The 1st Eleven of Portslade Cricket Club in 1913

Early History of Cricket in Portslade

Portslade holds a unique position in local cricket history amongst its neighbouring towns and villages. Portslade staged its first ever cricket match in 1741 and according to the 18th century Sussex Weekly Advertiser, pre-dating by many years the first ever recorded cricket matches at:- Brighton 1776, Hove 1784, Kingston Buci 1785, Southwick 1790 and Shoreham 1800.

copyright © National Portrait Gallery
(by John Faber Jr, NPG D4011)
Charles Lennox, the Duke of Richmond (1701-1750),
captained Slindon CC
in the cricket match
at Portslade in July 1741
Portslade v Slindon CC in July 1741

In a letter dated 29 July 1741, Charles Lennox, the Duke of Richmond, wrote to Thomas Pelham-Holles, the Duke of Newcastle,

Have you heard that Sergison treated his people the night of the Crickett Match at Portslade & that there was a bloody Battle between them & Slyndoners, butt the last came off victorious tho with some broken heads’.

Charles Lennox, the Duke of Richmond, lived at Goodwood House near Chichester and was the captain of Slindon C.C. In his above letter to the Duke of Newcastle, he refers to a fight that took place after the Portslade cricket match had finished (match result is not known and there were no physical disputes between the two teams).

On the 5th August, Sir William Gage of Firle Place, described in a letter to the Duke of Newcastle, the reason why the fight broke out, an insult of ‘calves-heads’ had been shouted towards one group of spectators to the other.

In the 18th century it was not unknown for cricket matches, with so many spectators to turn into political rallies between the Whigs and Tories. The Portslade match was taking place at the time of the canvassing for the Lewes By-Election,  in those days Portslade was within the Parliamentry Constituency of Lewes.

Thomas Sergison and his Tory supporters were taunting Charles Sackville (Earl of Middlesex) and his Whig supporters at the Portslade match when the fight broke out which was quickly joined in by the Slindon players wielding their cricket bats in favour of Charles Sackville against Thomas Sergison's supporters, it is not recorded if the Portslade players joined the Slindon players in the attack on Sergison’s supporters. (The Tory Party's Thomas Sergison lost the 1741 Lewes By-Election)

Charles Sackville, a Whig supporter, was known to the people of Portslade as his family had been the Patrons of Portslade’s Parish Church of St Nicolas for hundreds of years. The Sackvilles were major landowners throughout the counties of Sussex and Kent.

Thomas Pelham-Holles, the Duke of Newcastle, was interested in the details of the cricket match at Portslade because his cousin, Thomas Pelham of Stanmer was standing in the Lewes By-Election. The Duke of Newcastle was a Whig Government Minister who went on to serve as Prime Minister from 1754-1756 and from 1757-1762.

(The term of abuse ‘calf’s head’ has now fallen out of modern day usage, it is a synonym for ‘a fool’ this insult dates back to Shakespeare’s time).

Slindon CC (near Arundel) was reputed to be the best and most successful club side in 1740s England. A month before the Portslade game, Slindon defeated Portsmouth at Stansted Park (near Chichester) in front of a crowd of 5000 which also turned into a Tories versus Whigs political rally, two months after the Portslade game, Slindon CC beat a County of Surrey representative team by an innings.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Henry Earp, senior, painted this delightful picture of Portslade in 1840. Note St Nicolas Church to the right and the impressive mansion of Portslade House on the far left at the top of the High Street. The probable location of Portslade's 1740s cricket pitch is out of sight to the left in the valley in the enclosed grounds of the mansion, now Portslade Allotments.

It is interesting to speculate the location of Portslade’s 1741 cricket pitch. It is highly probable it was on a major landowning Portslade Gentleman’s estate with its kept lawns, and most probably in today’s Portslade Allotments, which were once the enclosed grounds of the original Portslade Mansion which later became Portslade House. The Slindon players could have found overnight accommodation in the George Inn as the 25 mile return trip by horse drawn carriages to Slindon on 1740s dirt roads would be too far a distance to undertake at nightfall.

Portslade Cricket in 1770s

The Sussex Weekly Advertiser reported a cricket match would take place between the Gentlemen of Hurstpierpoint and the Gentlemen of Portslade on 23 July 1771. It is interesting to note that Hurstpierpoint was the home of the Borrer family who were landowners in Portslade. William Borrer became Lord of the Manor of Portslade in 1806.

