The town of Paisley greatly expanded in the 18th Century due to the growth of the weaving trade. By the 1890’s J. & P. Coats had the 2 largest mills in Paisley, being the Anchor Thread Works at Seedhill & the Ferguslie Thread Works.
Working conditions at the mills were harsh in those days. So to help moral among the workers Coats built facilities for the employees to have somewhere to take part in various sporting activities. The Ferguslie Mill had grounds at Meikleriggs Sports Grounds, & the Anchor Mill had their Sports grounds at the Anchor Recreational club (to be known as the Anchor Rec by locals) in Blackhall Road. The idea behind the sports grounds were that a happy workforce is a more productive workforce.
Anchor Hockey club were one the clubs that were founded by the employees in 1923. In the early days only workers at the mill were allowed to play for the club. This changed in the 1950’s when the club decided to allow people who did not work in the mill join as private members. The Private members had to undergo a interview with the club secretary who would decide if they were deemed to be of the correct calibre for the club.
The Hockey club had the use of 2 men’s & 1 woman’s pitches. The men used the “top pitch” in front of the clubhouse & a pitch down towards the river cart which had a beautiful turf on it, but was prone to flooding in bad weather when the White cart overflowed. In the 1950’s the clubs grounds were considered to be among the best grounds in the country & the “top park” in front of the clubhouse was used for International Matches & Inter-County games. A particular interesting point back in the non pc days was the massive team bath, which held the full team of players in it after a hard game of hockey.
The author of this short history of the club (Donald Fraser) has played from 1973 until now & is proud to say that his family have been involved in the Anchor Hockey Club since its inception in 1923 up until today via his son Scott, who is currently a member of the club. I have met many, many great friends & characters through the club, whom it has been a privilege to know. And I am sure that a similar friendly welcome will be issued to all new members who join the club in the coming years, by the current guys at the club.
The hockey club has over the years played with 2 teams at first, then 3 teams from the 60’s, until the closure of the Anchor Rec in 1982. The Rec closed due to the lack of continued funding from Coats, as the Paisley Mills had closed due to work being outsourced to other countries. The club has continued as Anchor through the years by playing at various grounds, such as Meikleriggs & Beith & have for recent years been based at Linwood Sports Centre.
In the past year or so, the club unfortunately has lost a few of its players & has been trying to expand its player base by youth scouting and recruitment. We are now trying to increase our involvement in the local community, and with the hard work & effort of the committed committee members who have been putting in a lot of their personal time to player training & recruitment. We will once again get back to the glory days.
There is currently 1 men’s teams at the club playing in the West District Division 3.