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Thread: Notts Rangers and Meadow Lane

  1. #1

    Notts Rangers and Meadow Lane

    Howdy. Long time so see. I hope you're all well.

    A quick question for the Notts history crowd. I was recently reading something about the early history of football in Nottingham and a team called the Notts Rangers. I'd never quite realised just how easily Nottingham's main clubs might have ended up being very different to us and the Reds had history gone a little differently. What I was surprised to see is that the Rangers played some of their home matches at a ground called Meadow Lane more than two decades before our ground opened. Does anyone know where this ground was? Was it on the site of the current stadium or somewhere else along the road? I've looked at some old maps of the city and haven't found any that show a football or cricket ground along Meadow Lane before 1910, which has added to the mystery even more!

  2. #2
    The only Notts Rangers FC that I have come across were formed in 1868. Ground stated as bear Nottingham Castle. They did play in Midland League but got suspended for not fulfilling their fixtures.
    They played in the FA Cup, one against Notts County - lost 3-0.

  3. #3
    Hi Kim! Hope all's well with you. Anyhow, I couldn't find answers regarding Meadow Lane and Notts Rangers but this might be of interest... particularly the goalkeeper...and the ref!

    (Nottingham Evening Post, Tuesday, March 26, 1889)

    FOOTBALL BY WELLS’ LIGHT.

    NOTTS. FOREST v. NOTTS. RANGERS.


    Last evening the experiment was tried on the Gregory Ground, Lenton, by Notts. Forest and Notts. Rangers teams, of playing football by the illumination obtainable from the rays of Wells’ Light. Fourteen portable lights, each up to 4,000 candle power from oil, were placed round the ground, and these illuminated the playing arena well enough for the spectators to follow most, if not all, the points of play, but a strong wind was blowing from the Radford goal, and this caused the lights on the town side to shed a considerable portion of their radiance on the adjoining fields, so that dark shadows were often thrown upon the playing ground, and it was almost impossible to see a case of handling unless the officials were close to. As a consequence very few free kicks were given. There was an attendance of 5,000 spectators, who seemed to enjoy the game played under these somewhat novel circumstances.

    The Rangers started with the wind in their favour, and at the commencement they went off with a rare dash. The Foresters responded in a spirited manner, and play was at once lively. The wind, however, was a considerable factor in the game, and the Meadow Lane team were soon pressing hard, and they kept up a pretty hot attack for about six minutes. The Forest left then broke through, and Toone ran out, and threw away. A corner to the Rangers followed, but nothing came of it, and after a time Topham – who was playing a fine back game – was passed, and Wardle seemed to have an opening, but did not reach the ball in time to shoot. The contest was afterwards waged mostly in the Forest half, the two backs and Smith working very hard and effectively, but at last Shaw dashed down the right and he and W. Smith carried the ball up to the Forest goal. Hill ran out and Smith put the ball past him, enabling Gill to score. The Reds’ custodian saved grandly after this, and the Rangers had the best of play up to half-time, although Wardle got very close once, only to be beaten by Topham. Half-time was called with the score unchanged.

    Immediately on restarting the Rangers dashed up the left, and W. Smith added a second point with a drooping shot. A brilliant raid by the Reds, led by Burton, caused Topham to concede a corner, but the Rangers soon forced the ball away from their goal, and the game assumed a more open appearance. A shower of rain threatened to spoil further proceedings, but it soon went off, and the match continued merrily, although a little more than the necessary vigour in charging was displayed by both sides. Weightman got past Topham and had a great chance, but his gauge being wrong the ball went wide. Toone fell in, clearing the first straight shot he had up to this point – from Weightman – and an opening was afforded, which none of the Reds were able to take advantage of. Both sides showed good all-round play up to the close, but no further scoring was done, so the match ended in a win for the Rangers by two goals to none. The ball was whitened to commence with, but soon lost its colour.

    Players:

    FOREST: A. Hill (goal), Bullock, Stevenson (backs), A. Smith, H. Pike, T. Jeacock (half-backs), Wardlem Tomlinson (right wing), H. Pike (centre), Burton and F. Weightman (left wing). Umpire: A. J. Bates.

    RANGERS: G. Toone (goal), G. H. Smith, W. Topham (backs), W. H. James, C. Shelton, S. Carlin (half-backs), T.Cook, A. Shaw (right wing), W. Smith (centre), A. B. Gill and W. May (left wing). Umpire: C. Gilbert.

