During the season 1894-95, a meeting was held in the house of a Mrs Hope in Leazes Terrace, Newcastle, attended by Messrs. Norman Reid, Fred Anderson, Cyril hope, James Frain and Dennis Hill and the Bohemian Club was formed. (It was by an amazing coincidence that in another house in Leazes Terrace, about eighty years later, Garnett F.C were also formed.)
The first fixture was played on the Bull Park Recreation Ground (now Exhibition Park) and thereafter the club played successively at South Northumberland Cricket Club 1897-99, the North Road 1900-04, Newton Road 1904-22, the Forest Hall Cricket Ground 1923-26, Lloyds Band Sports Ground 1926-39 and after the war on the Thermal Sports Ground. So it was with deep satisfaction that in 1951 the Club entered into a 99-year lease and secured a more or less permanent domicile at Polwarth Park. When the present pavilion was erected, in the mid 1960’s, the ground was renamed Benson Park in memory of the late Secretary, Rex Benson, whose generosity made the building of the pavilion possible.
Early records of the Club are incomplete but in 1910-11 with a membership of just under fifty, we find the year’s expenditure amounted to £19.11.6 (in those days a football cost 6s.6d). By 1938-39 membership had risen to 121 but so had expenditure, which amounted to £116. In 1954, when a Diamond Jubilee Dinner was held at the Crown Hotel, Clayton Street, membership was up to 188 with the annual outlay in the region of £150 (the all important ball then cost over £4).
In 2000 due to a gradual decline in player involvement off the pitch the Bohemian club stopped fielding a team but help was on hand from Garnett F.C who were looking for a ground. Bohemians were reborn in 2001 under the name Garnett Bohemian F.C. Garnett were originally a struggling University Intra-Mural team but by the time of the rebirth had established themselves as the largest club in the North East of England. Five Saturday and three Wednesday teams are fielded with a paid up playing membership of 81. All players from the 1 st team, who play in the Northern Alliance Division 1, down to the 5th pay an annual subscription and match fees. The universal pay to play philosophy and willingness to work hard of the pitch remain central to the success of the Bohemian Football Club.
These comments, from the Bohemians centenary programme still seen apt today.
“It will be generally conceded, however, that the greatest honour won-and for which no medals are struck-is the proud name and tradition of the “Bohs” throughout Northumbrian football circles and in the building of this tradition there have been no star players but just those members who, loving the game, and the Club, have carried on where their predecessors left off.
Football and football conditions have changed a great deal over one hundred years and the fortunes of the Club have varied considerably since the first match in the Bull Park in 1894 but we are confident that the Bohemian Football Club can still give much to football and it must be our continued aim to make that contribution worthy of the Club.”