Jenner Park celebrates 100 years not out
6:02pm Wednesday 4th September 2013 in News
BARRY Town’s Jenner Park stadium is set to celebrate its 100th birthday this weekend after it was first opened for competitive football on September 6, 1913.
Barry Town United will commemorate the occasion during their Welsh League Cup fixture against AFC Llwydcoed on Saturday, September 7.
Jenner Park first opened its gates for competitive football with a Southern League encounter between Barry AFC and Mid-Rhondda United.
Highlights at the ground since have included Barry Town beating Porto 3-1 in 2001, the Italian football team training there in 2002 and hosting Cardiff City in 2013 ahead of their debut in the Premier League.
Barry Town AFC historian Jeff McInery has looked into the history of the ground as he recounts how “a huge shoal of volunteer labourers” helped build the stadium.
Originally, a Lombard Street location was considered for the club. However, after successful talks between Barry AFC, Club President Cllr C.B. Griffiths and Lady Jenner of Wenvoe Castle, work began on what is now Jenner Park.
The land belonged to Mrs Jenner, after whom the ground was named, of Wenvoe Castle. She was a prominent member of the Earl of Plymouth's family, the Earl having extensive lands in south Wales.
The first half of 1913 saw a mighty effort by the people of Barry to ready the ground for the coming season.
The expense was great, but a fundraising campaign, kick-started by a healthy donation from Lady Jenner herself, was a significant boost in ensuring the ground remained on target for its September opening.
In March 1913, Cllr. Griffiths stated: "We seem to have attracted the interest of the townspeople and shall endeavour always to give them full value for money". The former proved to be an understatement, as local firms and tradesmen gave many hours of free labour to help build the ground from scratch.
With the season on the horizon, Jenner Park was taking shape; the ground being levelled, gates put in place on both Barry and Gladstone Road and a layer of ash placed under the excellent new playing surface for superior drainage.
Rival breweries Hancock’s and SA Brain provided donations for the construction of bath and changing facilities and the ground’s first grandstand respectively, while supporters contributed to buy goalposts, nets and other matchday equipment.
Local masons built the retaining walls, while local carpenters placed the timbers and erected the dressing rooms – each without asking a penny for their services.
A small army of painters also gave their time for no recompense, to add the finishing touches.
A remarkable spirit had engulfed the town in its new footballing venture: a ground fit for football had been built by the people of Barry, for the people of Barry.
Jeff added: “A remarkable spirit had engulfed the town in its new footballing venture: a ground fit for football had been built by the people of Barry for the people of Barry and in a roundabout way, with the club again being run by supporters, a 100 year circle or cycle has been closed. The rest, as is said, is history.
“Happy Birthday Jenner Park, 100 not out and still going strong.”