Portslade Cricket in the 1820s

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Gazette 30 August 1821
The Portslade Team:-
The Bridger and Blaker families were major Portslade landowners,
Henry Tamplin was the founder of the original Tamplin's Brewery
and played twice for the Sussex County Cricket Club,
Charles Scrase was the son of the Lord of the Manor of Brighton,
Portslade's W. Slater, T. Blaker and H. Tamplin also played in
the famous William Lillywhite's Brighton cricket team.

Military Team:-
The officers of the
10th Hussars listed above, apart from
Colonel Newbery
, all fought at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815,
Captain John Wallington played cricket for Hampshire and the MCC,
The 10th Hussars were stationed at the Cavalry Barracks in the
Lewes Road, Brighton.

This cricket match probably took place on Blaker land close to
Easthill House.

Portslade Cricket in 1850s

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Herald 17 July 1852
Portslade beat Southwick by 28 runs in the summer of 1852.
'Portslade Down' was north of the Old Village, on the flat area fields, now occupied by the modern day North Road, between Southdown Road in the east and Valley Road and in the west.  This is the area where quoits was played and both the Stag’s Head and the George Inn had their own quoits teams

Portslade Cricket in the 1860s

The Sussex Advertiser reported on 22 May 1866 that Mr E Blaker of Easthill House, will once again allow Portslade Cricket Club to use one of his fields as a cricket pitch for the another cricket season.

Name Change

From the 1870s until the late 1880s, Portslade CC included ‘& Southwick’ in the club’s name, this appears to be a courtesy to the village of Southwick, as Portslade supplied the vast majority of the players for the home matches at Southwick Green. In this period of connection between the two villages, Portslade's Gabriel McConnochie, the headmaster of St Nicolas School, served as captain and secretary of the club.

Portslade Cricket in the 1870s

This match was the first game of the 1871 season against Brighton’s premier cricket club namely, the Brunswick Cricket Club who played at the Sussex County Cricket Ground, which in those days was on the  Royal Brunswick Cricket Ground by Hove’s seafront. The Brunswick CC were formed in 1870 and was one of the most prominent and powerful teams in Sussex outside of first class county cricket. Two months after the Portslade match, W.G. Grace scored 207 on this ground in a benefit match for John Lillywhite, The event featuring W.G. Grace was said to have attracted 10,000 spectators and £700 was raised.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Gazette 1 July 1871
The team included G McConnochie the headmaster of St Nicolas School,
W. Dudney, a Portslade farmer who employed 20 farm workers and
his nephew, John Dudney the son of the owner of Portslade Brewery

 In the 1873 cricket season Portslade played the well known 1870s Brighton club, 'The Early Risers CC' three times:-  Southwick Green, Queen's Park Brighton, and the County Ground Hove, which resulted in a 2-1 win for Portslade.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Gazette 7 May 1873
On this scorecard the team name 'Portslade CC' is used
whereas in, the re-match at the County Ground, the
team name of  Portslade & Southwick CC is used

Portslade played the Brighton Early Risers CC at the premier cricket ground of Sussex in July 1873, namely the 'New County Ground' in Hove which resulted in massive win by Portslade & Southwick CC. The 'New' Sussex County Ground in Eaton Road was first opened for cricket matches the year before in 1872 after moving from the Brunswick Cricket Ground on Hove's seafront.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Herald 19 July 1873

Portslade Cricket in the 1880s

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Herald 11 July 1885
Portslade & Southwick CC were the home team at the
County Ground in Hove for their match against Stanford CC.
This was a two innings match, but as there was no time left for
Standford's second innings, Portslade won the game on their
first innings score of 109 to Standford's 100.

In the 1880s the County Ground was available for clubs
in the Brighton, Hove & Portslade area to hire for their
home fixtures when Sussex were not playing.

'All The Ten Wickets'

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Argus 3 June 1889
Portslade's H. Sheldon took all 10 wickets (7 bowled) in this win by an innings and 12 runs against the Brighton Association of Odd Fellows, unfortunately the Argus did not print the scorecard for this game of note for H. Sheldon

Portslade Cricket in the 1890s

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Argus 3 July 1897
Worthing II 86 - Portslade 48
Portslade's opening batsman was Herbert de Kantzow, the son of the Poet,
Baron Alfred de Kantzow
who lived at 11, Carlton Terrace, Portslade.

Gabriel McConnochie (1835-1898)

Gabriel McConnochie was a leading light in the early history of Portslade Cricket Club, he served as captain and secretary for 21 years. He was popularly known as ‘Mac’. He must have been a man of wide interests and some energy because he was also the headmaster of St Nicolas School, and in addition he was organist and choirmaster at St Nicolas Church for 30 years. Mac died on 31 August 1898 and was buried at Portslade Cemetery.

