This short summary of ACC’s history is drawn from Peter Stanley Williams’ book Addiscombe Cricket Club: a history which was published in 1990.
The story of Addiscombe CC starts in the mid-Victorian age. Back then Addiscombe was a sleepy country resort of farms, orchards and winding lanes. A short distance from the already-busy mainline station of Croydon (later re-named East Croydon), many roads had been recently built through the extensive grounds that once belonged to the historic mansion ‘Addiscombe Place’.
This imposing house had been sold to the East India Company who turned it into a college to educate and train military cadets to serve the Empire in India. However, following the Indian Mutiny, demand for cadets dwindled and the college was sold for development. The roads which were built were named after the famous men who had made fame and fortune through the East India company: Canning, Clyde, Elgin, Havelock and Outram. Today the area is known as the East India Estate.
ACC’s first ground on Canning Road
In 1866 cricketers formed a club just off Canning Rd, close to where St Mary Magdalen Church now stands. Close-by on the Addiscombe Rd is The Cricketers’ pub, which served as the social centre for the new club. Only limited records exist of the early Addiscombe days but the club was a strong one, fielding two XIs and playing matches against clubs like Mitcham, Sutton, Putney and Norwood.
By 1895 the club employed two professional bowlers, one of whom also worked as groundsman. The club started a thriving Junior team and in 1899, three of the under 16s scored centuries.
The move to Radcliffe Road
However, in 1905 the ground on Canning Road was acquired for building purposes. The club was fortunate to find a new ground on part of Woodbury Farm, which was just south of the Addiscombe Road on Radcliffe Road. At the same time, Addiscombe merged with Ashburton CC who had also recently had to leave their ground. It was a picturesque venue and during this period Addiscombe grew, starting a 3rd XI and its reputation and standing as a club developed.
Elsewhere in Addiscombe, the young men of the nearby St Mary’s Magdalen Church also started up a cricket club. They played their first matches in 1905 and though it was a more humble club, never having its own ground and using council pitches, it would play an important role in the future story of Addiscombe CC.
In 1915 both clubs had to disband due to the First World War. For five years, the sound of leather on willow, lazy days of quick singles and even quicker pints was stopped. Sporting rivalry existed only in the memory as cricketers swapped their whites for military uniforms.
Next instalment: Re-building after the Great War, 1919-1930
We have copies of the book 'Addiscombe Cricket Club: a history' available for a £5 donation to club funds. Please email AddiscombeCC@Outlook.com if you would like a copy.