75 years ago – How Lowerhouse and Burnley helped celebrate the end of WW2

This great piece was put together by Anne Cochrane – it is the 300th submission into the History Books and I think one of our best and most fascinating yet. Adam Hope

As part of the many local celebrations organised around  the 13th August 1945, Lowerhouse challenged Burnley to a match in aid of the Mayor’s Ex-servicemen’s Victory Fund and promised that it would be a competitive affair. In his AGM remarks later that year, the Lowerhouse Chairman summed it up nicely: 

“August 13th will surely stand out as a “Red Letter Day” in Lowerhouse C.C. History.  On that day, in conjunction with our Burnley friends, we staged a V.E. celebration match.  The event proved a splendid attraction, the weather was ideal and over 4,000 people saw an interesting game.”

Both sides were made up of well known pros plus amateurs from various clubs, some of whom were also very well known. (There were some very interesting characters involved, see “Who’s Who” for mini bios. at the end.)

When County cricket was suspended in 1939 several first-class players went to play as professionals in the Bradford League, some of whom then moved  across to play in the  Lancashire and Central Leagues in 1945.

There was so much demand for the Express to cover all the church services and parades, bonfires, dancing, and tea parties that the match only merited a brief report on 18th August and no photos. (search “1945” on www.bcthic.org for photos they did print)

The original idea to play two innings each was abandoned as  “the respective attacks had a gruelling time in the hot sun”. Lowerhouse XI were all out for 154 in the 40th over, with more than half the runs coming from Jim Parks (Accrington’s pro) who played “delightful cricket ” for his 66 and Jim Smith (East Lancs.’ pro) with 23. Colne’s George Pope took 7 for 71.  In reply the Burnley XI reached 159 for 6 off 36 overs, with Manny Martindale scoring an  “attractive” 38, and Peter Kippax, Burnley FC and CC amateur, a “confident” 64. As Lowerhouse batted first, the full team can be seen in the scorecard below and was slightly different to that advertised. . As far as the Burnley XI is concerned, Syd Taylor and Fred Brown are not  actually mentioned as batting bowling or fielding in the report,  but Taylor, being a stumper, probably played.  Herbert McNulty was originally only a reserve. Burnley’s captain, Jimmy Whittam, broke a bone in his wrist fielding, so could not bat. 

Lowerhouse Innings :

Parks c Pope b Martindale 66,

Todd, c Kippax b Pope 11,

Bridge b Pope 9,

Spencer, c Hallows b Pope 1

Brierley, b Pope 6

Smith b Pope 23

Brocklebank b Martindale 2

G.M. Shuttleworth b Martindale 9

Dickinson b Pope 12

Burns b Pope 1

Marsden, not out 9

Extras 6

Total 154 all out

Bowling: Pope 18.3-2-71-7;

Achong: 8-1-22-0

Martindale 13-0-55-3


Burnley Innings

Hallows c Shuttleworth b Brierley 10

T.D. Olver b Smith 8

Martindale c Smith b Todd 38

Threlfall b Spencer 18

Kippax b Burns 64

A.L. Moss c Shuttleworth b Burns 14

McNulty (not out) 2

Extras 5

Total (for six wkts.) 159


Smith 13 -2-36-1

Brierley 11-0-49-1

Spencer 5-0-28-1

Todd 5-0-23-1

Burns 2-0-18-2

A collection for Jim Parks realised nearly £16 and one for Peter Kippax nearly £7.  Pope, despite his 7 wickets didn’t get one. The discrepancy in the generosity of the collections is interesting,  Parks being a paid man, and Kippax an amateur, albeit from a prosperous local mill owning family.

Gate receipts were £159. In terms of purchasing power today that would probably be around £8000, with Parks’ collection worth about £750. (www.measuringworth.com). 

According to the 1945 balance sheet, Lowerhouse’s net share of receipts was £69 and those sandwiches, cakes and cups of tea bumped the 1945 tearoom profit up to £140. 

Burnley and Lowerhouse were also at peace.   Burnley wrote in their programme notes for the local derby the following June:

“Local rivalry, untinged by jealousy or animosity, provides a nice fillip to the game.  It is perhaps fitting to pay tribute to the affection our Clubs bear for each other, especially in Committee and League counsels.  Never was the relationship more happy or mutually understanding (Shades of the V.J. Day collaboration and organisation at Lowerhouse).”

