Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Sport - Cricket

Victorian London - Publications - Humour - Punch - cartoon 84 - Cricketing Dresses


Punch, Jul.-Dec. 1854

CRICKET is stated to have been played at Finsbury, in the Royal Artillery Ground, before the year 1746. Some thirty years later, in 1774, a committee of noblemen and gentlemen was formed, under the presidency of Sir William Draper; they met at the Star and Garter in Pall Mall, and laid down the first rules of Cricket, which rules form the basis of the laws of Cricket to this day. The next great step was the establishment of the White Conduit Club, in the year 1799; and among its members, in addition to the before-named patron of the game, we find the names of Lord Winchelsea, Lord Strathaven, and Sir P. Burrell. Their place of meeting was still the Star and Garter, and their Ground was in White Conduit-fields. One of the attendants, Thomas Lord, was persuaded to take a ground; and under patronage of the old White Conduit Club, a new club, called the Marylebone Club, was formed at "Lord's Cricket Ground," which was the site of the present Dorset-square. Lord's Ground is now in St. John's-wood-road, and is about 7½ acres in extent, and devoted almost exclusively in May, June and July, to the matches and practice of the Marylebone Club; at the annual meeting early in May, the Laws of Cricket are revised and matches for the season arranged. Attached to Lord's Ground are a Tennis Court and Baths ... Amongst other principal grounds are the Oval (larger than Lord's) at Kennington: the Royal Artillery Ground, Finsbury, is, perhaps, the oldest ground in London; for here was a match played between Kent and All England in 1746. There was formerly a ground in Copenhagen-fields; there is on at the Brecknock Arms, Camden-town; at Brixton, near the church; the Middlesex County, Islington Cattle Market, Tufnell Park, Highbury; Victoria Park, Battersea Park; Rosemary Branch, Peckham; Crystal Palace, Sydenham; Sluice House, Hornsey; Primrose Hill; Vincent-square, Westminster; and at Bow, Millwall and Putney. Of the younger London clubs is the Civil Service, consisting exclusively of the Civil Service.

John Timbs, Curiosities of London, 1867 edition

see also James Payn in Lights and Shadows of London Life - click here

THE GAME OF CRICKET is best seen at- 
    Lord's Cricket Ground,
St. John's Wood Road, Regent's-park; admission 6d. on ordinary match days, 1s. or 2s. 6d. when there is any first-class match going on. The principal matches, such as North v. South, Gentlemen v. Players, Oxford v. Cambridge, are generally advertised. The most popular Match of all, Eton v. Harrow, takes place in July.
Prince's Cricket Ground, Hans-place, Sloane-square. A fashionable resort during the season, where Lawn Tennis is also much played. Each member is able to admit one stranger, lady, within the enclosure. Admission, 1s.
    Kensington Oval-
the head-quarters of the Surrey Cricket Club.

