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Angel Ground

 

Angel Ground

Angel Ground
Location Tonbridge, Kent, England
Coordinates

51°11′35″N 0°16′26″E / 51.193°N 0.274°E / 51.193; 0.274

Opened 1868
Closed 1980
Demolished 1980
Surface Grass
Record attendance 8,236 (Tonbridge Angels F.C. vs Aldershot F.C., 1951–52)
Tenants
Kent County Cricket Club (1869–1939)
Tonbridge Angels F.C. (1948–1980)

The Angel Ground was a cricket and later association football venue in Tonbridge, Kent. It was used by Kent County Cricket Club and Tonbridge Angels F.C., before being redeveloped by Tonbridge and Malling District Council in 1980.

Cricket venue

The Angel Ground, named after a nearby hotel,[1] was first used as a venue for first-class cricket in 1869, when Kent was defeated by Nottinghamshire by an innings over three days.[2] The ground became more widely used by the county during the 1880s, with Sussex the most regular visitors.[3]

In 1897, the ground became the base for the "Tonbridge Nursery", a training centre for Kent's younger players.[4] The nursery became renowned for producing top-class cricketers; including Colin Blythe, James Seymour and Frank Woolley, amongst others.[5] The nursery closed in 1927.[4] Despite this, first-class cricket continued to be played on the ground until 1939, when Kent's drawn match with Glamorgan became the last to be played on the ground.[3][6]

Football venue

Following their formation and election to the Southern Football League, Tonbridge Angels F.C. leased the ground from the local council and adopted it as their home ground. Their first match, against Hastings United, drew a crowd of 5,000, with Hastings running out 2–1 winners.[1]

The ground saw its record attendance for Tonbridge's FA Cup tie in 1951–52 against Aldershot F.C., when 8,236 attended. Another FA Cup tie, against Charlton Athletic F.C. in 1972–73, saw 7,770 attend.[1]

However, by 1977 the local council (the landlords) required the ground for redevelopment. A three-year legal battle was fought, eventually reaching the High Court, before the council offered Tonbridge Angels a new ground, the Longmead Stadium.[1] The ground was demolished in 1980, with the Angel Shopping Centre, amongst other structures, built over it.[4][7]

References

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