Between the Wars

Between the Wars

The period following the Great War was a difficult one for the majority of people in the UK. Many more young men had perished than anticipated and a period of reconstruction of society followed the war. Soldiers were demobilised more slowly than they expected and a short while, domestic unrest and protest followed. In Barnsley many sportsmen never came back from duty and a memorial was erected at the bottom of Shaw Lane in their memory.

Rugby football restarted as a result of the efforts of the founder of the Barnsley club in 1902, Rev Richard Huggard. The club closed down at the beginning of the war and almost every member took up arms. A large percentage of the members fell and many were wounded but those left restarted the club in April 1919.

At Shaw Lane, cricket restarted in May 1919 with a fixture against Lofthouse. The side was weakened as many serving members had yet to return, however the club managed to get two teams on the field and large crowds were seen once again at Shaw Lane.

The committee at Shaw Lane, ever keen to raise funds to keep the club afloat, promoted the "56th Grand Athletic Sports" on the 25th August 1919. Many people flocked to see this event and it proved so popular that the Globe Picture House sent cameras to film the event, screening it a week later on the 1st of September 1919.

Finances were tight in 1924, when following the presentation of medals to the 2nd XI who had won their league, the President, the Mayor of Barnsley, Cllr Edward Sheerien, led a "long and serious discussion" into the financial state of the club. The club owed £1000 (2014 - £53000) but outstanding subscriptions stood at 10% of this figure. Captain Alphonse Wood informed the meeting that the annual loss that year was £265 (2014 -£14000) and proposed an increase in subscriptions to 10 shillings (£26.73). This was met with a mixed reaction. Later that year the "Scratch Handicap" Trophy (later to become the Open KO Trophy) was presented and competition commenced amongst the local cricket clubs. Scratch Handicap was a Brand of Port, which was known as the "Sportsmans Wine", which was claimed to give "vigour and vitality".

Grass Track Motorcyle racing featured and grass banks were added to the ground to accomodate this. In 1930 Barnsley was the venue for a "Yorkshire Centre Grass Track Meeting" - the first time this event had been held in the town. Entries were attracted from all parts of the county and the Yorkshire Grass Track champion, C.E. Reynolds, who was a Barnsley Rider. Many events were held trough the day and a large crowd of over 1000 people attended. The only mishap occurred when A Penistone man, G Hinchliff, skidded into the rails around the track and was thrown into the crowd striking a smal boy. Luckily no one was hurt.

The core sports of cricket, bowls and tennis were popular in the 1920s and 30s with Barnsley CC joining the newly formed Yorkshire League in 1936, providing spectators with cricket against other towns and cities in Yorkshire.

A Putting green was one of the facilities that were introduced in the 1930s, however the club still lurched from crisis to crisis on the financial front with a drive to increase membership to 600 planned in 1937, as the war clouds grew over Europe.

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