Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How Maine Road Got Its Name

The origins of the Maine Road name are revealed in A Man's Game: The Birth of Mancunian Football
and the Origins of Manchester City FCa new book charting City's earliest history.

Maine Road was originally called Dog Kennel Lane, and took its name from the dog kennels that were
located there. But by 1876 it was designated as "Domain Road" on Ordnance Survey maps, a translation
of the French word "Demesne" (pronounced "demain" or "deman"). That was the name of a nearby farm,
listed as "The Demesne" on an 1843 ordinance survey map (below).

An 1843 map showing the location of Demesne farm, south of  where Maine Road was built

However, it was still being called Dog Kennel Lane in newspapers, and by locals, some of whom seemed
quite attached to the name.

At a meeting of the Moss Side Local Board in September 1876 the local Temperance Society proposed
the name be officially changed to Domain Road, but after opposition "the matter was adjourned for further
consideration". Soon afterwards abbreviated forms of "Domain" were first used for the road's name. The
earliest record of it being called Maine Road was on 24 March 1879, but it was usually referred to as
Main Road in reports until 1893, after which Maine Road became the accepted name.

The road also had historical football significance years before City moved there. On 2 October 1875 a
letter to the Athletic News proposed the formation of Manchester's first association club. They were called
Manchester Association, and in February 1876 their home ground "was on land adjoining" Pepperhill Farm
in Moss Side, only a few hundred yards to the north-west of where Manchester City's Maine Road stadium
was later built. 

There is no record of the club playing there that season. However, in 1878 Manchester Association merged
with Manchester's only other club, Manchester Wanderers, and were renamed Manchester Association
Wanderers. On 19 November 1881 the Manchester Courier recorded that Maine Road had become their
home. The exact location of the ground is unknown, but this may have also been Manchester Association's
original Pepperhill Farm ground from 1876.

A match played at Maine Road, reported on 19 November 1881

                                                                               ~ ~ ~

A Man's Game  is the most detailed account of City's origins ever written. The result of four years research,
the book contains a vast amount of new information about City's earliest history - and the birth of
Manchester football.

~ ~ ~

You can email me at: info(at)manchesterfootballhistory(dot)com

You can also find me on Twitter @mancfoothist

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