“Who was Who ?

The Lowerhouse Team:

There were five professionals and six amateurs in the Lowerhouse team. Three of the pros had played at the very highest level just before the war and two were hard-working former League amateurs.  The amateurs included a cricketing footballer, and a Cambridge Blue who later played in a Wembley Cup Final.  (Detailed player stats are on  the  Lancashire League website)

The Professionals

Jim Smith, (1906-1979) Middlesex and East Lancs. accurately known as “Big Jim” at  6’41/2″ and 17 stone, played for  Middlesex from 1930 -39 and played 5 times for England 1934-37.  He stayed with East Lancs. until 1952, a period of huge success for the club, and later came back and settled in Mellor for the rest of his life.



Jim Parks, (1903-1980) Sussex and Accrington had been  a good all-rounder for more than ten years at Sussex pre-war.  In 1937  he made 3003 runs and took 101 wickets and won his one England test cap.  He stayed at Accrington for three more seasons. His son, also Jim Parks  was England’s first choice wicket keeper for some 10 years from 1954.




Leslie John Todd, (1907-1967) Kent and  Rawtenstall, played for Kent for some 20 years.  In 1937  he did the double, 1000 runs and 100 wickets. Whilst in the  RAF he was able to carry on playing in  exhibition games.  However, in 1942 he needed surgery for  an old eye injury, caused by a ball from Harold Larwood of bodyline fame, and he was discharged from the RAF on medical grounds in March 1945  so Rawtenstall must have moved quickly to get him. He was by far the highest scoring pro that season, averaging just under 50 in 18 innings, and also taking 42 wickets.  He went back to Kent, getting quite good scores for 1946 and 1947, his benefit season, but never regained his pre-war form, and that plus his age, the eye injury, poor health, and a reputation for being “difficult”  led to Kent releasing him in 1949. He retired in 1950.



Norman G. Spencer, (1908-1991) Lowerhouse, was previously an amateur with Colne.  In 1944 he returned the best bowling figures in the (amateur) Lancashire League. He had only modest success at Lowerhouse, but twice took 8 wickets in a game, once  memorably against Nelson when, after Nutter (Nelson’s pro.) had taken ten wickets, he took eight for 30 and Lowerhouse won by 8 runs. Lowerhouse wanted to re-sign him, but he went back to Colne as an amateur for the 1946 season then played professionally in the Bolton League and for Barnoldswick for a few years.  He played a last few times for Colne, as an amateur, in 1953.





Jim Brierley (1908-1988?) of Enfield had an amazing career. He made his league debut for Haslingden in 1924 aged 16, and having developed into a good all-rounder, in 1930 he went to play as a “Saturday afternoon professional” in the Saddleworth League . He was a pro in the Bradford League before he signed for Morecambe in 1934. He then went back to Haslingden as an amateur for 8 seasons until, along with several other Lancashire League amateurs, he was enticed away, probably to play in the Bradford League for seasons 1943/4. Then came the two post-war years as pro at Enfield. From then on he played non-stop professionally, the next 7 seasons were spent at Blackburn Northern, Heaton in the Bolton League and Great Harwood. In 1954 he must have felt like a change, as he signed for Drumpellier in Scotland. The local press reported that  he arrived there by train at 4.15 from Manchester and was in the nets by 5 pm. He came with a “high reputation  as a bowler, batsman and coach and a livewire” .Then he was off again, this time to Skipton, where he is described as “no youngster but bowls with the zest and energy of one” after bowling 24  hostile overs to defeat Clitheroe in 1955.   Then it was back to Great Harwood for two years . In 1958 (now 50 years old) he was at Read. In 1959, he was back at Harwood and still going strong scoring 51 in 36 minutes with 9 boundaries against Read.  Which is where the digital newspaper archive stops, although Jim may well not have done.

The Amateurs (again see the Lancashire League Website for their stats.)

Guy Shuttleworth, (b 1926), East Lancashire, was a Cambridge Blue in cricket and football. He played most of his East Lancs. cricket between 1944 and 1948. Post graduation he must have been based in London, where he played amateur football for Corinthian-Casuals who at the time played at the Kennington Oval.  He played  in the 1956  Amateur Cup Final against Bishop Auckland. From 1956 until he retired  he taught Maths at St. Peter’s School, York.





