£2000 AND 33,000 TONS OF RUBBLE - TWERTON HERE WE COME
It cost just under £2000 to set in motion one of the most significant changes in City's history - the move to Twerton Park. That is what vice-chairman Arthur Mortimer and Sergeant Purnell of Bath Police bid at an auction to secure a plot of land available between Innox Park and Twerton village High Street. A mortgage was obtained from the Football Association at an interest rate of three per cent. The extensive area stretched from Freeview Road to the High Street at an angle of some 45 degrees, which offered the appalling task of the movement of 33,000 tons of soil to construct the playing surface, and the felling of some small trees. The property was surrounded by a public footpath on the south and west sides, and near the present newsagents was the old lock-up jail where the weekend revelers were kept. A ground committee was formed under Arthur Mortimer, a start being made with many amateur helpers and unemployed players. The grounds name was chosen from three possibilities, Twerton Park, Mortimer Park and Innox Park, and excavation took nearly three years and was completed in time for City to begin the 1932-33 season in their new ground.
The occasion of the first match was highlighted by a be-flagged Twerton High Street, reminiscent of the Coronation. A fancy dress procession was also part of the proceedings and a comic football match (which isn't one involving Yeovil) in aid of raising funds was held. The first Southern League match at Twerton was, ironically in the light of future Twerton tenants, versus Bristol Rovers Reserves. In the absence of a grandstand, the spectators were seated on forms around the arena. This was soon rectified, the present stand being erected by Lysaghts, a Bristol firm, for a sum approximately equal to the cost of the ground. Later a covered popular side stand (about one third of the present one) was purchased by the Supporters Club for £4,500. This stand had been earmarked for Weston-Super-Mare rugby club, who did not take delivery owing to the hard times existing in the depression. The playing pitch had now settled in, but the top layer of the Twerton clay soon caused trouble when heavy weather turned the surface into a morass. Fortunately, a civil engineer relative of Mortimer's had recently returned from the Far East and he took over the responsibility of laying a herring-bone drainage system which largely solved the problem.
Around this time Ted Davis had discovered a young goalkeeper from Coalpit Heath named Frank Boulton who was soon the object of interest from League clubs. Arsenal, already good friends of Bath City, stepped in, and part of the transfer resulted in the appearance of this star-studded team in a match against, then 1st division, Portsmouth. A record crowd for a friendly match came to watch, some 11,000 being assembled on the surrounding grassy banks. Arsenal included many stars in the match, led by Eddie Hapgood, the England captain, who latterly became City's manager. Also included were Alex James, and the Compton brothers Bill and Denis. Mortimer by this time was Chairman, and was successful in getting City associate membership of the Football Association, and permission for the Bath City Coat of Arms badge to be displayed on the players jerseys.
On the pitch City celebrated their first season at Twerton Park by again winning the Western Section of the Southern League. However, they were unable to clinch the overall title, losing 2-1 to Norwich City Reserves in the Championship play-offs. The next season saw City only finish third but further success came in the FA Cup as 3rd Division Charlton Athletic were drawn at the Park and survived a 0-0 draw to win 3-1 at The Valley. Outstanding in this match were Bath's Ernie Coombes and Charlton's Welsh internationals Turner and Pearce. The latter who went on to play for City during the period of the Second World War. Ted Davis eventually left City to manage Colchester United, and he was replaced by Alex Raisbeck from Bristol City, a former Scottish international centre-half who in his playing days appeared for Liverpool. Raisbeck was unfortunate that his short association with the club soon terminated with the outbreak of the war and the ultimate cancellation of all fixtures.