Housed the football club: 1880 – 1904
Before Hednesford Town it seems that there was already a fair amount of organised played in the area. We know the names of a number of clubs, Hednesford Rovers, Hednesford Brittania, Hednesford Unity, Hednesford Strollers and Hednesford Swifts, though one source of confusion is that in those days the same team may have been known by at least two different nicknames.
It was the amalgamation of two of these teams, the Red and Whites who played on West Hill and the Hill Top team (also known as Hednesford Hills) who played in Reservoir Road that began the journey of the team who we still support to this day. The newly created team made their HQ at the Anglesey Hotel, which led to them being known in some circles as Hednesford Anglesey.
The Anglesey Hotel was originally built in 1831 by Edmund Peel of Fazeley, near Tamworth as Hednesford Lodge. It was originally used as stabling facilities for his many racehorses and doubled as his summer residence.
Around this time Hednesford was ‘the most noted place for training available to persons in the Midland Counties’. By 1851 eleven distinguished trainers and jockeys were training some 120 horses during a season. The Grand National Trophy has been won four times from the stables at Hednesford.
The house was unoccupied in 1851 and became a hotel sometime between 1860 and 1868.
The newly formed Hednesford Town played at the back of the hotel in a ground popularly known as “The Tins” due to the metal sheeting around it. Little is known of the first games played here, but these seem mainly to have been ‘friendlies’ against other local teams. It is recorded that a 6-a-side tournament was held at the Anglesey ground in April 1882 for clubs in the district. Also on record is that a ‘Benefit Match For Hednesford Town’ was played at ‘The Tins’ in March 1887, when Aston Villa, a year before they went on to become one of the founder members of the Football League, were the visitors. While information on the layout of the ground is scarce, we do know about a Mr J. Stacey presenting the goalposts for this pitch, together with the tape that was stretched across the posts to serve as a crossbar (as part of the FA ruling of 1865).
The Tins would be Hednesford Town’s home for 24 years before the club made the move down the road to the Cross Keys Hotel in 1904.
What remains today?
The Anglesey is now known as Anglesey Lodge and is the headquarters of Pritchard Holdings PLC.
The land behind which once held the pitch of The Tins is now home to a mixture of houses and assorted buildings, including the town’s Salvation Army headquarters.