Bob Brocklebank,(1908 -1981) was appearing for the last time for Lowerhouse, as within a matter of days he became manager of Chesterfield FC at the start of a successful managerial career.  He played for Burnley FC from 1936-1944, and when available in the close season played for Burnley CC  from 1936-1942,  then for Lowerhouse from 1943-45.







Ellis Dickinson, Colne (Wicket-keeper) played first team cricket for Colne for more than 20 seasons from 1933 to 53 with a handful of games in 1954 and 1955.  According to a profile in the Barnoldswick and Earby Times on the occasion of his benefit season in 1953 “At all the Club grounds in the league Ellis Dickinson is known as a sportsman, a fearless stumper and one whose keenness prompts him to make an appeal for the slenderest chance”..  As a teenager he had trials with Yorkshire, and at his peak was considered the best stumper in the Lancashire League.

George Bridge was a loyal Lowerhouse club stalwart and features on our website as an Unsung Hero  playing first team cricket between 1928 and 1951, and later became groundsman, but  he did once apply for a transfer to Burnley for the 1935 season. Lowerhouse objected and he withdrew it. 

Robert Burns, (1903-99) played for Lowerhouse First XI from 1923 -1929, but came back to play most of 1944 and 45 seasons plus a few other games later.  His son Terry also played for Lowerhouse.

Marsden, only played first team cricket for Lowerhouse from 1939-1946, moving up from the seconds and little is known about him.  Perhaps he was the Victor Marsden, sheet metal worker,  living at Ormerod House  Lower Rosegrove Lane in the 1939 Register? Born in 1915 he would have been the right age. 

The Burnley XI

The four pros of the Burnley Eleven included two West Indians, a veteran who had once been one of the top batsmen in England, and a younger man who had been on the verge of international honours pre-war.  Their amateurs included several returning servicemen, one of whom would play for Burnley FC in a Wembley Cup Final, as an amateur.

The Professionals

Emmanuel Alfred (Manny) Martindale, Radcliffe  and West Indies was born in Barbados in 1909. Although less than 5ft 9ins he was a bowler of considerable pace. His Test career was limited by the fact that West Indies were an emerging Test nation with only a handful of fixtures.  Manny  was a Lancashire League pro for 8 seasons. He was at Burnley pre-War from 1936-38, and  joined the ‘House in 1947 and stayed for 4 years and completed his local cricket proing at Bacup in 1955, aged 46. Manny’s 2 sons Alfred and Colin were good amateurs and played over a decade of cricket, first at Lowerhouse, then at Burnley. He was just 62 when he died in Barbados in 1972. (This is an extract from  www.lowerhousecc.com/1949-a-trip-down-lowerhouse-lane)





Ellis Achong (16.2.1904 – 29.8.1986) (Burnley and West Indies) a former West Indian test spin bowler had been playing as a professional in the Bradford League. Achong was the first player
of Chinese descent to play a test for the West Indies. He was a left arm spin bowler, and reputedly the “Chinaman” ball is named for him. After touring England in 1933 with the West Indies, he settled in Manchester and played for various Central Lancashire League Clubs. He was due to play for Enfield in 1940 but all contracts were voided.. He left Burnley after the 1946 season. He returned to Trinidad in 1952, where he was a Test Umpire and coach.







George Pope  (27.1.11-29.10.93) (Derbyshire and Colne) was a well established  all-rounder for Debyshire pre-war, and had made the England team but not been selected to play.  Whilst County cricket had been suspended he had been a professional for Spen Victoria in the Bradford League.  Described as able to bowl both pace and spin, depending on the wicket conditions and .”His batting is of the type enjoyed by lancashire League”. His start with Colne was  delayed for a couple of games, as he broke his jaw, the Express of  18 April 1945 reported that “he was working at Chesterfield, where he is in business as a joiner, when a piece of wood struck him on the jaw.” He was selected to play for  the England Eleven  that summer in the unofficial “Victory Test” series  against an Australian Services Eleven..  Pope stayed  at Colne for another season then went back to play for Derbyshire before retiring  in 1950.  He stood as a a first class County Umpire from 1966 to 1974.




