Cricket Ground / Three Hills Sports Park

As mentioned in the 1900-1930 section of this website, the cricket club moved from the current football ground site to the next door current cricket ground site in 1925.

The pavilion, built at a cost of £1000  (over £60000 modern equivalent), the cash being advanced by Lord Radnor, was designed by architect Reginald Pope who acted in an honorary capacity. The seating was, and still is, steeply terraced and commands an uninterrupted view beyond the play to the North Downs.

The pictures below show the pavilion and terraces being built in 1925, and the scoreboard in 1926.

Picture credit: Shepway District Council / KentPhotoArchive

Picture credit: Shepway District Council / KentPhotoArchive

Picture credit: Shepway District Council / KentPhotoArchive

Upkeep of the new pitch appeared paramount. Information from Paul Skelton via Bob Hollingsbee collection  indicated the following (including the grainy newspaper cutting photo): "Paul Greenstreet, of Hawkinge, thought readers might be interested to read of great annual cricket festivals held at the Cheriton Road sports ground in bygone years. “My grandfather, Eustace Pickard, a broad Yorkshireman, was head groundsman for Folkestone Corporation in the late 20s, through the 30s, up to, and just after the Second World war,” Paul told me. He lived in a pretty tied cottage, within the confines of the sports ground, which became the home of Paul’s mother, now in her early 90s. Eustace was not only responsible for the upkeep of the pitches and surrounds but for raising all the bedding plants for the parks and the town’s floral displays."

The "pretty tied cottage" mentioned above is likely to be the Lodge, as shown in 1926:-

Picture credit: Shepway District Council / KentPhotoArchive

The location of this Lodge appears to be in the current back garden of number 13 Cornwallis Avenue & Morrison's car park! See the location of the Lodge on the right hand side of the 1946 aerial view, & compare to a similar view from 2021 (the line of the wall on the east side of the cricket ground at the top of the picture is a good reference line):-

Picture credit: Britain From Above (Historic England)

{Picture credit: Google Maps

In 1926 Kent met the M.C.C. and this was the earliest first-class fixture in which the county team appeared, followed in 1928 when Kent played Worcester in the first game of the cricket week. Although played only intermittently since 1928 the Folkestone cricket week became an annual event since 1961.

Very little appeared to change since the original buildings being built in the late 1920s. The photo above from 1946 shows the eastern terrace roof with damage. Highly likely that this from an explosive bomb that hit the cricket ground during the second world war. Similar damage occurred to the football ground and the Harvey Grammar school. See the applicable pages of this website for details.

The photo below is probably form the 1950s or 1960's, and shows very little change from the 1920's:-

Picture credit: The Cricketer International

Like other sports facilities in the Cheriton Road complex, the cricket ground had other uses.

As a child I remember taking part in primary school sports days there. 

The Cheriton cricket ground was one of the main venues for the Folkestone Folklore Festive which ran every other year from 1961 till well into the 1980s. Below is an oil painting of one such event in and a typical newspaper cutting, both from 1961.

Picture credit: Patricia Rivers

Picture credit: Patricia Rivers

Further to the alternative uses, here is the programme for the Silver Jubilee 1977 Junior Championship held by the Hockey Association on the Cheriton Road cricket pitch. It also has a photo in it that shows the layout of the pitches  It is highly likely that the pitches photo is from the 1960s or even earlier, as the Martin Walter factory roof can be seen in the bottom left of the photograph. Also there appears to be nothing in the distance, where the Park Farm part of Folkestone is now located, and much of that area was built in the 1970s. However, it's still a fantastic photo, showing lots of detail of the Cheriton Road sports complex.

Picture credit: Folkestonehistory Kent

Kent Cricket Club continued to play an annual match at Folkestone until 1991. The last first-class game hosted there was when Kent beat Cambridge University in July 1995.

About this time the roofing on the terraces either side of the pavilion were removed as a safety measure.

The venue was home to a number of sports clubs (Folkestone cricket Club, Folkestone Optimists Hockey Club) and in 2007, the facilities were in a very poor condition and not fit for purpose.

Three Hills Sports Park opened in Cheriton Road, Folkestone, after a £6.8 million investment by Roger De Haan Charitable Trust.

Roger encouraged clubs to develop ambitious plans to expand the range of amenities at the site and funded the design and build of a magnificent new building. Guy Hollaway is the architect responsible for the building. Guy is from Herne Bay, and started his carrerer in Hythe at Cheney and Thorpe architects. Other local Folkestone work by his company Guy Hollaway Architects include Urban Skate Park, Rocksalt restaurant and The Smokehouse, Fountain Square, The Workshop offices in Tontine Street, Folkestone Primary Academy, etc. 

Folkestone and Hythe District Council has provided a long lease, which safeguards provision of the new facilities for 125 years, while a new independent trust has been established to manage and maintain the pitches and buildings to the highest standard

During construction the site was visited by archaeologists due to past Stone Age findings. This meant it was necessary for extra care to be taken when undertaking groundworks.

The project involved a range of synthetic sports surfaces to cover a variety of sports. These were provided by McArdle Sport Tec 

Picture credit: McArdle Sport Tec

In 2019 planning was approved for an athletics track at the bottom of the site, effectively on what remained of the Polo Ground. This is covered in the Polo Ground part of the website.

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