Like so many Non League grounds, Badger’s Hill, home to Frome Town FC since their inception in 1904, is more interesting when one is aware of its history.
The first competitive game at the ground saw Frome beat Wootton Bassett 4-1 in a Wiltshire League fixture in front of a 400 strong crowd. In those days however, there were no facilities in place at all, just a roughly enclosed playing area. As was common at the time, the players changed in a local pub although according to Kerry Miller, Frome made their entrance in some style: quite often being led up to the ground by a marching band!
Until fairly recently the oldest structure currently standing at Badger’s Hill was the wooden partially seated stand on the near touchline, believed to date back to the early 1930s (see picture). In recent years however this was replaced by a new steel structure although fortunately the club managed to retain the original seated area. Sadly though, at the beginning of the 2003/04 season this was damaged by vandals and new seating was installed. The stand, being part seated and part standing nevertheless remains superficially like its predecessor, although obviously lacks the character of the original.
A covered terrace used to stand at an angle on the opposite touchline (pictured) but again, has since disappeared. This dated from 1954 and was in fact a memorial to Frome’s great cup run of 1953/54 when they reached the 1st Round proper and hosted Leyton Orient. In order the stage the tie, tons of rubble and clay were deposited in order to form banking around the ground. The terrace was also constructed, along with additional terracing next to the stand. Town may have lost 3-0 but a remarkable 8,500 spectators were there to witness it.
At the top end of the ground is a large clubhouse dating from the mid 1970s now, apart from the slightly older dressing rooms adjacent to the stand, the oldest structure on the site. This is reached by an approach road that extends around three sides of the ground, culminating in a raised section that gives a great view of the pitch from that end of the ground. The road is unusual and certainly preferable to the dog track that was once planned for the pitch perimeter, and does offer the advantage of being able to watch the game from the comfort of one’s car when the weather is bad … or for taking photographs in torrential rain as I did when I visited the ground!
To conclude there is an interesting story from the more recent history of the Robins. After a poor start to the 2003/04 campaign, and the club struggling to win at home, Frome turned to the help of a local "White Witch", Titania Hardie. This move brought huge media interest from all around the World, especially when Hardie gave the décor of the changing room as the reason for the poor form. The club immediately redecorated and, having not won at home in the league all season Frome went on a magnificent run that saw them win eight of their following nine games to finish into the top five of the Western League for the first time in many years!
From Shepton Mallet travel through centre of town. Go up hill out of centre, filter right at brow of hill, straight over traffic lights. Ground situated on right. From Bath A36,A361 at third roundabout follow A361 and at fourth roundabout take A3098. First right signposted to Frome. Ground is one mile on left.
One mile from Frome (BR).