1930s–The First Overseas Players
The first overseas professionals came to Kirklees in the 1930s as a result of the increased ambition of some local clubs.
In 1934 Edwin St. Hill, from Trinidad, became the first black cricketer to play in the area when he signed for Slaithwaite CC.
Post War Migration
Also, after the Second World War families from the Asian subcontinent and the Caribbean were encouraged to move to Britain. Textile barons started to recruit male workers for their mills and factories – and wives and children eventually made the lifechanging journey too.
Many came to northern industrial towns such as Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Batley. Here the textile industry and services such as public transport, were seeking to attract additional workers.
1950s/1960s–More Overseas Professionals
In the 1950s and 1960s when international travel became cheaper and easier, overseas professionals also became more commonplace.
Local league clubs were allowed to engage substitutes when their own professionals were unavailable. During the 1950s and 1960s many enterprising sides engaged leading Asian internationals who were playing professionally elsewhere.
Role of Cricket
Asian families arriving in Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Batley during the 1950s and 1960s were faced with many challenges. They had to adapt to a new society, earn enough money to make ends meet, and also make friends in a new environment.
For many men folk, sport was a ‘way in’ to West Yorkshire society. Cricket was a religion on the subcontinent…and so cricket was their numberone pastime when they arrived in Britain. In the early days, young Asian children would play cricket, informally and spontaneously, on pavements and streetcorners.
- The Early Years (2.4mb PDF)
- The Later Years (4.1mb PDF)
- The People (2.0mb PDF)
- The Clubs (1.1mb PDF)
- Timeline (129kb PDF)