Note A visit to Parkside is a ‘must’ for any self-respecting Non League grounds enthusiast. The ground eschews the bland homogeneity that has overtaken so many traditional venues in the name of progress and, as Kerry Miller so aptly states, appears to be “trapped in a time warp”. To a die-hard reactionary such as myself, this is no bad thing.
Known as Netherfield FC from its inception in 1919 until 1998 when the name was changed to Netherfield Kendal, and subsequently Kendal Town FC the following year; the club has called Parkside Road home since day one.
The town has a history of shoe-making and the club was formed by workers of Somerfield Brothers (later K Shoes). The company formed a Sports Association into which members paid a penny a week; and from these funds the ground was slowly developed. The princely sum of £3 10s enabled the fledgling club to purchase a set of goalposts from another local club, Kendal Amateurs, and to begin playing on a swampy field in Parkside Road, that was also home to ducks and hens.
Dressing rooms were opened in 1928 and were followed in 1930 by the wooden main stand, with its numbered benches. The stand was extended in 1955 but is still doing sterling service on the far touchline. Additional covers – ‘Scratching Sheds’ – were subsequently erected opposite one another and the near end of the ground and again, are still in use today.
After WW2 extensive terracing was laid down behind the near goal and left hand side of the ground which significantly increased its capacity, with the visit of Grimsby Town for an FA Cup tie in November 1955 attracting a crowd of 5,184. For the game a simple scaffold pole cover was erected over the terracing along the near touchline. This managed to survive until 1990 when it was badly damaged in a storm. It was replaced but has since been removed.
In 1956 the rather austere ‘Park’ clubhouse was built at the near end, with additional seating in front and to the side. Like most of the rest of the ground, with the notable exception of the main stand, it could never be described as attractive but, with some of its letters missing, it does add to the faded nostalgia that permeates the venue. The grass bank along the near touchline offers a further vantage point (see first picture bwlow), and only the far end of the ground is undeveloped.
Floodlights were the last significant addition to the ground, and were erected in 1965 enabling Netherfield to take their place as founder members of the Northern Premier League. DB