    Referee: Mr. H. Cursham.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by 2piesonmyshirt View Post
    The only Notts Rangers FC that I have come across were formed in 1868. Ground stated as bear Nottingham Castle. They did play in Midland League but got suspended for not fulfilling their fixtures.
    They played in the FA Cup, one against Notts County - lost 3-0.
    That's them. We played them in the FA Cup in 1885-86 and 1886-87, winning both ties (although needing a replay the second time round). They seem to have had quite a nomadic existence (although so did us and Forest in those days) and also played matches at the Gregory Ground and Town Ground (both also Forest grounds) and this mysterious venue along Meadow Lane. For instance, they played West Brom in the Birmingham Cup in front of a crowd of 3,000 at Meadow Lane in 1890-91! I wonder if the Nottingham Castle ground you mention is the Castle ground we played on early in our history (which I believe was somewhere in the vicinity of Queens Drive).

  5. #5
    You've got my curiosity well and truly piqued Kim...

    Here's a 1902 map showing the entire length of Meadow Lane and there doesn't appear to be any permanent 'stadium' or playing field at that point, I'll keep digging

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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by SwalePie View Post
    You've got my curiosity well and truly piqued Kim...

    Here's a 1902 map showing the entire length of Meadow Lane and there doesn't appear to be any permanent 'stadium' or playing field at that point, I'll keep digging

    Name:  BACON 1902.jpg
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    I suppose there would have been a fair bit of land around there in those days, just off Meadow Lane, certainly enough for a couple of jumpers as goalposts!

  7. #7
    This seems promising, despite not being on Meadow Lane. I wonder if the name is simply confused in the record keeping and whether later curators of local footie history have lazily changed 'Meadows Rec' to 'Meadow Lane', thinking they were correcting an earlier error? Fascinating stuff.


    "By the 1860s housing had begun to spread across the green fields and the newly formalised and organised football was then played on specially designated grounds. Notts County (founded in 1862) played their very first home match against Trent Valley at the Meadows Cricket Ground on Queens Walk; this pitch was to remain County’s home ground for the next fifteen years. In April 1866 County entertained Nottingham Forest (founded 1865) on the Meadows. At the end of a “pleasant and well-contested game” the score remained nil-nil."

    There were seemingly lots of open spaces between the city and the Trent back in those days which could have been contenders. Some teasing hints here too: http://www.ournottinghamshire.org.uk/page_id__277.aspx

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by SwalePie View Post
    This seems promising, despite not being on Meadow Lane. I wonder if the name is simply confused in the record keeping and whether later curators of local footie history have lazily changed 'Meadows Rec' to 'Meadow Lane', thinking they were correcting an earlier error? Fascinating stuff.


    "By the 1860s housing had begun to spread across the green fields and the newly formalised and organised football was then played on specially designated grounds. Notts County (founded in 1862) played their very first home match against Trent Valley at the Meadows Cricket Ground on Queens Walk; this pitch was to remain County’s home ground for the next fifteen years. In April 1866 County entertained Nottingham Forest (founded 1865) on the Meadows. At the end of a “pleasant and well-contested game” the score remained nil-nil."

    There were seemingly lots of open spaces between the city and the Trent back in those days which could have been contenders. Some teasing hints here too: http://www.ournottinghamshire.org.uk/page_id__277.aspx
    That's a great shout.Love this sort of stuff so props to Kim for a great topic!

  9. #9
    Swale - Para 3 of your article (post #3) mentions a second goal adding a 'second point'. Anyone know how the scoring went in those days?
    Last edited by HaylePie; 12-06-2018 at 04:16 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SwalePie View Post
    This seems promising, despite not being on Meadow Lane. I wonder if the name is simply confused in the record keeping and whether later curators of local footie history have lazily changed 'Meadows Rec' to 'Meadow Lane', thinking they were correcting an earlier error? Fascinating stuff.


    "By the 1860s housing had begun to spread across the green fields and the newly formalised and organised football was then played on specially designated grounds. Notts County (founded in 1862) played their very first home match against Trent Valley at the Meadows Cricket Ground on Queens Walk; this pitch was to remain County’s home ground for the next fifteen years. In April 1866 County entertained Nottingham Forest (founded 1865) on the Meadows. At the end of a “pleasant and well-contested game” the score remained nil-nil."

