Southport RFC 140 Timeline

Snort the port to cheer the beer! Follow the history of Southport Rugby Football Club from its foundation in 1872 to the present day.

Timeline created by Graham Ellis & Mike Sweeney.

1792-01-01 00:00:00

THE BEGINNING....SNORT THE PORT!

Neither the game and obviously Southport Rugby Football Club existed when the town was spawned, but they weren't far behind.

1823-01-01 00:00:00

WHY IS THE GAME CALLED RUGBY?

None of us would be enjoying a game called rugby if, as legend has it, it wasn't for the famous school. Good job it wasn't Bash Street Comprehensive.

1823-01-01 00:00:00

RUGBY TIMELINE

The game of rugby pre-dates the club by about fifty years; the Rugby Football History timelime begins in 1823. Some of the highlights are included in the Southport timeline too as the history of the game and the club are intrinsically linked.

1844-05-04 00:00:00

SOUTHPORT VISITER FIRST PUBLISHED

The "Southport Visiter and General Advertiser" began life in Lord Street later to give fantastic coverage of the club which continues to today.

1848-07-24 00:00:00

LIVERPOOL, CROSBY AND SOUTHPORT RAILWAY OPENS

The coming of the railway was a big factor in the growth of clubs like Southport enabling members to get to grounds and teams to travel.

1854-01-01 00:00:00

WE CALL UPON SOUTHPORT TO SING US A SONG!

The tradition of the rugby sing song has been embraced with enthusiasm over by years members of Southport right down to their knees.....

1859-01-01 00:00:00

SOUTHPORT & BIRKDALE CRICKET CLUB

Cricket predates the establishment of rugby in the town, our good neighbours and friends from 'over the track' being formed thirteen years before. Many have been or are members of both.

1860-08-02 00:00:00

SOUTHPORT PIER OPENS

The towns great landmark would often see players decant for post match imbibement when they changed at Victoria Baths over the road.

1866-01-01 00:00:00

BIRKDALE PALACE HOTEL BUILT

The Palace Hotel was also well frequented by members of the rugby club over the years (The Fishermens Rest still is!).

1871-01-26 00:00:00

RFU FOUNDED

The governing body of the game was formed at a meeting in London attended by representatives of 21 of the clubs in existence in London.

1871-03-27 00:00:00

FIRST RUGBY INTERNATIONAL

Over the years Southport members have attended international matches with tickets sourced through the club.

1871-06-01 00:00:00

1871 PROPOSED LAWS OF THE GAME

Arguably at times the average Southport players understanding of the laws has been lacking, but to be fair the club didn't write them.

1872-01-01 00:00:00

SOUTHPORT IS READY FOR RUGBY

Against a backdrop of established organised summer cricket in the town and evolving rugby elsewhere Southport was ready to adopt rugby in the winter.

1872-01-01 00:00:00

WILLIAM ATKINSON

In the year the club was formed one of the towns great benefactors William Atkinson came to live in Southport in 1872.

1872-01-01 00:00:00

WHAT ELSE HAPPENED IN 1872?

Is the Mary Celeste is the ship on the club crest? Maybe the crew all jumped it off Southport and formed a rugby club? It's a mystery.

1872-11-21 00:00:00

INAUGURAL WIGAN WARRIORS FORMED

The forebears of Wigan Rugby League were formed eight days before Southport and the clubs played each other in the first season before Wigan folded!

1872-11-23 00:00:00

THE 1872 CUP

Glasgow Accies hosted a challenge match between Edinburgh and Glasgow which continues today.

1872-11-29 00:00:00

THE RUGBY CLUB IS FOUNDED

The rugby club was founded on Friday 29th November 1872, originally as Southport Football Club. (Southport FC is now the towns soccer club - see 1881)

1872-11-29 00:00:00

SAMUEL SWIRE CLUB PRESIDENT

The first club President of the club from 1872 to 73 was a Samuel Swire.

1872-11-30 00:00:00

FIRST GROUND (Manchester Road)

The club plays its first games in a large field next to the Alexandra Cricket Club off Roe Lane, at the end of Manchester Road. Houses on Melling Road and Irton Road now cover the site.

1873-05-31 00:00:00

SOUTHPORT TRAMS - A BYGONE AGE BEFORE CARS

In days gone by players and spectators would have used Southport Corporation Trams to access the various grounds the club played at.

1873-11-19 00:00:00

THE SAINTS COME MARCHING IN

The original St Helens club was founded almost a year after Southport on 19th November 1973.

1875-02-15 00:00:00

FIRST ENGLAND v IRELAND INTERNATIONAL

England first played against Ireland in 1875, winning 15–0 at The Oval, London, alive, alive, oh!

1878-01-20 00:00:00

G SCHOFIELD

Forward, G. Schofield, is the first Southport player to be selected for the Lancashire County side.

1878-09-01 00:00:00

G NICHOLSON, W A GORDON

The club’s second player to play for Lancashire was G Nicholson on 3rd December 1878.

1878-11-19 00:00:00

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN UNDER LIGHTS

Seven Southport players, Messrs Nicholson, Dixon, Forshaw, Bromilow, Thompson, Keyworth, and Gordon, play in the 20-aside Lancashire District game sponsored by the West Lancashire Bicycle Co. at Edge Hill, Liverpool, one of the first to be played under floodlights Tthe practice became very popular as the electric companies attempted to overturn the gas companies monopoly.