William Hudson Dudney (1860-1922)

Portslade born, William Hudson Dudney was probably one of Portslade CC’s most talented batsmen of all time, who went on to play Sussex County cricket and top the New Zealand batting averages in a domestic season while living there for a year, he was also a member of the well-known Portslade brewing family.

The writer of his obituary in the Sussex Daily News (17 June 1922) had some interesting facts to record.

‘Mr Dudney took to cricket as a duck takes to water, and as far back as May 1879 he was playing an important match on the Queen’s Park Ground, Brighton. The promising form he displayed on that occasion gave him an introduction into the ranks of the Brighton Brunswick and subsequently he was foremost ‘bat’ in Portslade and Southwick Cricket Club.’

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Gazette 20 August 1874
Three members of  this Portslade & Southwick team
went on to play for Sussex County Cricket Club:-
William H. Dudney - 36 appearances between 1887-1893
William Mechen - 4 appearances between 1876-1879
Frank New - 3 appearance in 1890

The above scorecard for 20 August 1874 is for a match between the Brighton stationed, Scots Greys Regiment's cricket team and Portslade & Southwick CC., which took place on Southwick Green. The match was drawn, Portslade & Southwick scored 270, the Scots Greys scored 32 for 8, the Scots Greys were only left just over an hour in the match to score 270 runs and Portslade failed to bowl the Scots Greys out. William Hudson Dudney was playing at the age of 14 and scored 11 runs, also playing was his father William senior and his cousin John Dudney the son of the owner of Portslade Brewery, also in the team was Gabriel McConnochie, the  founder of the present day Portslade Cricket Club. After the game both teams retired to the Cricketers where they spent two hours, the evening finished with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem.

Dudney was educated at Cranleigh School in Kent, In the winter of 1883 he travelled to New Zealand to spend the summer cricket season there. He played for Midland Canterbury CC in Christchurch in the 1883-1884 season. He was highest-scoring batsman in New Zealand, with 208 runs in six matches at an average of 34.66 runs per game. The local Lyttelton Times wrote in praise of Dudney, ‘one of the most brilliant and effective batsmen who has joined Midland Canterbury Cricket Club in many years’.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Gazette 7 June 1890
William Hudson Dudney playing for Sussex at Hove, scoring 40 in the first
innings and 4 in the second, which Sussex lost by 6 wickets. Also in the
Sussex team was fellow Portslade & Southwick CC player, Frank New

In 1887 Dudney headed the batting averages at the Portslade & Southwick club, and he played for Sussex from 1887 to 1893, taking part in no less than 36 first class games. As well as being good with his bat – his highest score was 97 – he was also useful as a wicket-keeper, and recorded 38 catches.

copyright © J.Middleton
The peaceful resting place of the Dudney family in Portslade Cemetery

When Dudney died on 16 June 1922 at his house near Hove Lawns, the flag at the Sussex County Cricket Ground was flown at half-mast. His funeral was held at St Nicolas Church, Portslade, where he had served as a church warden for ten years. One of the mourners at the funeral was Mr F. C. New, representing the old Portslade and Southwick Cricket Club.

copyright © N. Sharp
The authentic signature of cricketer William Hudson Dudney

It is interesting to have a sample of Dudney’s signature on a letter that has somehow survived the years. It was sent to A. J. Gaston, and it was most probably posted in 1892 when Sussex were playing at Old Trafford in Manchester; firstly against Lancashire on the 28, 29 and 30 May, and then against Yorkshire on 1 and 2 June. The first was a draw while the second was a win for Sussex. You cannot say that Dudney covered himself with glory, scoring precisely 2 in the first, and being out for a duck in the second.

Portslade Club Members who played for the Sussex County Cricket Club

Portslade & Southwick Cricket Club :-

William (Billy) Mechen (1852 – 1880) played in 4 matches for Sussex from 1876 to 1879, 43 runs, top score of 20 runs and took 7 catches.

Frank Chandler New (1859 – 1924) played in 3 matches for Sussex in 1890, 63 runs, top score of 43 runs and took 1 catch.

