Grimsby Town F.C. was formed in 1878 after a meeting held at the Wellington Arms public house in Freeman Street. Several attendees included members of the local Worsley Cricket Club who wanted to form a football club to occupy the empty winter evenings after the cricket season had finished.
The club was originally called Grimsby Pelham, this being the family name of the Earl of Yarborough, a significant landowner in the area. In 1880 the club purchased land at Clee Park which was to become our ground until 1889 when we relocated to Abbey Park.
Clee Park is not far from Blundell Park (which is where the Brick and Tile works are shown on the map). All of that area is now built up with early 20th century terraced housing.
Town also played one or two games in a field near Grimsby Docks Station - thought to be alongside the railway line just south of the station.
The first ever game at Clee Park was against Brigg, which Pelham lost 4-1. The grand sum of 6/9d (33p) was taken on the gate.
In 1880, the club moved its headquarters from the Wellington Arms rooms to the more sensible surroundings of Drings Hotel (where the Grimsby Telegraph offices now stand).
Admission prices for the 1884/ 85 Season were increased to five shillings (25p), plus two shillings and sixpence for a view from the grandstand.
In 1889 the club moved to a new stadium at Abbey Park, with stands from Clee Park being dismantled and re-erected at the new ground. The cost of relocation was in excess of £300.
The exact position of Abbey Park was situated off Welholme Road (below), near to Peoples Park and Farebrother Street.
Picture: Abbey Park - off Welholme Road
The old grandstand was rebuilt on the Welholme Road side, running along the side of the pitch. On the opposite side was a huge open banking which could hold around 8,000 spectators. The second stand was moved from Clee Park, a smaller one, which was erected behind the goal at the Cleethorpes end, and had 300 seats. The total capacity for the stadium was now 10,000.
Season tickets in the grandstand now cost a guinea (£1.05). The opening game was played on the 30th august 1889 versus twice FA Cup finalists and member of the Football League, West Bromwich Albion.