Lancaster nostalgia: football in Skerton

Skerton Council School pose for another photograph with John (Jack) Tyson Bleasdale bottom left hands clasped round his knees leaning against the wall.
Skerton Council School pose for another photograph with John (Jack) Tyson Bleasdale bottom left hands clasped round his knees leaning against the wall.

Local historian Terry Ainsworth looks back on the footballing days in Skerton.

Many people living in Skerton today have never accepted that they are part of Lancaster, they are Skertonians and proud of it.

Skerton Council School pose for another photograph with John (Jack) Tyson Bleasdale bottom left hands clasped round his knees leaning against the wall.

Skerton Council School pose for another photograph with John (Jack) Tyson Bleasdale bottom left hands clasped round his knees leaning against the wall.

Way back in time as the Victorian era was ending and Edward VII came to the throne Skerton was a hotbed of football with over 15 teams proudly wearing their colours on a Saturday afternoon.

Skerton Wesleyan Swifts (three teams), Skerton St Luke’s (three teams), Skerton Athletic, St Joseph’s, Skerton Red Rose (three teams), Skerton Our Boys, Skerton North End, Skerton Hornets and the top football club in the area Skerton AFC (two teams) who played in the Football Alliance against teams such as Blackburn Rovers “A” and Liverpool “A” in front of over 2,000 spectators on Lune Street.

The strong community spirit also showed itself in other areas of life and in 1924 two new events took place in August.

The Morecambe Lane Allotment Holders’ Association held their first annual show in the Wesleyan School with keen competition from the entrants.

100 yards on the right over Beaumont Bridge is Mr Askews farmhouse on the left of the photograph (2016) and of course the houses on the right on Green Lane would not have been built in 1924.

100 yards on the right over Beaumont Bridge is Mr Askews farmhouse on the left of the photograph (2016) and of course the houses on the right on Green Lane would not have been built in 1924.

This report appeared in the Lancaster Guardian to celebrate the first Skerton Children’s Gala in August 1924.

“An epoch in the juvenile life of Skerton was witnessed on Tuesday afternoon, when Mr Askew’s Field at Beaumont Bridge, was crowded with a motley gathering, the occasion being the children’s gala, providing healthy sport.

“While not a few “grown- ups” indulged in the “fun of the fair”.

“The programme was in the hands of an efficient secretary, Mr R J Haslam, assisted by a strong committee, and various willing helpers.

“A six-a- side football competition attracted eight entries from the following schools: - Boys’ National “A”, Boys’ National “B”, Skerton Council, Skerton North End, Hornby, Wray, Red Rose and Morecambe Central.

“The following members of the Referees’ Society gave their service in the control of the games: Charles Angus, J Dobson, Lou Onyett and T Wilson, whilst the St John’s Ambulance Brigade had a detachment in attendance under Superintendent Kilgour.

“The John O’Gaunt Band played selections throughout the afternoon, and Mr Glasby catered refreshments on the field.

“In the final of the football competition Skerton Council beat Morecambe Central 6-1.”

The Bleasdale family, who lived on Lune Street, Skerton before WWI, were well represented in the world of football, James (Jimmy), played for Lancaster Town and his sons, William (Bill), Albert and John (Jack) all played locally and the granddaughter of Jack, Diane Bleasdale, sent me some marvellous photographs from Australia, including two of her grandfather playing for Skerton Council School in the 1924 Skerton Gala.

Mr Askew’s Field belonged to a local farmer and the gala would have taken place in front of the farmhouse.

Story sponsored by Lancaster and Morecambe Referees’ Society.