William Hudson Dudney (1860 – 1922) played in 36 matches for Sussex from 1887 to 1893, 912 runs, top score of 97, took 38 catches and 6 stumpings. (see above)

Portslade Cricket Club:-

George Arthur Stannard (1892 – 1971) played in 73 matches for Sussex from 1914 to 1925, 1447 runs, top score of 114, took 14 wickets and 15 catches. (see below)

  Portslade Cricket in the 1900s

Brighton Gazette 12 July 1901

A mixed cricket match took place at Portslade on the 11 July 1901 featuring a Ladies cricket team. All female cricket matches had a very long history in Victorian times and were not that unusual, but this particular match was extraordinary and ground breaking for its time, as it was a Ladies v Gentlemen’s cricket match. Each team played two innings. The Ladies team scored a total of 113 and the Gentlemen scored a total of 126, winning by 23 runs. Miss N. Morphett was top scorer for the Ladies with 24 runs and she also took 7 wickets in the game. For the Gentlemen, Mr. E.J.H. Cardinall was top scorer with 38. It must be pointed out that the Gentlemen had the severe handicap of having to play the whole game left-handed:- bat, bowl, throw, catch and field only with the left hand (and vice versa for left-handed men). It may seem slightly condescending for men to play left-handed against a women’s team to even the standards up, but the fact remains, apart from croquet and lawn tennis, mixed sport was very rare in Edwardian times.

Portslade Cricket Club’s Resounding Defeat in 1904

An article appeared in the Australian Hobart Mercury reporting on the progress from club cricket to county cricket, of the Australian fast bowler, John Dwyer (professionally known as E. B. Dwyer). In 1904 the captain of Sussex, C.B. Fry, spotted the talented Dwyer on the ground staff at Lords and immediately made arrangements for Dwyer to qualify for the Sussex County Cricket team. Dwyer joined Sheffield Park CC (near Haywards Heath) to play a number of games in order to qualify for Sussex.

One of Sheffield Park’s fixtures was against the unfortunate Portslade CC and the right-arm fast bowler Dwyer was on top form. He took nine Portslade wickets for 10 runs with the last three wickets falling with three conservative balls. The actual result of the game is not known, but one cannot imagine any team coming back from 9 for 10 to win.

The Australian, E. B. Dwyer played 61 first-class matches for Sussex between 1904 until 1909, taking 179 wickets at a bowling average of 27.94 runs. Dwyer was never capped for his country. His stand out match performance for Sussex was taking 9 wickets for 35 runs in the first innings against Derbyshire at Hove in 1906 (and 16 for 100 in the whole match).

E. B. Dwyer (1876-1912) held the ‘World Record’ of having the longest full name in First Class cricket, only in recent years surpassed by a Sri Lankan cricket player, he had seven initials before his surname:- J.E.B.B.P.Q.C. Dwyer, His full name :- John Elicius Benedict Bernard Placid Quirk Carrington Dwyer.

Portslade Cricket Club's Fixtures for the 1904 Season

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Argus 19 May 1904
Amusing to note that Portslade CC, who shared Victoria Park (on separate pitches) with their rivals Southern Cross CC, will be playing each other both home and away in the Southdown League, while the game against Palmeira House is to be played on the County Ground in Hove. The above are Portslade's league fixtures only, the club also played a number of friendly matches from early May until late September.  Frederick W.A. Cushman was Portslade's Vice-Captain, Hon. Secretary and Treasurer and lived at Wychcote in the Old Village, he served as the Mayor of Hove from 1919 until 1922

'The French Connection' - Portslade CC v The Standard Athletic Club of Paris in 1907

The Standard Athletic Club of Paris were on a five match tour of Sussex in 1907 and played Priory Park at Chichester (Priory Park won by 121 runs), Littlehampton (Standard Athletic won by 20 runs), Steyning (Standard Athletic won by 72 runs), Horsham (Horsham won by 25 runs) and lastly Portslade on the 24th August.

copyright © G. Osborne
This photograph dates from about the time that Portslade played the Standard Athletic Club of Paris.
Victoria Park was surrounded by iron railings with a number of entry gates, which would have been locked each night.

Victoria Park was closed to the public for the day and a small charge was made for admission to the park to watch the game. It is a wonder how the game could have been screened from the public as a superb view could be seen from the pavement in Old Shoreham Road above the cricket pitch, in fact a grandstand view of the match for free. During the luncheon between innings at the Southern Cross pub the Chairman of Portslade Urban District Council gave a speech which was responded to by P.H. Tomalin, the captain of the visitors.

The Standard Athletic Club of Paris batted first and set a target of 179 runs, C.T. Tolfree was top scorer with 84. The Portslade bowlers - F. Barnes took 5 for 16 and P. Broomfield 4 for 75. In reply Portslade scored just 67, Percy Broomfield was top scorer with 14 runs. The Paris bowlers – E. Tolfree took 5 for 22 and E. Cawdron 4 for 26. Portslade lost the game by 111 runs.

