The creation of St.Helen`s

Cricket was first played in Swansea during the Georgian era with references dating from 1785 of a cricket club having been established and calling for the gentlemen subscribers to meet for practice adjacent to the Bathing House on the foreshore of Swansea Bay (near the current site of the Marriott Hotel and the council offices).

During the 19th century, the town’s cricketers played at a number of other locations, including Crumlin Burrows, Bryn-y-Mor Field (opposite The Uplands Hotel) and Brunswick Street. Indeed, the latter staged a special three-day match during mid-July 1866 between a XXII of Swansea and District and the United All England Eleven.

The match was specifically organized to raise funds for the Fields Committee, created by Swansea CC, in their quest of a permanent home for the town’s cricketers, and later their rugby players as well.  James Livingston and JTD Llewelyn were major figures on the Committee and during 1872 they approached Colonel Llewellyn Morgan who owned an area of scrubland and sandbanks adjacent to Oystermouth Road and its junction with Gorse Lane.

The negotiations went well, and by the end of the year, an agreement was reached for the creation of a new sports field, at a cost of £2,000. The next eighteen months saw the sandbanks being levelled, turfed and rolled, with the grand opening of the St. Helen’s ground taking place on Whit Monday 1875.

A postcard from the 1930s showing the low-lying area of reclaimed sandbanks adjoining Swansea Bay where the St.Helen’s ground was laid out during the 1870s. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

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