Lowerhouse CC: Remembrance display honours fallen club members

Lowerhouse Cricket Club captain Charlie Cottam with the Lancashire League trophy in 2014 - the club's fourth and most recent league win.
Lowerhouse Cricket Club captain Charlie Cottam with the Lancashire League trophy in 2014 - the club's fourth and most recent league win.
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In honour of Remembrance and as a tribute to the club's long and storied history, a local woman has created a Lowerhouse Cricket Club display in Burnley Library detailing amongst other things, the local players who died in the first world war.

In order to tell Lowerhouse CC's 156-year history and offer insight into how one of the country's most illustrious league clubs coped with world war one, Anne Cochrane erected the display telling the story of the club's founding in 1862, the start of the Lancashire League in 1892, and the impact of the war on local cricket.

The display at Burnley Library.

The display at Burnley Library.

Centring on the theme of 'On the Shoulders of Giants', the display is also a tribute to the men who died and the men who came back, without whom the club would not exist today and would not have won their inaugural Lancashire League title in 2005 some 113 years after first entering.

While there is scant information about the Lowerhouse CC players who went to war and sadly never returned, club AGM reports refer to some 80 players who were in uniform at the time with 40 names recorded. The club honoured their fallen colleagues by dedicating the last home game of the 2018 season to them, with players wearing specially-made armbands each baring the name of a WW1 soldier from the club.

One of those who unfortunately never made it back to Lancashire League cricket was William Whittaker, who died in France. William, a star player inducted into the club's Hall of Fame as both a batsman and a bowler, scored over 4,300 runs and took 333 wickets across 258 matches for Lowerhouse and was, at the time of his passing, the second-most prolific amateur batsman and bowler for the club.

With war declared in August 1914, some argued that the Lancashire League should be suspended. Competition continued however, leading many to suggest that playing cricket would discourage men from enlisting.

In reply, the Burnley Express sports reporter at the time wrote: "The fact does remain, for all that, that working people must have somewhere to go on Saturday afternoons and, especially when the weather is fine and warm, a quiet sit in the open air with a pipe and a bit of cricket to interest is a rare tonic."

By 1917, Lancashire League cricket was finally suspended, leaving Burnley CC, Lowerhouse CC, Nelson CC, and Colne CC to form their own fixtures in a district combination competition, with a combined Burnley and Lowerhouse team facing off against Nelson and Colne. The war had finally caught up with cricket in East Lancashire, although the real toll is told by those who never came home.