IT WAS the setting for Ray Wilson’s early steps in a career which was to lead to World Cup glory.
And the likes of Denis Law, Frank Worthington, Trevor Cherry, Mike O’Grady and Bob McNab also had formative lessons on the road to international honours there.
Now, like Town’s old Leeds Road home, Beck Lane will become a part of the club’s past.
The Heckmondwike ground which became Town’s third-team base in the Thirties is being sold to West Riding County Amateur League club Littletown, who have rented it for the last 14 years.
And the non-league minnows aim to breath new life into a venue which is rich in history.
In a sense, Beck Lane is going back to its roots, because it was originally used by a club called Heckmondwike Casuals.
Town actually played there in September 1909, marking their first-ever FA Cup appearance with an 11-0 preliminary-round win over the hosts.
It was 25 years later that Town set up base at Beck Lane.
The formation of a third team to play in the old Yorkshire League (one of the forerunners of the present-day Northern Counties East League) had been the brainchild of legendary manager Herbert Chapman.
With Leeds Road the preserve of the first team and the reserves and all three sides in action on Saturdays, an alternative home had to be found, but available pitches in Huddersfield itself were few and far between.
The thirds played at Methley, near Wakefield, and Saville Town, in Dewsbury, before putting down roots at Beck Lane in 1934, their first game there a 2-0 defeat by Sheffield Wednesday which attracted more than 1,000 spectators.
Originally the ground was rented, but Town bought it in 1951, and built new dressing rooms before adding turnstiles and, in the winter of 1954, floodlights (Leeds Road wasn’t illuminated until 1961).
By that stage, Beck Lane was also home to Town’s junior team, who were founder members of the Northern Intermediate League in 1948 and played in the FA Youth Cup from its inception in 1952.
Town were still fielding a side in the Yorkshire League, and Wilson, who was signed on as a 17-year-old in 1952, has happy memories of both Beck Lane and tussles with some of the county’s top non-league footballers.
“In my early years at Town, I spent as much time at Beck Lane as I did at Leeds Road,” recalls the left-back in England’s 1966 World Cup winning team.
“I played there for both the juniors and the A team, and the Yorkshire League especially was a great environment in which to learn the game.
“There were some really good sides, Stocksbridge Works coming immediately to mind, and many of the teams were from the big coal mines.
“I remember blokes coming out onto the pitch with their faces still black with dust. They were tough lads and you needed to keep your wits about you!”
Wilson, who made 283 Town appearances and won 30 England caps before moving to Everton in 1964, didn’t just play at Beck Lane, explaining: “In those days, young players were signed as members of the groundstaff, and we used to get all kinds of jobs to do.
“One of them was to go to Beck Lane and help take care of the pitch, and it meant taking the bus there and back.
“It’s amazing when you think of today’s players in their sports cars and four-wheel drives, but for us, taking the bus was a luxury. By the end of most weeks, we were running out of money, so on Thursdays and Fridays, I used to walk from my digs at Moldgreen down to Leeds Road!”
Keeping Beck Lane spick and span also brings back memories for Wilson’s former Town teammate Les Massie.
The Scottish frontman, who headed South from his native Aberdeen to join Town as an 18-year-old in 1953, recalled: “Like Ray, I played for both the juniors and third team at Beck Lane, and I can still picture the place very clearly.
“That might have more to do with the fact that in the late Fifties and early Sixties, myself and a number of the other players used to spend much of the close-season working at the ground.
“In those days, our wages used to fall out of season, so we’d top them up by sorting out the pitch at Beck Lane and sprucing the place up by painting and lopping trees and bushes.
“John Coddington, Bob Ledger, Brian Gibson and Oliver Conmy were other members of the work gang and we were under the supervision of Jack Anderson, who was Town’s trainer at that time.
“I can remember the five of us walking up and down the pitch, raking then re-seeding, and a few times, I ended up in the beck after which the ground was named, fishing out footballs and goodness knows what else!”
Massie, who scored 108 goals in 363 first-team games for Town, hasn’t been back to Beck lane in years, and Town haven’t used the ground since the junior sides switched back to Huddersfield in the early nineties, originally using Leeds Road Playing Fields, then what is now the Syngenta sports complex and now Storthes Hall.
Littletown are believed to have paid around £25,000.