Famous cricket pub to be hit for six after developers in Preston put in new plans to replace it with houses

One of Lancashire's most famous cricket pubs will finally be hit for six by a wrecking ball if new plans to replace it with houses get the thumbs up from council chiefs.

By Brian Ellis
Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 4:02 pm

The Cricketers Arms in Preston, once owned by an England player of the Victorian era, has been under threat of demolition for the past 12 years.

But the alehouse has remained standing in a derelict state - much to the annoyance of neighbouring residents in South Meadow Lane.

Now the pub's days really do look numbered after the owners, who were given the go-ahead to knock it down back in February 2010, submitted an amended application to update plans to replace it with a terrace of six houses.

Facing its final over - the Cricketers pub in South Meadow Lane.

Premier Sagar Ltd has resurrected the scheme first launched by its sister company Reality Concepts Ltd 12 years ago which will see The Cricketers flattened and the three-storey homes built in its place.

A report to the city's planning department says: "Given that over 12 years have elapsed since the application drawings were originally being prepared for consideration by the council, it is understandable that a number of changes to the design features of the facades of the building are necessary to bring the development up to date in order to modernise its appearance for the market in comparison to other schemes currently being brought forward.

"The public house on the site has not been open as commercial premises since a year or so before the original planning application was submitted.

"The deteriorating condition of the building over the past decade, with no intervening use for the building having been brought forward, has been the source of much local critique by adjacent residents - and the owners have been under some pressure to act on the planning permission, thereby demolishing the pub premises and building upon the terraced development upon the site.

Twelve years since a pint was pulled the Cricketers pub sign still greets passers-by.

"The owners are keen oblige the local residents with the redevelopment but, as stated, are keen to optimise the quality of their development - which should also assist in enhancing adjacent property values anyway."

The Cricketers closed its doors to drinkers in 2009 after 145 years of serving ale in the Broadgate area of Preston.

The pub is on the road leading to the West Cliff cricket ground, home of Preston CC since 1859.

Records show that in 1867 it was owned by Cornelius Coward, who played for Lancashire and England before becoming professional with his hometown club.

England star Cornelius Coward owned the Cricketers in 1867.

Cornelius's younger brother Frederick Coward was also a professional cricketer with Lancashire and then Preston, as well as Preston North End CC. He too was landlord of the Cricketers for a short time.

Cornelius played 49 first class matches for Lancashire as a middle order batsman and right arm medium bowler. He was also described as a talented fielder.

His career-best score with the bat was 85 at Old Trafford against Middlesex. And the archives show he was bowled by the great WG Grace for 15 in a match against the MCC in 1869.

He later went on to become an umpire and was in charge of the game in 1893 when Grace famously passed 38,500 runs. Cornelious was also umpiring when Nottinghamshire batsman William Oscroft stunned cricket lovers around the world by refusing to walk when given run out - standing his ground in protest for a full 30 minutes.

Up the road from the pub - Preston Cricket Club's West Cliff ground.

Preston-born Cornelius, who also became a teacher at Stonyhurst College in the Ribble Valley, died in July 1903 at the age of 65.