1879-01-01 00:00:00

ORIGINAL CLUB COLOURS

The 'List of Matches' for 1879 records the club's colours as being blue, white and red.

1879-09-01 00:00:00

THE LORD SKELMERSDALE CLUB PRESIDENT

The next recorded President was six years later from 1879 to 80, took the club nobbing nto the higher echelons of society, The Lord Skelmersdale.

1879-11-06 00:00:00

AMERICAN FOOTBALL BEGINS

There are a number of places called Southport in the USA but none seem to have any history of rugby or American football.

1880-01-01 00:00:00

SECOND GROUND (Scarisbrick New Road)

The club merged with Southport Olympic and Southport Wasps rugby clubs and moved to a new ground at Scarisbrick New Road.

1881-01-22 00:00:00

BANKING CRISIS. SUSH!

Some headlines haven't changed over the years! In January 1881 there was a run on the Southport and West Lancs Bank Ltd. The Bank is now owned by RBS, the building which was the cause of its troubles becoming the town library.

1881-02-19 00:00:00

FIRST ENGLAND v WALES INTERNATIONAL

England and Wales have played each other at rugby union since 1881, ensuring plenty of rivalry in the club over the years.

1881-10-15 00:00:00

CLUB BECOMES SOUTHPORT OLYMPIC RFC

Southport FC plays its last game of rugby, losing heavily to Wavertree, before taking up association football. A lack of new recruits meant the original club faded out and merged with two other local rugby clubs Southport Olympic and Southport Wasps, assuming the Olympic name playing at a ground at the corner of Scarisbrick New Road and Ash Street backing onto Southbank Road

1881-11-12 00:00:00

SOUTHPORT FC SWITCH TO ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL

After some heavy defeats, the last one recorded at Wavertree on 15th October, Southport Football Club switched to association football.

1881-12-22 00:00:00

LANCASHIRE RFU FORMED

The Lancashire County Rugby Football Union was formed at a meeting held at The Albion Hotel, Manchester, but Southport was not represented.

1883-01-01 00:00:00

WATERLOO FC

Our neighbours from Blundellsands were founded ten years after us. There are many links between the two clubs.

1885-01-01 00:00:00

HESKETH GOLF CLUB FORMED

Southport (later Hesketh) Golf Club formed. Edward Fleetwood Hesketh, a vice president of the rugby club was the golf club’s first president.

1886-12-09 00:00:00

LIFEBOAT DISASTER - THE FISHERMENS REST

Bodies are laid out in what is now The Fishermens Rest (The 'Fish') a favourite drinking establishment of many Southport RFC members (see 1866)

1888-02-01 00:00:00

NEW CLUB COLOURS

The club's familiar red, black and amber colours were first mentioned in a game with New Brighton in February 1888.

1889-07-30 00:00:00

BIRKDALE GOLF CLUB FORMED

Near neighbour Royal Birkdale (only known as such since 1951) origins go right back to the heart of Victorian Southport.

1891-09-01 00:00:00

C M SAWYER

C M Sawyer played for Southport, having been capped twice by England whilst playing for Broughton in 1880 v Scotland and 1881 v Ireland.

1893-01-01 00:00:00

NO RUGBY

The onset of professional rugby nearly saw the demise of the club as it runs out of fixtures.

1895-08-27 00:00:00

NORTHERN UNION FORMED

Southport is unlikely to have contemplated joining the Northern Union but clubs it had played over the years did, including St Helens FC and Wigan FC.

1896-04-06 00:00:00

FIRST MODERN OLYMPIC GAMES

The club was still in existence appropriately as Southport Olympic when the the first modern games were held, the Olympics in London Games coinciding with the clubs 140th year.

1897-09-01 00:00:00

QUEEN VICTORIA DIAMOND JUBILEE

As Queen Victoria celebrates 60 years on the throne, Southport Olympic in its 25th year goes six years without any rugby. The next royal diamond jublilee is in the clubs 140th year.

1898-01-01 00:00:00

SOUTHPORT TRINITY CRICKET CLUB

Holy Trinity Sunday School Cricket Club started playing on the sports fields on Manchester Road which is likely to be the same ground previously occupied by Alexandra CC where the rugby club first played.

1900-01-23 00:00:00

BIRKDALE RFC

Birkdale RFC acquire pitches at Victoria Park and put rugby in the town back on the map.

1900-06-23 00:00:00

SOUTHPORT & BIRKDALE CROQUET CLUB

For about twenty years between 1906 and the mid 1920s the rugby club and the croquet club both used Victoria Park. The croquet club is still there possibly now also using the site of the rugby pitches.

1901-01-22 00:00:00

QUEEN VICTORIA DIES

Queen Victoria passes away after a reign of 63 years and 7 months. Succeeded by King Edward VII..

1902-01-01 00:00:00

FIRST VULCAN CAR BUILT IN SOUTHPORT

The history of the club embraces the development of the motor car over the years, including in the early days those manufactured in Southport by the world famous Vulcan Motor and Engineering Company.

Southport RFC 140 Timeline

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