Book Review: Lower Mead 1921 – 1991: The history of Wealdstone FC’s iconic former home by Roger Slater
Roger Slater is a long-time fan, former secretary and board member of Wealdstone FC. As a writer he has been involved with a number of books for the club including, The History of Wealdstone FC, Off The Bench – A Quarter of a Century of Non-League Management and Behind the Season, as well as providing material for the Wealdstone match day programme, and various websites. He was also co-author of, And sometimes the dog was busy! with Fergus Moore.
His excellent catalogue has been added to with his latest contribution to The Stones story, this time focusing on Lower Mead, the home of Wealdstone from 1921 to 1991. Its release in 2021 acknowledges what would have been 100 years for the club at the ground.
This A4 sized, glossy production, tells the story of the ground and its changes from hosting its first game in September 1922 against Berkhamsted Town to its last competitive fixture in April 1991, in a Southern League Premier Division fixture when Cambridge City were the visitors.
The focus of the book is on the development of the ground from the inaugural season in 1922/23, through to its sorry demise in 1990/91, with an interesting range of photographs, plans and newspaper clippings, adding to the informative text.
What is evident is that the ground was seen as something central to the community, as it developed down the years, adding a main hall, billiard room, committee rooms etc. as well becoming a focus for a range of events. And it was therefore interesting to read of the range of events that Lower Mead hosted including the local fete, dog shows, a pop concert, a weekly market and other sports such as lacrosse and rugby league.
With the club turning professional in the early 70s, it came under increasing financial pressure and combined with some financial mismanagement from the owners and subsequent legal problem, despite success on the field with the 1984/85 ‘double’ triumph of league title and FA Trophy win, within six years The Stones had to leave their iconic and spiritual home of Lower Mead.
This is a book aimed squarely at the Wealdstone faithful, but will also be of interest to those interested in football grounds and their history. It is though a sobering story of the maladministration that can occur. As football fans we should never take our home grounds for granted.
(Published by CAMS. March 2021. Paperback 56 pages)