Ground Development Blog #1: Work begins
A cricket pavilion is the main building within which the players usually change in dressing rooms and which is the main location for watching a cricket match for members and others. Well, that’s one definition.
If you only watched cricket at Derby during the two decades up until 1982, you’d be forgiven for disagreeing with that statement.
After the main square was re-located in 1955 to its present location, it was always the stated intention of successive committees to build a new pavilion for players and officials.
Unfortunately, largely because of the lack of finance, players were destined to be housed in the Jockeys’ Quarters in The Paddock until 1982, in conditions quite unsuitable for professional sport and in stark contrast to the often lavish pavilions at other counties.
The 1970s was a decade of remarkable growth for the county game; three one-day competitions were well supported with sell-outs for both Lord’s finals and all the world’s great players flocked to the only place they could earn money from playing cricket between April and September.
England Test cricketers played for their counties whenever they weren’t playing for their country and with Sunday shopping still some years away – and pubs having to close for several hours every afternoon – a county cricket ground held a number of attractions.
The idea of a new pavilion which would house the players and – even more importantly – the Members and corporate guests, was raised at the Annual General Meeting in 1979 and confirmed a year later, before funding was put in place to ensure the pavilion could open at the start of the 1982 season.
Players and umpires were accommodated, as now, on the ground floor, as well as the scorers.
The Executive Club, known then as the 200 Club, were housed on the first floor in what is now the Bob Taylor Suite. There was nowhere, at this stage, for members.
The Mayor of Derby, Flo Tunnicliffe, laid the foundation stone for what was originally known as The Cavendish Pavilion until the committee of the day decided to rename it following a loan from Harry Lund to help fund an extension.
The original building was less than half the size it is now, with the extension being completed during the following winter in readiness for the 1983 season.
The extension meant that a Members’ room could be created on the ground floor, and the larger room on the upper floor (now the Gladwin and Jackson Suite) was sub-divided into corporate boxes.
These were well-used, even during Championship matches, but a drop off in corporate custom during the 1990s meant that the boxes were scarcely used at all by the early part of the new century.
In 2005, the committee agreed that Members should have better facilities and approved the move upstairs, whilst Executive Members and some corporate guests have continued to use the smaller, Bob Taylor Suite.
Over the past ten years there has been universal agreement that the upper floor would offer much more viable commercial opportunities if one single room could be created to accommodate in excess of 250 people.
Phase one of the ground development project will do that.
Over the next six months, significant improvements will take place in the pavilion including the construction of a new atrium entrance area housing the club reception, the installation of a lift, new toilets and the creation of an air-conditioned single upper floor room capable of seating 300 people.
The first floor room will include a room divider which will be used on matchdays to allow for a Members’ room as well as a new Executive Suite. Additionally, the existing balcony will be extended to double its present size.
Having provided a home for the players over the last 32 years, the ground floor of the pavilion will also be the subject of further development, although not during this phase.
However, the players, umpires and cricket staff will be making a move.
The Gateway Centre was built in 2003/4 on the site of the former Grandstand Hotel and provides excellent cricketing facilities.
The original intention ten years ago was for the players to be located in the Gateway Centre, but the final specification didn’t really allow for it.
However, with greater demands being made in respect of facilities, and with the increase in numbers of players and coaching staff throughout the professional game, putting the cricket staff into that building – including the umpires – is logical.
It will ensure that players have access to the majority of their facilities under one roof; gym, changing rooms, indoor nets, coaches, analyst etc.
So, 33 years after Barry Wood led his Derbyshire team out of the Cavendish Pavilion, Wayne Madsen will take his side onto the field via a newly-designed bridge from the middle tier of the Gateway onto the Grandstand Terrace.
It’s all interesting stuff and we’ll be providing updates – and a few photographs – over the coming weeks and months as the project progresses.
*With thanks to David Griffin for the historical information featured in this article.
For further information on becoming a Member or Executive Member of Derbyshire County Cricket Club for the 2015 season, CLICK HERE or call 0871 350 1870.