History of The Grove
Halesowen Town Football Club is an English association football club formed in 1873. As of 2019/20, the team plays in the BetVictor Southern Division One Central.
Halesowen played on at least three different grounds in the late 1870s before moving to the Stourbridge Road Ground, now known as the Grove Recreation Ground, ca. 1881. The stadium was owned by the Grove family, who ran the neighbouring button factory, and was shared between the football and cricket clubs.
In 1920, a pavilion with dressing room facilities was built. Prior to this the players would have to change at the nearby Waggon & Horses public house. This was followed four years later when a stand was built at the Hawne Lane end of the ground where the Shed now occupies. A wooden stand along the perimeter of the button factory was constructed some time during the 1930s or 40s, but an exact construction date remains unknown.
The Shed was built in 1950 under the direction of recently appointed secretary Harry Rudge. New dressing rooms were also constructed during this decade on the site of the old pavilion.
In the 1980s, failure to meet ground grading requirements for the Southern League lead to an overhaul of the club's facilities. A perimeter fence, new changing facilities (built behind the Shed), and a sponsor lounge were the first changes to be made. After the pitch was levelled, the three sided ground was converted to four with the addition of uncovered terracing along the Recreation Park side of the ground. In 1987, the 420 seater Harry Rudge Stand was completed on the site of the 1930s vintage wooden cover, whilst at the same time the rest of the ground received a face lift. The stand was extended in 1998 and again in 2000 to include toilets, boardroom, and a press box.
The floodlights, which the club had won in 1983, lasted until 2001 when a new set were installed and officially inaugurated at a friendly match against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
More recent improvements have included the construction of the James Grove Lounge, a bar and function room, as well as a modernisation of the Shed and dressing rooms. Today, the ground's capacity is 3,150 people.