Murray's Handbook to London As It Is, 1879

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Cricket —The famous grounds of "Lord's," and "The Oval" with with the more recently established "Prince's "are the principal cricket of grounds of London. "Lord's" is the head-quarters of the Marylebone Club, and there some of the "sensational" cricket of the year is played. Oxford and Cambridge, and Eton and Harrow, especially the latter, attract society to an almost ridiculous extent, and are among the sights of London. The cricket lover will, however, find many matches more to his taste than these, and as hardly a week goes by in the season from May to September without a first-class match, will have no difficulty in finding a suitable occasion for a visit to the celebrated old place. "Lord's" is notoriously a difficult ground, but the Marylebone Club has recently expended a great deal of money in draining and relaying, and a great improvement is observable. A tavern is attached to the ground, and, besides racket and tennis courts, there are billiard-rooms and a variety of grand stands and pavilions. The Marylebone Club (entrance fee, £1; annual subscription, £3; election by committee) are the present proprietors of Lord's which is one situated in the St. John's Wood-road, NW. NEAREST Railway Station, St. John's Wood-road. Omnibus Routes Wellington-road and St. John's Wood-road. Cab fare from Charing-cross, 2s.; from the Bank of England, 2s. 6d. The Oval at Kennington, is the head-quarters of the Surrey County Cricket Club, and some of the very best matches of the season are played on the ground. A spacious pavilion, a tavern with billiards room and a large dining room, and racket-courts add to the attractions of the Oval. The ground itself is as nearly perfection as can be, and in seasonable weather a wicket can be selected as true as a billiard-table. NEAREST Railway Station, Vauxhall (L. & S.W.R); Omnibus Routes, Kennington-road, Clapham-road; Cab Rank, St. Mark's Church, Clapham-road. The cab fare from Charing-cross is 2s., and from the Bank of England 2s. 6d. The Surrey County Club (election by ballot by the members generally, ten to make a ballot, and two black balls to exclude) requires an entrance fee of one guinea; and a subscription of the same amount entitles a member to every privilege except that of practice from the Club bowlers, of whom there are eight. An annual subscription of £2, and an entrance fee of £1 entitles a member to every privilege the Club affords. Prince's Ground is situated in Hans-place, Belgrave-square, S.W. NEAREST Railway Station, Sloane-square. Omnibus Route, Sloane-street; Cab Rank, Pont-street. Cab fare from the Bank of England 2s.; from Charing-cross, 1s. 6d. Prince's is not so exclusively a cricket ground as Lord's and the Oval, polo, rink skating, and other amusements occupying the members of the club to a very considerable extent, but good matches. are not unfrequently played.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879

see also Montagu Williams in Round London - click here

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - Middlesex v. Surrey at Lord's (1895)

Lords Cricket - photograph


 Lord's Cricket Ground is the head-quarters of the Marylebone Club, by whom authority is exercised over the great national summer game. While the Oxford and Cambridge and Eton and Harrow matches attract more fashionable crowds, the Middlesex and Surrey match is, of all the inter-county fixtures, by far the most popular among Londoners generally. When the two Metropolitan elevens meet there is seldom a vacant place among the cheaper seats, whatever may be the case in the spacious Pavilion, which, by the way, was built in 1891. Our view is taken from near the south-east corner of the Ground. The match here shown in progress was won by the champion county with ten wickets to spare; Middlesex scoring 220 and 171, and Surrey 294 (Hayward 111) and 99 for no wicket.

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - The Eton and Harrow Match at Lord's 1895: Luncheon interval

The Eton and Harrow Match at Lord's 1895:
Luncheon interval - photograph


One crowded hour of glorious life at the Eton and  Harrow cricket match which is always played at Lord's in July, is worth an age without a name to most public school boys. The smartly-dressed relatives and friends of the boys at Eton and Harrow flock in crowds to the headquarters of the M.C.C., and every seat is occupied. The scene is gayest during the luncheon interval, when the sward is thronged as our picture shows, and those who have been puzzling out the game which they imperfectly understand are free to enjoy themselves. No cricket match throughout the season is more keenly contested than this annual fixture. In  1895 it may be remembered, the game was drawn, though generally in favour of Eton. The stands shown in the view are those on the north side of Lord's.

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - Cricket at Kensington Oval

Cricket at Kensington Oval -  photograph


Although not so attractively situated as Lord's, the Oval is better beloved by democratic cricketers, for it is the headquarters of the popular Surrey County Cricket Club and the chief scene of its many victories. The Oval, which is now exclusively devoted to the national summer game, covers nine acres of ground, a portion of which was laid out as a park by Sir Noel Caron, the Dutch Ambassador in the early part of the seventeenth century. The cricket ground was formed some fifty years ago, as a private speculation, and the Surrey Club rents it from the Duchy of Cornwall. Our view renders it easy to realise the immense size of the ground (which is almost circular in shape); and good eyesight is necessary for following the progress of the matches, even from the vantage-point of the enormous Grand Stand.

see also A.R.Bennett in London and Londoners - click here