Lancaster nostalgia: Frank Parkinson’s football memories

Freehold United 1947-48''Players only Middle Row L-R: - Eric Salter, Colin Barker, Raymond Troughton, Donald Rutherford, Alan Baines''Front Row L-R: - Ronald Parkinson, Frank Parkinson, Ken 'Topsy' Irving. Owen Westworth, Edward Redhead''Kneeling at Front L-R: - Gordon Simpson, Jack 'Tiger' Wilkinson
Freehold United 1947-48''Players only Middle Row L-R: - Eric Salter, Colin Barker, Raymond Troughton, Donald Rutherford, Alan Baines''Front Row L-R: - Ronald Parkinson, Frank Parkinson, Ken 'Topsy' Irving. Owen Westworth, Edward Redhead''Kneeling at Front L-R: - Gordon Simpson, Jack 'Tiger' Wilkinson

Following Frank Parkinson’s visit to my exhibition of football photographs in the Lancaster Reference Library in July 2013 I got in touch with him and talked about his early life in Lancaster and in football and what a fascinating story it was.

The first time we see Frank is as a pupil at Scotforth School where he played as a goalkeeper on the Easter Field.

The Waring & Gillows Company 1949-50 pictured before their game on Cork Road with Frank Parkinson seated 2nd from the left

The Waring & Gillows Company 1949-50 pictured before their game on Cork Road with Frank Parkinson seated 2nd from the left

It was estimated that 15,000 people were present on the Giant Axe on Easter Monday for the William Smith Festival in March 1940. Actually the festival began in the morning when toys were distributed to schoolchildren up to the age of eight.

These children were given tickets which entitled them to go to their school and select a toy from a large assortment containing bats, balls, dolls, skipping ropes etc.

Probably the most interesting and enjoyable part of the festival was the football competition.

The junior competition which produced keen rivalry among the boys started at 9.30am and each game lasted for 16 minutes.

All Lancastrians are proud to be associated with Waring & Gillow

The final of this competition was a real ding-dong battle between St Peter’s and Scotforth.

They were very evenly matched with sound defences.

As there was no decision at the end of 16 minutes extra time had to be played and finally St Peter’s were victorious by one goal, two corners, to Scotforth’s one goal.

The referees for both the senior and junior competitions were Mr Sam Price and Mr G Miller.

Frank next appears in the Freehold Utd team of 1947-48 alongside many talented local youngsters who would make a name for themselves in the North Lancs League.

All Lancastrians are proud to be associated with Waring & Gillow which was a noted firm of English furniture manufacturers formed in 1897 by the merger of Gillow of Lancaster and Waring of Liverpool.

During World War II the factory produced parts for gliders and the Mosquito aircraft, while kit-bags, tents and camouflage nets were made by the upholstery department.

Waring & Gillow, Oxford Street Branch, London paid a goodwill visit to Lancaster in March 1950.

They met Warison’s (Waring & Gillow, Lancaster) in a friendly match at Cork Road and won by three goals to two.

The players wore black arm bands as a token of respect for the Company Director, Mr C. E. Hughes, who had died the previous day. The home side played against the wind in the first half and the Londoners were soon on the attack.

Mulroy however opened the scoring for Lancaster with a fine shot that gave the London goalkeeper no chance.

Within five minutes the visitors had equalised from a penalty and went ahead with a picture goal to give them a half-time lead of 2-1.

London had a much heavier side and there were many robust tussles for possession of the ball.

Shortly after the restart Oxford Street scored a further goal to widen the margin to 3-1.

Towards the end of the match with the heavier side tiring the home side applied greater pressure and before the final whistle scored through Frank Parkinson to reduce the arrears although on balance a draw would have been a fair result.

For more articles and photographs on the history of grassroots football in the Lancaster area please go to www.soccernostalgia.co.uk.