Charlie Hallows (1895-1972) Lancashire.  From Little Lever, Hallows played in the Lancashire Championship winning side of 1927/8 and was one of the top six English batsmen but only played twice for England.  In May 1928 he achieved a feat only equalled by W.G. Grace and Wally Hammond of scoring 1000 runs in May, scoring the 1000th on 31st May.  He had a benefit game soon after and the public  were generous.  After 1932 he played as a league professional all over the UK.  During the war years he was a regular in games like this one.  He was coach at Worcestershire in 1957, before going back to Lancashire in 1963 as Head coach where he fostered the talent of a young David Lloyd.  He became the county’s first  official talent scout in 1967 before retiring in 1969.





The Amateurs

T.D. Olver(1904-1959)  (Burnley)   It was a good day for Burnley CC when Thomas Dawkins Olver was appointed Assistant Draughtsman to the Burnley Corporation Gas Department in May 1937.  He came with an impressive cricketing  c.v., born in Middlesbrough in 1904, he had played for Durham,  captained Stockton in the North Yorks and S. Durham League, and was a prolific batsman.  He captained Burnley to an Express Cup victory in 1947, his last season at Burnley before he left to become Gas Engineer at Warrington. By the time he left he had scored 3434 League runs and was also Vice Chairman of the Committee.


Peter Kippax ( (1922-1987) Burnley) chose to play football and cricket  as an amateur and work in the family cotton manufacturing  business. Only a teenager when war broke out, he joined the RAF, and played just one full season for the Clarets, 1947/48. He played in the 1947 FA Cup final v Charlton when  his performance was considered  disappointing, but this turned out to be due to illness.  He also represented Great Britain at the 1948  London Olympics.  He played  cricket for Burnley CC from 1939 to 1960.  A full BFC profile is  on the Claretsmad website. .



John (Jack) Threlfall (Todmorden), (1900-1954),  was now in his third and last season as an amateur at Todmorden, he then played  for Walsden for a couple of more seasons, but he previously had a long career as a league pro.  After playing for Lancashire seconds in the 1920s, he played for Ribblesdale Wanderers and then for several seasons at  Bradshaw in the Bolton League  with occasional games in the Lancashire League as sub-pro.  He signed for Church in 1930 staying three seasons, the 1931 League Handbook describes him as a right arm fast bowler and a left hand bat.  He then played for Southport until 1938, when he moved away for work. In 1939 he played for Doncaster Town, then at some point obviously moved to the Todmorden area.    Originally from Huyton, he died at Prescot in 1954.





A.L. (Lenny) Moss (Todmorden) was an all-rounder who played just the two seasons as pro for Todmorden but is mostly associated with Walsden. Walsden’s website describe him as an “aggressive and consistent middle order batsman and highly effective medium pace swing bowler” and the club’s player of the 1950s, more information at www.walsdencandbc.co.uk . He also played wartime league football for Burnley FC.

Herbert McNulty  (1900-2012 ?)  (Burnley).  Herbert had played just a handful of games in the Burnley first team when war broke out and for the next couple of seasons he played occasionally when home on leave, but from 1944 played for several seasons.  In 1956/57 he played for Lowerhouse seconds with a few first team appearances and was also a member of the social committee until 1962. 

Jim Whittam (Burnley) Captain. was a true stalwart at Burnley CC. making his  first team debut in 1932 and playing  until 1953 when he took charge of the seconds.  He was first team captain for many years and  was also the club’s League Rep.

Syd Taylor (Burnley) stumper.  A Burnley 1946 match programme profiled Syd : “A staunch and reliable colleague he is a fighter to the last ball of the match.” “He is a droll humorist with a fund of cricket reminiscences and possesses the real team spirit.”  He came to Burnley in 1933 from Ribblesdale Wanderers as reserve keeper until 1937 when he became first team keeper. Assuming he did play, he was another serviceman home on leave.  He played for the first team until 1952.

Fred Brown (Burnley) (1925-2004  The League website shows him playing for Burnley mainly just in the war years and he would have been only 15 on debut in 1940.  His bowling figures include two 8 wicket hauls.  His nephew Peter Brown also played for Burnley. Fred went on to have a very distinguished career

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