Ground Opened: 1910
Ground Closed: 2007
Number of years at ground: 97
First Competitive League Game Played:
Shrewsbury Town Reserves 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers Reserves 2
Birmingham & District League, 10th September 1910
Last Competitive League Game Played:
Shrewsbury Town 0 MK Dons 0
League 2 Play Off 1st Leg, 15th May 2007, Attendance 7,126
18,917 v Walsall, Division 3, 26th April 1961 (Score 1-2)
Floodlights first used:
Shrewsbury Town 1 v Queens Park Rangers 1
Division 3, 21st November 1959
Club moved to: New Meadow Stadium (now called Montgomery Waters Meadow)
Distance from Gay Meadow to New Meadow Stadium: 2 miles
The Main Stand at Gay Meadow was on the East Side of the ground that beyond, lay a railway line. Originally it consisted of a central stand, which was built in 1922 with terrace to either side. Before the Second World War, it was extended with an additional wing towards the Station End and in 1966, it was extended towards the Wakeman End with a roof being erected over the then open terrace. In the early 1980's this was made all-seated.
The Main Stand On Matchday
As can be seen from the photo above the extension towards the Wakeman End (at the far end in the photo) gave the stand an imbalanced look. The roof area of the older part of the stand also didn't extend fully over the front rows. In reality, it could have been referred to as the Main Stands. In the upper portion of the central area, the letters 'S T F C' were shown in a large outline on the seats.
The Riverside Terrace was so named due to the close proximity of the River Severn behind the stand. This close proximity led to the ground being flooded a number of times over the years. It also gave fame to the 'Coracle Man' who was employed during matches to retrieve balls kicked out of the ground and onto the river (see below). Originally an open terrace it had roof erected over it in the late 1930's. The stand had a slight semi-circular curve to it. There were also a number of large trees behind it, which contributed to the ground's overall picturesque look. This terrace was where the noisier home support were located, probably due to its proximity to the away fans at the Station End of the ground.
As Viewed From The Main Stand
As Viewed From The Wakeman End
As Viewed From The Station End
Named after Wakeman School & Arts College, which overlooked Gay Meadow from that end. The Club would sometimes place a cameraman in the building to record matches, the footage from which would be used as a training aid. This open end terrace was flanked by a pair of tall and impressive looking floodlight pylons and was the home end of the ground. It also featured a large Alphabetical half time scoreboard (more info below).
The large building on the left of the photograph overlooking the ground
is the Wakeman School & Arts College
As Viewed From The Riverside Terrace
Alphabetical Half Time Scoreboard
At one time these types of scoreboards were commonplace at football grounds around the country. On them would be displayed the half time scores from other matches being played at other grounds. However, instead of the team names, a letter denotes which fixture the score would be from. To know which letter matched which fixture's score you needed to buy a matchday programme, on which the fixtures and corresponding letters would be published. So it was a means of selling more programmes as the half time scores were not read out by the stadium announcer. The popularity of this scoreboards disappeared as more people had access to finding out the scores from other means, such as taking a small portable transistor radio to the game.
The Key To The Alphabet In The Matchday Programme
The North End of Gay Meadow was known as the Station End, as Shrewsbury Railway Station lies behind this area across the river. It became used to house the away supporters, where around 1,500 fans could be housed. It did have some cover to the rear and to one side, but most of the terrace was open to the elements. It is believed that the roof was installed in the 1930's.
From the 1980's it had a sizeable perimeter fence at the front of it, that remained until the ground was closed in 2007. Although to combat football hooliganism and to prevent encroachments onto the pitch many Clubs up and down the country, installed such fences, most had dispensed with them in the 1990's. Shrewsbury were one of only a few clubs who kept the fences in place in front of away supporters.
The Station End Viewed From The Main Stand
The Station End Viewed From The Riverside Terrace
Also viewable in the distance behind the Station End, was Laura's Tower that is part of the Shrewsbury Castle site. It can be seen in the middle of the photograph below, which was taken from the Wakeman End opposite.
Shrewsbury Town gained fame through the exploits of Fred Davies, who for many years along with some members of his family, had the job of retrieving stray footballs from the River Severn, that had kicked out of the ground during play. He would do this using a very small round boat known as a Coracle. One of the Coracles that he used is on display at the Club's new stadium. Below is an excerpt from a Nationwide programme about the club and the Coracle Man Fred Davies, produced in 1975.
The video above has been made publicly available via YouTube.
Below is a picture I took of some rather old looking cast iron turnstiles at the Station End of the ground. According to Thomas Inglis in his book 'Football Grounds Of Great Britain' which also includes a photo of them, they were produced in 1885 by Stevens and Sons (Southwark) and may have arrived at Gay Meadow from Crystal Palace's ground, where the FA Cup finals were played between 1895-1914. They were at one time the oldest turnstiles to be found in the Football League. I believe that they were purchased by a Shrewsbury Town fan when an auction was held to sell off items from the ground on its closure.
Thanks to W Gibson for sharing this with us his old cinefilm video below
of Gay Meadow which was taken in 1979.
Simply the meadow was a favourite place by many townsfolk to spend their leisure time, for many, many years before the ground was built. Because of this usage it became known locally as 'Gay Meadow'. The ground, when opened in 1910, continued with this name.
The site of the Gay Meadow ground has been redeveloped for housing and is known as 'Old Meadow'. Some of the street names in the development such as Amber Rise and Coracle Way are reminders of the former ground.
Not So 'Gay Meadow' Anymore...
Old Meadow Street Sign
Duncan Adams (Author of this website and Birmingham City fan)
I first attended a match at Gay Meadow Shrewsbury in 1988, when Birmingham City played a Division 2 match there. I remember it quite well as it was a Boxing Day fixture and an early 12 noon kick off, so no chance of a pint beforehand. The thing that first struck me about the Gay Meadow was the amount of greenery and trees surrounding the ground that gave it a great look and one that was pretty unique.
The match itself was a 0-0 bore draw. I was stood on the away terrace at the Station End and fans were located pretty close to the pitch perimeter. At one point during the second half, one Blues fan shouted to the Shrewsbury Goalkeeper in front of us; "Do you have to watch this S**t every week?" Surprisingly the goalkeeper responded by saying that he wasn't bothered and that he was leaving the club next week! It turns out that the Goalkeeper was in fact on loan from Newcastle United and the loan spell was ending on December 31st.
I also returned to watch a friendly match against Manchester United in July 2000. With Sheringham and Solskjaer upfront the League Champions made easy work of their opponents winning 8-1. Luckily for Shrewsbury, it was only a friendly! Here are some photos that I took of the sold-out Gay Meadow on that day as well as some video footage of the match itself.
Looking Towards The Station End
The above video has been made publicly available on YouTube.
Would you like to share your memories, memorabilia, or photos of Gay Meadow, to be published on this website? If so please email me at [email protected]
If you possess photos of the old Gay Meadow ground, which you would be happy to share with others via this website, or if you have any general feedback about this page, then please e-mail me at: [email protected].
Special thanks to Owen Pavey and Dave Couseins for providing some of the photos of the old Gay Meadow Football Ground in Shrewsbury.
Also thanks to Mike Cleave for providing some photos, of what is on the site of Gay Meadow now.