    There were seemingly lots of open spaces between the city and the Trent back in those days which could have been contenders. Some teasing hints here too: http://www.ournottinghamshire.org.uk/page_id__277.aspx
    Thanks for that Swale! That's a possible explanation, although this pre-1910 Meadow Lane is mentioned in more than one source so if it is a mistake it's one that's been quite commonly made. There's still a recreational area at the Meadows Cricket Ground site today. I'd guess that's the only one of our old grounds (aside from Trent Bridge of course) that there's any trace of now?

    Quote Originally Posted by HaylePie View Post
    Swale - Para 3 of your article (post #3) mentions a second goal adding a 'second point'. Anyone know how the scoring went in those days?
    That's interesting. That looks to me like 'point' could be used interchangeably with 'goal' back then but I could be wrong. I know in the very early days you could score a 'rouge' by kicking the ball wide of the main goal (a bit like in Aussie rules) but I'm pretty sure that rule had been eliminated by the 1880s.

  11. #11
    Looks like Meadow Lane ran between around 15-20 fields, none of it built up, just a country road to connect Sneinton with the Meadows. Chances are, if Rangers played somewhere off that road, it wouldn't have been where Notts play now, although I'd guess the fields at either end of the road would have been the more likely to have been made into some sort of park for locals use whilst the fields either side of the railway line were more wild.

  12. #12
    Mid 1880's, pin points to roughly where our center circle now is.......

    [IMG][/IMG]

  13. #13
    Could this area literally across the road from our 1910 on ground be a candidate? Anyone know what it was? This picture is from 1927

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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by SwalePie View Post
    Could this area literally across the road from our 1910 on ground be a candidate? Anyone know what it was? This picture is from 1927

    Name:  DDYJ12_LI.jpg
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Size:  27.4 KB
    Interesting?

    Notts County Rovers?

    Notts Olympic?


    http://fchd.info/indexn.htm

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by countygump View Post
    Notts County Rovers?
    Notts County Rovers was the name of the Magpies' reserve team.

  16. #16
    Name:  Notts Rangers.jpg
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    This report in the Derby Daily Telegraph of 21st April 1890 is of the last Midland League game played by Notts Rangers and clearly states “played at the Meadow-lane Ground, Nottingham.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t help us pinpoint where the ground actually was.

    In February 1890 Notts Rangers were suspended for a month by the Midland League for playing a Notts County player under an assumed name!

    Notts Rangers only completed 15 of the scheduled 20 fixtures for the season and were expelled from the league at the Midland League’s Annual Meeting in May 1890 for “not carrying out their fixtures duly and properly.”

    On 31st May 1890 the Nottingham Evening Post reported “We regret to hear that Notts Rangers have ceased to exist as a club, and that the annals of the game will know them no more.”

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by 60YearsAPie View Post
    “We regret to hear that Notts Rangers have ceased to exist as a club, and that the annals of the game will know them no more.”
    That's just a fabulous sentence!

  18. #18
    It's only 20 years before we moved there. Had the ground been in the same place, or even right next to it, people would have known that another club played there first and I'm sure the fact would have been passed on by word of mouth and eventually written down somewhere. For that reason I reckon the Rangers 'ground' was more likely to have been at the northern end of the road on the edge of Sneinton. If it had no stands, which it probably didn't, there's no reason why it would appear on any map.

  19. #19
    For those interested in the football grounds of both Nottingham teams, have a look at this book, complete with history, maps and illustrations:

    'Football League Grounds For a Change' by Dave Twydell.


    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Football-Le...rds=0951332147

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by upthemaggies View Post
    It's only 20 years before we moved there. Had the ground been in the same place, or even right next to it, people would have known that another club played there first and I'm sure the fact would have been passed on by word of mouth and eventually written down somewhere. For that reason I reckon the Rangers 'ground' was more likely to have been at the northern end of the road on the edge of Sneinton. If it had no stands, which it probably didn't, there's no reason why it would appear on any map.
    I agree.

    When Notts decided on the location of their new ground in 1910, it was described as "a piece of Corporation waste land that lay off London Road between Meadow Lane and the Cattle Market, which served as a snow-tip in wintry weather."

    Surely if it was the same place, it would have been described as "Notts Rangers old ground", especially as Notts had connections with the defunct club.

    Apart from one of the Magpies players being partly responsible for the demise of the Rangers, Notts signed several players from them including two England internationals and members of Notts' cup winning team - goalkeeper George Toone and left-half Alfred Shelton.

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