Sesquicentenary News Update

Date: 01 April 2019

For the last couple of years a varying group of members have been meeting and preparing plans for events and projects ready for next season’s anniversary celebrations. Graham Aspden put together the following article and persuaded the RFU Touchline editor to publish a piece about our club’s history and it’s founder members.

The next meeting is scheduled for the 16th of April at 7pm in the clubhouse and we’d like to see a few new faces come along and join the regulars.

Article featured in RFU Touchline

Many a rugby club was formed by a group of enthusiasts in a pub. But few can claim, as Preston Grasshoppers can, that they were born out of a meeting in 1869, making them 150 years old this year.

Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Football Club, as part of their 150th anniversary celebrations, are sending out an appeal to rugby players and fans in their search for relatives of the founders.

On the 28th September 1869 a meeting was held at the Bull Hotel, Preston, at which the following resolution was passed: ‘That a club be at once formed in Preston to play football with the Rugby Rules of the game but without hacking and that the club be called ‘”The Preston Grasshoppers”.

While the club’s home is Preston, several founders were old boys of Cheltenham College, where at that time one of the house teams was called Grasshoppers.

Those founders, some just teenagers, would not have imagined that their club would still be flourishing all these years later. Nor would they have anticipated a roll of honour stretching from A.N. Hornby, the first man to captain England at both rugby and cricket, to current England forwards coach and former England captain Steve Borthwick; as well as a trio of Rugby World Cup winners in Paul Grayson, England fly half and with 400 still third in the all-time England points scorers, Iain Balshaw and Will Greenwood; together with Will’s father Dick who played for and coached both England and Preston Grasshoppers.

Numbered among their legends are also England international brothers Alex and Pat Sanderson, and Wade Dooley, who won 55 caps in the England second row.

Preston Grasshoppers have a full calendar of events planned, including an international rugby festival hosted at their Lightfoot Green Lane ground, a gala dinner, summer ball, and an exhibition in the Preston Harris Museum with a re-enactment of the original meeting at the Bull Hotel, Preston, that formed the club.

It is in honour of the founding members that the club is appealing to Touchline readers, hoping to find relatives of the men who founded Preston Grasshoppers to invite them to join some of the year-long celebrations.

If any of the names below do stir any memories please do get in touch with them via   

Frederick Campbell Hulton (aged 28),  Harold Parker,  Alan Chambre Dickson (aged 16),  George Herbert Dickson (aged 18),  W.J. Dickson,  Charles Threlfall (aged 17), W.C. Breakhill,  F.W. Catterall, J. Croft, Alfred E. Ascroft 20, Lawrence Spencer, J. Lawrence Beesley, F Beesley, John Henry Threlfall, F. Bamber, G.Threlfall, George Paley,  E.Swainson

Further information about their history can be found at  with a picture of what’s believed to be founding members here

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