About Northern

The Club was formed in 1913, originally named Blackburn St. James' (affiliated to St. James' Church on Shear Brow.) After competing in the North East Lancashire League, the Club joined the Ribblesdale Junior League in 1922. In the period between the two World Wars a team from the Club also played in the Chorley and District League. The cricket ground was located at Longshaw, better known perhaps as Blackburn Railway Clerks' Ground and now the site of Longshaw Primary School.

In the early 1920’s our benefactor, the late Joseph Bassnett, an ardent cricket supporter, bought a field at Pleckgate. In the late summer of 1923 a summer fayre was held to commemorate the official opening in the presence of local dignitaries. Soon after, the area in the centre of the field was excavated and drained. The new pitch was laid and cricket commenced in 1924.

A tennis section was formed in 1926. A single shale court was built in the area currently occupied by the mini tennis court. A traditional wooden tennis pavilion was erected which became a groundsman's workshop after new changing rooms were built in the late 70’s. It survived until 2011 when it was demolished to make way for a patio area.

Joseph Bassnett was the first of only five presidents the club has had in its long history. Joseph was succeeded by his widow Margaret who was later followed by Bill Eatough.  After Bill came the legendary Arthur Shaw who held the office for over 15 years. Arthur’s record of service to the club goes back an incredible 70 years. Sadly Arthur passed away in March 2013. In April Nick Marsden was appointed as the fifth president of the Club.  A member since the early 1960’s, Nick has played in the 1st teams at cricket, tennis and squash and has served on various committees since his youth. He has held the posts of Tennis Chairman, Club Vice Chairman and was Chairman for 11 years until he stood down in 2012.

Facilities at the Club have gradually been improved over the years. In the late 1960’s a new clubhouse of modest proportions (an old prefabricated doctors surgery) was erected. This has been extensively remodelled and extended over the years and now houses the members’ lounge and function room. Two new tennis courts were added during the 1970’s followed in 1978 by the opening of two new squash courts together with new cricket and tennis changing rooms. This project created a new squash section at the club, which is still thriving.

In 1995, Blackburn Northern added hockey to the range of sports offered.  This was following lengthy discussions with Blackburn Hockey Club. A hockey section was formed with ambitious plans to build a synthetic grass pitch close to main clubhouse.

In 2004/5, the Club embarked on a major redevelopment costing in excess of £600.000.00.  This was made possible following a successful sports lottery bid together with funds raised by the efforts of members plus a legacy from former trustee, the late Frank Lassey and a loan from Thwaites Brewery.  The members’ lounge and function rooms were closed for nine months during construction. The building was gutted, extended and given a complete refit. A new indoor tennis facility was erected housing two courts. The ‘tennis dome’, as it is known, was built on land kindly donated by the local authority. At the same time two of the existing outdoor courts were resurfaced with artificial grass.

In 2007, after years of planning, the hockey section finally succeeded in obtaining a grant which enabled the Club build a new all weather hockey pitch on the adjoining Pleckgate School playing fields.

Sadly, in 2009, the cricket section folded, having lost the majority of its key players.

A century and more of hard work has resulted in a superb sports complex which is much admired and very much to the credit of Joseph Bassnett, Arthur Shaw and a willing stream of volunteers, far too numerous to mention.