In the August of 1961 I started work at the age of 15 and felt like an adult. Like many boys of my age I was now smoking and drinking alcohol. There was no knowledge at this time of the damage smoking could do to your health.
One evening during August I went up Knebworth Rec. and sat on the brick wall at the entrance to the old pavilion changing rooms, puffing on a cigarette and waiting for players to turn up for training, as I wanted to join in.
At that time the layout of the recreation ground was a bit different to what it is like today. The first team pitch was in much the same position as it is today, a little shorter (more about that in about ten years time) and the only pitch available for the football club’s use. Next to that was a cricket table and next to that, parallel to the football pitch, was a hockey pitch. Every Boxing Day the football club played the hockey club in a friendly football match, before retiring to the Station Hotel to socialise. The only other football pitch was the one at the north end of the rec., adjacent to the swings and that was used for school football only.
The old pavilion had two changing rooms, one on either side of the building at the front, which had wooden floors. The entrance to them was partially enclosed by 4ft high brick walls. There was a large glass double door at the centre front of the building, which was opened up on match days and where you were able to get a cup of tea. At the rear of the building there was a rather basic shower room and a very small referee’s room. There were 2 toilets (a ladies and a gents) externally at the rear of the building. The pavilion was situated further east than the current building and the centre of it was directly in line with the bottom goal. Where the equipment is stored today was a wooden building which housed the local fire engine.
The main access to the recreation ground was from the Stevenage Road, which was the main A1 as the Stevenage by-pass (A1(M)) had not yet been built.
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