The Standard Athletic's team captain, P.H. Tomalin was on the losing side when he played for France against Great Britain in the 1900 Olympics cricket final and was awarded a Silver Medal, which was not a very great achievement, as only two cricket teams took part in these Olympics. The Paris bowler, Edward Tolfree who took 5 for 22 in the match was playing the season for Hampshire County Cricket Club a year before the Portslade game.
The Standard Athletic Club of Paris is still in operation today, running a cricket team mainly for British ex-pats living in the Paris area.

The Southern Cross Pub

copyright © G. Osborne
The Southern Cross was demolished in the 1970s

The Southern Cross pub is no more but it used to stand on the south west corner of the Old Shoreham Road and Trafalgar Road. For many years the pub was the venue of Portslade Cricket Club's Annual General Meetings and social events.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Gazette 4 August 1912

The Annual General Meeting held in November 1928. Major J. Whitehead was the club's president and no doubt he was pleased to record that there was a balance in hand of £1-0-7d with the funds standing at a total of £6-13-7d.

Portslade CC & Portslade Football Club

On 20 August 1912, Portslade Cricket Club became instrumental in the formation of Portslade Football Club. Seven of the eight on the organising committee were senior members of Portslade Cricket Club. The Honorary Vice Presidents were all the major landowning and employer families in Portslade:- Messrs., W.H. Dudney (former Portslade and Sussex County cricketer), A. Blaker, Eardley Hall, the Mews Brothers of Portslade Brewery and, very unusual for the early 1900s, also some ladies – Miss Gossett of Northerlee, Drove Road and the Watson sisters of Portslade House who were the granddaughters of the late Countess Hood. Also included in the list of Honorary Vice Presidents was the Revd V. Boyle of St Nicolas Church whose curate, the Revd H. H. Jones, was a Portslade Cricket Club player. At this meeting it was decided that the Southern Cross pub would be the headquarters of the new football club and the club colours would be royal blue shirts with white shorts. Twenty cricketers indicated they were interested in playing football for the new club and the annual subscription to play was set at 2s 6d

'Portslade Wednesday'

Portslade CC setup a ‘Portslade Wednesday’ cricket team in June 1914, for their players who had to work on Saturday afternoons, e.g. -  shop workers, shift-workers, gas and electricity workers, policeman, etc.

Brighton Argus 28 June 1914

Richard Thomas Telling (1891-1917) – A Club Member

copyright © D. Sharp
Number 5 Southdown Road, Portslade, the former home
of Richard Telling

Richard Telling came to Portslade as a youngster because he was actually born in Brixton to a London-based family. The 1911 census finds the Telling family living in Portslade. The parents were Frederick and Agnes, and Richard had three sisters – Violet, Nellie and Adeline. Fredrick worked as a cooper at Portslade Brewery, his workplace being a stone’s throw away from his house at 5 Southdown Cottages.

copyright © G. Osborne
The beer-barrel manufacturing yard can be seen on the left of the brewery, where Richard and his father both worked.

The Southdown cottages were somewhat special because they had been built for senior workers at the Brewery with a garden large enough to grow vegetables. The cottages are still there, although now absorbed into Southdown Road. Richard also worked at the Brewery as an apprentice cooper.

copyright © J.Middleton
Richard Thomas Telling in his cricket whites

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Gazette 27 July 1914
An emphatic victory by Ringmer 122 to Portslade's 35.
Richard Telling 4 not out and took one catch, D. Andrews
and the Revd H. H. Jones, a curate at St Nicolas Church were also
playing for Portslade and like Richard, they would be soon called
up to serve in the army

There is a magnificent photograph (top of the page) depicting the 1st eleven of Portslade Cricket Club taken by the well-known local photographer H. W. Tubb in 1913. The date makes the image even more poignant because it shows a peaceful group of cricketing enthusiasts just a year before the horrors of the First World War were unleashed. Richard Telling is seated on the far left.

copyright © J.Middleton
Richard Telling is third from the left standing in this group of soldiers of the Hampshire Regiment at Bustard Camp, Salisbury in 1914

copyright © J.Middleton
Richard's postcard to Dora Aldridge

Telling was probably already in the Territorials before the war began. He became Private Richard Thomas Telling (381097) of the 15th (Service) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. By 3 October 1914 he was to be found at Bustard Camp, Salisbury, Wiltshire, and from there he sent a postcard to his sweetheart Dora Aldridge. It was she who treasured the mementoes of her lost love, including the photos he sent her and some newspaper cuttings. At that time Telling had no idea of where he might be sent but by December 1914 he and the other Territorials had arrived in India to a wonderful reception in order to relieve regiments of regular soldiers for service at the Front. The Bombay Chronicle recorded the following:

‘The Territorials disembarked and entrained for all the world like professional soldiers. They worked hard under a sun whose rays were perhaps stronger than any they had ever before experienced.

