Building of the Month November 2022: Huyton Cricket and Bowling Club Pavilion, Huyton Lane, Knowsley, Liverpool L36 7XD
Only a handful of cricket pavilions built before 1914 survive. This one at Huyton dates from 1875 and is considered rare for this reason as well as its possibly unique double aspect design: symmetrical long elevations with verandas line each side of the building, one looking onto the cricket pitch, the other onto the bowls ground. Clearly, this is a special building and this was recognised when it was listed Grade II in 2020. It is described in the listing entry as "a very rare example nationally of an early pavilion erected by a local cricket club, rather than being associated with a county club ground, educational establishment or public park". So it is also a remarkable monument to grassroots sport.
Built in 1875 and extended before 1891 in what is described as a "Vernacular Revival" style, Huyton Cricket and Bowling Club Pavilion has provided accommodation for generations of local participants and spectators. The Club was one of the eleven founding members of the premier league Liverpool Competition in 1892. The design of the building gave equal emphasis however to the bowls players, bowls being an activity normally accommodated only as a subsidiary use for retired cricketers.
The land made available for the building of the pavilion was owned by the Stanley family, the Earls of Derby. In 1935, it was sold to a local man, Thomas Strong and remains in the ownership of that family. Last used in 2012, the building is now in quite an overgrown state.
Following an application by Aldi to demolish the pavilion and build a huge store and 24 houses over the pitch, a local campaign succeeded in getting the pavilion listed and the plans were shelved. Despite this, the pitch area makes this a highly vulnerable site to redevelopment.