A much-loved football stadium is marking its 125th anniversary with an exhibition of former glories.

For the next few weeks, Dean Street in Shildon will become Memory Lane.

Formerly a cycle racing track, the ground in the centre of Shildon was opened on September 3, 1898, with a match against Bishop Auckland and has been the club’s home ever since.

“Though much improved in recent years it retains the feel of a traditional football ground - not one of these modern prefabricated jobs,” said Clem O’Donovan, chairman of the Durham Amateur Football Trust (DAFT) which has organised the exhibition – staged at Old Shildon Workmen’s Club, 100 yards from the ground.

Football fans are said particularly to admire the Ebac Northern League’s club’s 'Pagoda' stand, opened in 1921 and the turnstile building, built at the same time, which faces onto Dean Street.

The exhibition was opened by 85-year-old Eddie Swift, a Shildon player who became club chairman and who still lives in the County Durham town.

The Northern Echo: Exhibition opener Eddie SwiftExhibition opener Eddie Swift (Image: MIKE AMOS)

Among those attending was former amateur international and Shildon player Bill Roughley, who brought an England shirt and cap.

“It’s an amazing event, so many memories and so much to talk about,” he said.

Though chiefly photographic, the exhibition also includes everything from bills detailing special trains for Amateur Cup ties in the south to a timeline chronicling the club’s eventful history.

Its sponsors include local firm MS Hardy Contractors and Hackett and Baines, a family-owned shop barely 200 yards from the ground which also marks its 125th anniversary this year.

Town mayor Coun Shirley Quinn, who attended the opening, is also an active volunteer with the football club.

The Northern Echo: Shildon FC chairman David Dent with the mayor, Coun Shirley QuinnShildon FC chairman David Dent with the mayor, Coun Shirley Quinn (Image: MIKE AMOS)

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“It’s brilliant that so much history can be acknowledged in this way.” she said.

“My hope is that it can bring the community even further together.”

The exhibition continues on many dates in July – those attending will also receive a free 20-page brochure detailing the history of both the ground and of Hackett and Baines.

Details of opening hours – and of how visitors can win a framed print by celebrated local artist Eric Thompson of 1950s urchins bunking over the Dean Street fence – can be found at www.thedaft.org.uk