Stripped to shirt and trousers, their heads protected by regulation Army topees they performed the tasks assigned to them with the greatest cheerfulness and good will.’

The reporter was also moved to remark upon them being ‘smart in appearance, of fine physique’ and that many of them wore ribbons indicating that they had served in the South African War.

It is interesting to note that the same article includes the fact that the regulars of the 7th Hampshire Regiment were also in India, accompanied by their own band. The regulars were ‘mostly drawn from Southampton and thereabouts.’

copyright © J.Middleton
‘Dick’ Telling in civvies & Private Richard Thomas Telling in India

Two photographs found their way back to Dora. One depicted him looking very handsome with a well-trimmed moustache and a severe parting in his hair, wearing civilian clothes. The image was taken by Henderson & Co. Day, Electric Light Studios, Rochdale. The other photograph was taken by Thad & Co, photographers, India, and shows him smartly attired in dress uniform with his trusty pith helmet placed correctly with badge at the front on a small table beside him.

By 1917 Telling was back in Europe with his comrades, and on 1 August 1917 he was killed in action in Flanders. It must have been heavy fighting because his name is remembered on panel 35 at the Menin Gate, Ypres. This meant that his body was never recovered and therefore he has no known grave.

As for the bereft Dora, like so many other grieving women, she just had to get on with her life. It is pleasant to record that she made a great success of it, and lived until her nineties; but she never married. She was so proficient with her needle that she became a seamstress to none other than Norman Hartnell. She had the honour of dressing Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and as a consequence used to go to Buckingham Palace. How one would love to hear details of those visits! But her generation would have been discreet about such matters. Dora and her friend moved to Christchurch in the 1950s where Dora continued to undertake alterations; she died in 1995.

George Arthur Stannard (1892-1971) - Played for Portslade Cricket Club & The Sussex County Cricket Club.

copyright © N. Sharp
Sussex County Cricketer - George Arthur Stannard

He was born at the Victoria Hotel Portslade on 9 July 1892. It is pleasant to record that his talent as a cricketer was recognised at the age of seventeen. There he was quietly enjoying a game of cricket for the local team, Portslade Cricket Club, when a scout from the Sussex County Cricket Club laid eyes on him. Soon he was elevated to membership of the county club’s Nursery Cricket Team. Although no doubt delighted about his circumstances, he cannot have enjoyed stepping out under the banner of ‘nursery’. But that is how it was.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Herald 24 July 1912 & 21 August 1912
In the Littlehampton game, George Stannard took 3 wickets, which was eclipsed by fellow Sussex Nursery player Maurice Tate, who took 6 wickets. Maurice Tate went on to play 39 Test Matches for England.
In the Chichester game George Stannard played a starring roll, in scoring 25 runs and taking 4 wickets for 4 runs in 4.4 overs.

It should be noted that many professional cricketers of the time were of a different class, and therefore money was not an issue for them. But for G. A. Stannard, it certainly was. Cricketers did not earn a handsome wage as they do today – they only received money from the matches in which they played. It is telling that Stannard’s occupation was given as ‘Poultry Keeper’ in the 1911 census, which no doubt helped to keep the wolf from the door.

George's father, also a George and brother James, who was a nuseryman in Trafalgar Road, both played for Portslade Cricket Club.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Argus cuttings from 13 July, 14 July & 15 July 1914
George A. Stannard first game for Sussex County Cricket Club was at Hastings in July 1914.
George scored a total of 34 runs and took 1 wicket for 10 runs in 5 overs. Sussex won by 364 runs.
One of the Sussex players listed in this match, was George Street, who 10 years later in 1924, sadly died in a road traffic accident at the Southern Cross junction while riding his motorcycle.

Stannard played first-class cricket for Sussex County Cricket Club from 1914 to 1925, and participated in no less than 73 matches, scoring 1,447 runs with a top score of 114, he took 14 wickets with a best performance of 4 for 70 runs. George Arthur Stannard died at Brighton on 28 June 1971.

