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Barley Bank
Barley Bank was the home of the "Salmoners" (Darwen Football Club) for some 25 years, the club moved to the ground in 1874 from Lynwood Darwen, the large ground was used for both Cricket and Football.
The club used the nearby Alexandra Hotel for changing facilities and club meetings in the early years.
It was at Barley Bank that the Salmoners enjoyed their great days with wins over Aston Villa 5-4, Everton 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 7-0, Newcastle United 5-0, Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 and Blackburn Rovers 4-0 to name a few.

In 1891 Darwen Football club gained election to the Football League and new changing facilities were erected on the "Clough end" on what is now the Northern side of Hindle Street, also a stand was erected on the "Town-end" to accomodate some 1000 paying spectators, it was known throughout the town as the "Barrel Stand" because of the shape of the roof. The stand was moved to the "Clough end in 1893.
The main entrance to the ground was situated at the corner of what is now Hindle Street / Barley Bank Street, with another entrance at the top of Bright Street, in the years up-to 1894 tickets were sold for the games at various venues around the town but in 1894 turnstiles were introduced to the ground for pay-on the day spectators.
On the 20th March 1880 in the final of the new Lancashire cup, played at Barley Bank, Darwen played Local rivals Blackburn Rovers, -- some 9,000 spectators turned up, One hour before the kick-off the large crowds were gathering outside the ground, and it was necessary to have six match selling ticket positions to cope with the throng. Twelve lorries were commandeered as temporary seated stands on the North side of the ground, and these were soon filled to overflowing. Even team photographs were taken and in the two teams two future England internationals were on show Tom Marshall of Darwen and the Blackburn Rovers captain John Hargreaves. Darwen won the final 3-0 to lift the cup for the only time in their history!
The highest attendance for a match at Barley Bank was 12,500 for a friendly against local rivals Blackburn Rovers in 1885 over 8,000 more than had watched the Rovers win the FA Cup for the first time at the Kennington Oval, London in March of that year -- and it was at the time the highest attendance recorded for a football game, the Rovers were victors 1-2.
It was on the Barley Bank that one of the first ever football matches lit up by floodlights was played. on the 28th October 1878 Darwen played a select team from Blackburn made up of players from Blackburn Rovers, Blackburn Olympic and Blackburn Park road. The game kicked off at approx 7-30pm and the light was provided by two steam driven Magneto-electric engines -- borrowed from the nearby Orchard mill -- which gave out 36,000 candle power, the local paper reported it as a "brilliant success" but it proved to be too expensive! the game was won by Darwen 3-0.
Darwen like many of the clubs during this period introduced a Matchday programme, and some have survived to this day and are now extremely valuable collectors items, programmes from games such as Darwen's defeat by West Brom 12-0 ( the biggest win ever in the top flight of English football ) and the last league match ever played at the Barley Bank against Newton Heath in 1899 ( they were playing one of their last games before changeing their name to Manchester United ) would fetch a great sum and some have been auctioned at such institutes as Sotherbys of London.
By 1888 the Cricket side had left the Barley Bank and set up home back near Lynwood, leaving the Football club to pay the increased rent for the ground.
Sadly due to falling attendances and dismal results toward the end of the 1890's the club was in a financial crisis, struggling to survive and the decision to move to another ground was made at the end of the 1898/99 season when the Landlord a Rev Duckworth the Lord of the Manor decided not to renew the clubs lease.
Darwen Football Club's last ever competitive game at Barley Bank was the Football league game ,--on the 22nd April 1899, when they entertained Newton Heath the game ended in a 1-1 draw! -- some 1,300 had turned out to watch the Salmoners "swansong"( Newton Heath were playing one of their last games under that name and changed shortly after to Manchester United now ironically the "worlds biggest club" )
The Darwen team that day was : McIvor ( goal ) Woolfall and Cawthorne ( backs ) Moore, Livesey and Radcliffe ( half-backs ) Wilson, Bleasdale, Pilkington, Eccles and Collinson ( forwards ) Jack Whitley the club captain was sold a day earlier for 50 to Aston Villa which helped pay off the players wages!
On the 17th of May 1899 the Salmoners played their last-ever game at the Barley Bank in a friendly against Burnley, this brought an end to a marvellous chapter in the clubs history.
Although Darwen FC moved to the Anchor in the summer of 1899 they were still using the Barley Bank ground with the permission of the landlord for trials as late as 1904, but shortly after that the builders moved in, and built on the land now is the bottom half of Barley Bank street and Brighton terrace, and the extention to Hindle street these were built on the old cricket pitch end, but the football pitch was never built on due to the persistance of a large group of townsfolk who campaigned for some 30 years for the return to the Barley Bank of Darwen Football Club.
But sadly by the late 1920's the group by then only a small number finally gave in to the inevitable, and by early 1929 building work started on a new girls school called Avondale which was opened in 1930.
The "old Barrel stand" was dismantled and moved to the new ground at the Anchor at a cost of 100 kindly loaned to the club by the owner of the Anchor farm a Mr R. Smith without who's help at the time the club would surely have folded. The Stand stood on the west side of the ground at the Anchor for some 22 years, when it was demolished to make way for a new stand, also the remaing part of the grounds boundary wall at the top of Bright Street was demolished in the 1970's as part of a regeneration of the area and with it's passing went Darwen's last link with the Barley Bank ground!

Acknowledgements for the history and images in this section to: Darwen RBL -- who originally published this page in 2002 History source : Blackburn with Darwen Library