by Micky Garner and Brian Butchers
The first cricket club founded was Waddon and Beddington CC, which had played an annual game against Croydon in a field behind the Hare and Hounds Inn at Waddon Post Office on Purley Way at least as early as 1856 – the Croydon Club playing at that time had their ground on Duppas Hill.
There was, however, an older Beddington Club that had played cricket at Beddington Corner on the only Recreation Ground in the Parish of Beddington – this ground had been given to the Carews in a land swap of 100 acres in 1535, when an agreement was made between Thomas, the Prior of Canterbury and Lord of the Manor of Vauxhall, and Sir Nicholas Carew of Beddington. 12 months later, 75 acres of Sundridge ground on Mitcham Common owned by the Carews was handed to Thomas of Canterbury and the 100-acre field at Beddington Corner became part of the Beddington Parish – of this, 9.5 acres became the Beddington Recreation ground and remained so until it was sold in the Carew land sales of 1859 – 1862.
At some time during this three-year period this recreation ground was purchased by Nicholas Bridges, Lord of the Manor of Wallington, who then charged Beddington Corner CC £105 per season to use it. This action caused the Beddington Corner Club to unite with the other Beddington Clubs in 1862 to form the Beddington United Club and at a meeting athte Goat public house a combined clkub was formed, incorporating Beddington & Waddon, Beddington Corner and Beddington Lane. During the period 1864 to 1872 this became known by local journalists as the Beddington Cricket Club.
By 1869 the railway was being constructed to Hackbridge station and beyond to Sutton, giving the Beddington United Club the freedom to extend their fixture list from East to West – however, by 1869 various changes had occurred in the parish boundaries when Nicholas Bridges had built the Holy Trinity church in Manor Road, Wallington, and Beddington Corner and the recreation ground became part of the Wallington Parish. These changes came as no surprise to the astute Rev. A H Bridges who in 1870 purchased the rest of Beddington Park from Atkins Borsley, the land speculator who had previously purchased the Park in the Carew land sales of 1859.
The Beddington United Club had lost their only Recreation ground.
By 1872, the old Beddington Corner club had reverted back to their original name of Beddington Corner CC and were using their original ground. It was mentioned in Croydon court proceedings in 1882 that no ground fees had been paid by the Beddington Corner Club to Nathaniel Bridges since 1872 when he decided to sell the land to a Mitcham estate agent.
It was during this period that the Rev. Alexander Bridges was nearing the completion of his Recreation Ground in Beddington Park, and players from the Beddington United Club had formed a village side called Beddington Amateurs and were using the Beddington village ground in the Park in 1873. The same cricketers were later to play for the St Mary’s Choir and Beddington Village teams in Beddington Park, and their memorials can be found in the St Mary’s graveyard extension built by Canon A H Bridges in 1875, along with those of many other Beddington cricketers, including the headstone of the Robbie Henderson family.
This history now brings us to 1873, when the cricket grounds were laid by James Southerton. The Reverend A H Bridges was promoted to Canon and the first game was played on Canon Bridges’ private ground, the pavilions on both grounds not being completed until the Spring of 1874, when the ‘Old Wykehamist ‘ club of Winchester played their first ever game against Beddington CC on the Park ground, the Beddington Team being skippered by John Henry Bridges who was also an Old Wykehamist and secretary of the Beddington Club. By 1875 both grounds were in use, with Canon Bridges allowing Choir Boys, local school sides and the Village sides to play on them free of charge, while his gardeners maintained both grounds. By 1879, the year John Henry Bridges married, all cricket had been transfered to the Beddington Village Ground, the private ground now being used for archery and tennis.
The final result is that a Beddington United CC began on the only recreation ground in the parish of Beddington at Beddington Corner in 1863. A Cricket match was held at the sign of ” The Goat” between Beddington Corner & Coulsdon in 1762 (Daily Advertiser) – “The Goat” stood at Beddington Corner, one of the four corners of Mitcham Common, close to the Parish of Beddington owned then by the Sir Benjamin Hallowell Carew.
Cricket in Beddington Park began in 1873 on Canon Bridges’ private ground. The Beddington Village CC began on the second ground also laid in 1873 by James Southerton, and have played there ever since. Both grounds had their own pavilion, thanks to Canon Bridges.
There is no history – in either the Bromley Archives and Lords Archives – of Beddington Cricket Club ever playing West Kent in 1863.
This being the last year of the history of Beddington, compiled by Mick Garner and Brian Butchers over a five year period with the aid of previous club members, too many to mention, we would like to offer our thanks for the time we have spent, boring them to death.
It has been a truly delightful journey for two friends who met during net practice at Beddington in 1955 as playing members over 50 years ago. We hope that someone will be able to continue this history for another 50 years thanks to Canon Bridges’ purchase of Dog Kennel Mead (Circa 1863) in Beddington Park.
The exact sale date still remains a mystery after five years of research. We will be continuing to search for the Beddington starting date. A special thanks goes out to my daughter Kerry who has spent hours working to complete this history.
Andrew Tibble has been the Chairman of the Beddington Club for several years and has lifted the Club to greater heights this year. Due to his tireless efforts and his cricketing ability, we would like to thank him for all his thankless work. We would also like to thank our President and his wife, Sheila for their devotion to the club year on year.