Portslade Cricket Club and the First World War

Three Club players lost their lives in the First World War:-

David Isaac Andrews, was born in Portslade and served as a Private in the 10th Battalion, Royal West Surrey Regiment 41st Division, he died of wounds on the 24 July 1917 age 28. David Andrews is buried in Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery in Belgium.

Frederick Isaiah Miles, captain of Portslade II team was born in Portslade and served as a Private in the 26th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. 41st Division. He was killed in action on the 4 October 1918 age 40. Frederick Miles is buried in Dadizeele, New British Cemetery in Belgium.

Richard Telling, (see above)

Portslade's Cricket Venues

From the 1870s until the early 1890s Portslade played their home fixtures on Southwick Green

In the 1880s, John Dudney, a club member and the owner of the Portslade Brewery allowed some fixtures of Portslade CC to be played in the private grounds (Easthill Park) of his Easthill House home, also in this era Portslade played a number of home fixtures on the County Ground, Hove, which was available for local clubs in the Brighton, Hove and Portslade area to hire when Sussex were not playing.

In 1898 Portslade Cricket Club applied to Hove Council to be able to stage matches at Hove Recreation Ground.

copyright © G. Osborne
Victoria Park in the 1930s, the roped off northern cricket square can just be seen behind the tree.

By the early 1900s the club played cricket at Victoria Recreation Ground where there were two cricket pitches. Portslade CC were not the only cricket club in Portslade, the following teams apart from Portslade's league rivals Southern Cross CC, played just a few games throughout the cricket season and not necessarily on a Saturday, it seems from reports in local newspapers that Portslade CC and Southern Cross CC had priority in staging home fixtures at Victoria Park, most of the teams below did not form up again after the First World War when all local cricket was suspended :

Baker & Co (in North Street)

Butt & Sons (Shoreham Harbour)

Electricity Works

Portslade Invicta

Portslade Old Boys

Portslade Railway Club

Portslade Tradesmen

Portslade Wednesday

Portslade and West Hove Railway

St Andrews Church Cricket Club

Southdown Sports Club

Southern Cross CC - played in the same Southdown Cricket League along with their rivals, the Portslade Cricket Club, there were two cricket pitches on Victoria Park, which meant one the Clubs had to make the 'journey' of 200 yards to play their 'away' game. In Victorian and Edwardian times Southern Cross was classed as a hamlet in the middle of Portslade and separate from Portslade's Old Village in the north and Portslade by Sea on the south coast.

Portslade Cricket Club's Mill Field Cricket Ground

In the winter of 1912, with so many bookings for matches by other Portslade cricket teams on Victoria Park for the forthcoming 1913 cricket season, Portslade CC decided to create their own second cricket ground in Portslade. The chosen location was to lease the Mill Field next to the former Easthill Windmill. In later years Mill Close and the surrounding housing estate were built on this former cricket pitch.

copyright © D. Sharp
The only surviving feature of Portslade's Mill Field cricket ground
is this old flint wall behind the back gardens of the houses in the
present day Mill Close.

In the 1913 cricket season Portslade CC continued to play at Victoria Park but now had their own cricket ground at Mill Field. By now the Club were running both a First and Second cricket teams, therefore it was imperative to have a second home ground along with the heavily booked Victoria Park. Mill Field was in continued use for 2 years from the 1913 season up to the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Argus 1 August 1913
The Portslade I's team playing Worthing's Broadwater at Mill Field, while Portslade II's were away at Bramber. Listed in Portslade II's team, is F. G. Miles, the father of the famous Miles Brothers  the aircraft builders at Shoreham Airport, also in the team is Richard Tilling (see above)

During the First World War, Mill Field was returned to its former agricultural use and was never reinstated as a cricket ground again.

Portslade's Gas Works Cricket Ground

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
The Portslade Gas Works Cricket Club was a regular fixture for Portslade CC throughout the Edwardian cricket seasons. The wind swept cricket ground can be seen east of the Gas Works with its sight-screen by the sea wall. To reach this cricket ground the players would have taken the Portslade Ferry across the harbour.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Gazette 20 August 1913
Portslade II's won by 45 runs, sadly Portslade's captain F. Miles and the
Gas Works' H. Candy, J. Lassetter and G. Short were all to lose their lives in the First World War

The 1919 Cricket Season

copyright © G. Osborne
The army camp at Windlesham School grounds in 1917, the white cricket pavilion can be seen top left. The area in the photograph is now Portslade Allotments and the housing estate off Locks Hill.

