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Historic cricket pavilion set to be dismantled and moved

The historic pavilion at the original home of Worcestershire County Cricket Club is preparing to move to its new home.

As part of work to bring the Cinderella sports ground back into use, the dismantling of the ornate 19th Century pavilion has now begun. 

It will be moved to Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings near Bromsgrove, the first open air museum in England, where it is planned that it will be restored and rebuilt to delight cricket and history fans alike.

Andrew Round, Worcester City Council’s Director of Place, said: “I am delighted that we’ve found a way of preserving this important building, which played a significant part in establishing Worcestershire’s proud history of cricketing excellence.”

Nick Sturgess, Head of Collections and Interpretation at Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings in Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove said: “Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings is dedicated to retaining, rescuing and reconstructing buildings that have played an important role in Midlands history. The Cinderella pavilion will be a significant addition to more than 30 buildings that have already been rescued at our open air museum.

“Our team, with the support of the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Architecture and Built Environment, will carefully label the dismantled parts from the pavilion and re-use as many of them as possible in rebuilding this historic building. We will be launching a campaign to raise funds for the rebuilding and hope many cricket fans and other Worcester people will want to support us. To do so, please call us on 01527 831363.”

Cinderella Sports Ground holds a special place in Worcester’s history. As the original home of Worcestershire County Cricket Club, it saw play by the legendary W.G. Grace – then aged 20 – in 1870 and hosted the first Australian touring side in 1878.

The Bransford Road site later became the works ground for the city’s Cinderella shoe factory, before being taken over by Kays Catalogues. Once renowned for the quality of its cricket pitch, it had stood empty and unmaintained since the company closed in 2007.

The site is now owned by the developer Arndale and the City Council have exercised an option to take on a 25-year lease. The Council is jointly refurbishing the sports ground with Heart of Worcestershire (HoW) College who will be taking on responsibility for the site under a sub-lease. 

Nicki Williams, HoW College Deputy CEO and Vice Principal, said: “The revived and restored Cinderella Sports Ground will become an important new sports facility for our students and will also be available to local sports clubs.” 

Funding from the City Council, HOW College, Sport England, the England and Wales Cricket Board, a private donor and from financial contributions made by developers under agreements attached to planning permissions are helping to revive the site.

A new cricket square has being created and the first match will be played there on 18 May, when Rushwick third team will face Barnards Green third team. The restored ground also boasts a full-size football pitch, plus junior pitches and a new multi-use pavilion with changing rooms, taking the place of the historic building. College students will be undertaking the fit-out of the replacement pavilion as part of their studies in the summer term.

The old Cinderella pavilion in 2006

The old Cinderella pavilion in 2006

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