THE SEARCH FOR WOODCROFT PARK
Over a year ago - in January 2014 - a small article appeared in our Newsletter appealing for information about Liverpool Caledonians FC. In 1891-2 they played at a ground in Wavertree called Woodcroft Park, and only just failed to get elected to the Football League. This January, our request for information - which originally came from Councillor Tim Beaumont - was given more publicity, when the City Council issued a press release and the BBC News website ran a prominent story (on Derby day) entitled "The mystery of Liverpool's lost stadium".
As a result, a lot of people have recently spent a lot of time and effort trying to establish exactly where the ground might have been located. The problem is that the 'stadium' is not shown on any map - the Ordnance Survey sheet for the area having been surveyed in 1889 (i.e. before the football team was established) and updated in 1905 (by which time the whole area was covered in terraced housing). We have found numerous references in newspapers - and we have been sent copies of advertisements for matches - but none of these give an address other than 'Woodcroft Park'.
Another problem is that the evidence is conflicting. Newspaper reports from 1891 and 1893 say that the ground is "one minute's walk from Wavertree Station" (which implies a site very close to Wellington Road). A deed of 1891 states that the land was "6 acres, 1 rood ... part of an estate known as the Woodcroft Estate" owned by Messrs Tayleur, Stokes and Sergeantson (which implies a site to the west of Bagot Street). The Liverpool Mercury for 10 Nov 1900 has a notice of a football match (Albion v Liverpool Central) at Woodcroft Park. But the 1901 Census records indicate that the whole of the Woodcroft Estate was already built up, and the houses occupied, by that time.
We hope it will not be too long before we can sort out the facts from the fiction, and solve the mystery. Please contact Mike Chitty if you are able to help.