In the 1919 cricket season after the army had left the school grounds, one of Portslade CC’s first matches after the War was against Mr C. Scott-Malden’s XI in the grounds of Windlesham School (now Portslade Allotments). The match result was a resounding victory for Portslade C.C., who won the game by an innings and 26 runs.

Portslade CC v Brighton & Hove Albion F.C.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Gazette 11 June 1919

On the 7 June 1919 Portslade CC played Brighton & Hove Albion F.C.'s cricket team at Victoria Recreation Park, which Portslade won by 31 runs and 2 wickets. The Albion's cricket team included six first team players:- W. Booth, G. Coomber, W. Higham, W. H. Jones, B. Miller and C. Woodhouse.
Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. played in the Southern League in the 1919-1920 season, which would be their last season in this league before their election to the newly formed Football League Division 3.

copyright © G. Osborne
Portslade cricketers on the north side of Victoria Park in the 1930s, note the iron railings which were removed in the Second World War, the low wall was removed in the early 1970s when the Old Shoreham Road was widened.

By 1935 there were the following teams playing on Victoria Park:

Diaphragm and General Leather Co. (in Franklin Road)

Electricity Works

Portslade Cricket Club

Portslade Wednesday

Ronuk CC

It is amusing to note that in 1930 it cost five shillings per match for the northern pitch, and two shillings and sixpence per match for the southern pitch.


In 1976 Portslade Cricket Club celebrated its centenary by donating a park bench with a suitable plaque to be placed in Victoria Recreation Ground

Portslade Cricket Ground

copyright © D. Sharp
Portslade Cricket Club's ground in Benfield Valley

In 1996 the club moved the scene of their operations to the newly created Benfield Valley Park, where in 1992 a new pavilion had been built costing £165,000. The new ground was for the use of the cricket club in the summer, and for those playing junior football in the winter.

An Uncertain Future?

In January 2024 it was reported that the council had taken note of ten potential sites for the new swimming baths and had slimmed the list down to two. The possible places were to use the present King Alfred site or building on land north of the Old Shoreham Road, and south of of the car park at West Hove’s Sainsbury’s. Reading between the lines, it seems the council would prefer the latter because the old King Alfred site would entail too many challenges. However, the alternative site is also problematic because it is at present the cricket ground where Portslade Cricket Club play their matches. There is also the thorny problem that the new baths would destroy a designated green space, and there is the question of a restrictive covenant as well.

The public are invited to express their views, either on the council’s website or at public meetings as follows:

16 January at the King Alfred Leisure Centre

17 January at St Richard’s Community Centre, Egmont Road

17 January at Portslade Library, Old Shoreham Road

24 January at Hove Library, Church Road

As ever, it seems the public involvement will be of very short duration, especially since building work is scheduled to start in 2025. (Argus 11/1/24)

It appears that events were moving swiftly because it was stated that on Monday 29 January 2024 there was a meeting between council representatives and members of Portslade Cricket Club. The cricketers were told that should the leisure centre plan at Benfield Valley go ahead, they could have a new cricket pitch at Greenleas Park. Unfortunately, what the cricketers had to say on the subject was not reported. (Argus 31/1/24)

The cricket club had no idea such a possibility as losing their ground was on the table until receiving an email on the subject in November 2023. In February 2024 Andy Glover, former chairman of the club, had some strong words to say, especially on the subject of the consultation process, which he claimed had been flawed right from the start.

Mr Glover also poured cold water on the idea that Greenleas Park would be a suitable site for a new cricket pitch. Perhaps the councillors were not familiar with the geography of that park because the houses were far too close for comfort – just think of the miles of netting that would be needed.

Mr Glover had the feeling that officials had no respect for the cricket club and its long history, not to mention its regular use of the Benfield Valley ground throughout the cricket season. He thought that the powers-that-be were probably of the opinion it was just a small cricket club that could simply be moved elsewhere. Argus 16/2/24)

copyright © Portslade Cricket Club

For more information on Portslade Cricket Club's many adult and junior teams, see their 'Play-Cricket' website at this Link :- Portslade Cricket Club


Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade

Brighton Argus

Brighton Gazette

Brighton Herald

Hobart Mercury

Lyttelton Times (New Zealand)

Mr G. Osborne

Timothy J. McCann, Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century (Sussex Record Society, 2004)

National Portrait Gallery

Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

Sussex Weekly Advertiser

Many thanks to M. Andrews for information about Richard Telling and Dora Aldridge and the fascinating photographs.

Copyright © J.Middleton 2023

page layout by D.Sharp