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Rodney Parade, Newport

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Map ReferenceST38NW
Grid ReferenceST3158588233
Unitary (Local) AuthorityNewport
Old CountyMonmouthshire
PeriodPost Medieval
Located on the banks of the river Usk in the centre of Newport, Rodney Parade is a large athletics and (primarily) rugby ground and is presently the home of the Newport-Gwent Dragons and Newport RFC. The site, which formerly included a cricket ground, was leased by Newport Athletic Club from Lord Tredegar in 1875 and has been in continuous use as a sporting venue since that time. In the 1880s and 1890s, Rodney Parade was an international rugby venue and was used for matches against Scotland and England in the Home Nations Championship. The last international to take place at Rodney Parade was a friendly between Wales and France in 1912.

Rodney Parade developed steadily in the 1890s with the laying out of the former cricket ground, a gymnasium, pavilions for bowls and cricket, and several stands in use for rugby matches. Other sports provided for a Rodney Parade in this period included cycling, athletics, bowling and tennis. The first grandstand opened in 1885 and was constructed at a cost of £150. The two-storey, red brick and red-tile cricket pavilion was not constructed in 1900. In January 1923, Newport Athletic Club purchased the freehold of Rodney Parade from the Tredegar Estate for around £7,000. The transfer took place in June. In the same year, the war memorial gates were erected. The following twelve months saw the expansion of the spectator accommodation: improved terracing for 4,000 people, seating for a further 2,150, and the new stand which formally opened with a match against Cardiff on 6 October 1923. By the end of the works the capacity had reached over 20,000 with as many as 28,000 fitting into the rugby ground to watch the match between Newport RFC and New Zealand on 2 October 1924.

The final cricket match played at Rodney Parade ended on Sunday 16 September 1990 and brought to an end over one hundred years of club and county cricket (the ground having been the home of Monmouthshire County Cricket Club until their amalgamation with Glamorgan in 1926). A new purpose built cricket facility was opened at Spytty Park. The cricket ground at Rodney Parade was sold and Maindee Primary School constructed in the 1990s.

Daryl Leeworthy, RCAHMW, 7 September 2011.

W.J. Townsend Collins (ed.), Newport Athletic Club: The Record of Half a Century, 1875-1925 (Newport, 1925).