What’s in a Name
The grounds had long served the purpose of a recreation ground and from the early 1700’s large fairs were held there and were still common in the 1890’s (8).
Cricket and football matches were played at “DOBBS FIELD”, named after the landlord of the nearby Bridgend Hotel. “The BRIDGEND FIELD” as it became known was owned by Phillips and Sons, Brewers of Station Street, Newport, who by 1903 were charging £3.50 for a seasons rent. This amount was increased in 1904 to £9.00 and the following year to £10.00.
After the First World War, under the enlightened leadership of Sir Frederick Mills, the Ebbw Vale Iron, Steel & Coal Company created a Sports Welfare Scheme buying the Cricket Club’s assets for £100. In the post war depression, this arrangement failed and the organisation ceased to exist on 31st March 1923 (1).
At a meeting held at Christ Church Hall on Thursday 10th May 1923 a Welfare Scheme for the town was created (8) and from this time on, the field began to be known as the “WELFARE GROUND”.
However, on 29th June 1973, the Welfare Association Committee decided to change the name of the ground to “EUGENE CROSS PARK” in honour of the Chairman of the Trustees. The Commemoration Gates and plaque were unveiled by Michael Foot M.P. on 27th September 1974 and MR Cross was knighted in the New Years Honours List of that year. He died on 21st January 1982, aged 85 (4)
With the decline of local industries, a Public Trust was formed in 1981 to succeed the Welfare Association. Further industrial decline and falling income meant that the Association could not continue and in 1987 it transferred the administration of the ground to the local Authority, “In trust for the people of Ebbw Vale” and “for the playing of sport in due season” (4).