Category Archives: Librarianship

Nineteen months at Lord’s

Today is my last day working at Lord’s.  I’m off to a new job at Southwark Council.

Working here has been an amazing experience and I thought I’d share a few highlights with you –

1. The Long Room on Match Days

Being in the long room on match days is a real pinch yourself/shivers down the spine moment, probably for everyone, but particularly for someone who is never ever going to be a member of the MCC.  During most matches I find an excuse to pop across, taking some leaflets or making a vital check that the paintings are hanging straight!  My favourite moment by far was seeing Strauss and Cook go out to bat on the first morning of my first test at Lord’s.

It's just a bit busier than this on match days!

It’s just a bit busier than this on match days.

2. The collection

Less obvious perhaps – but I think my very favourite thing about being at Lord’s has been working with the collection.  I’m really proud of the progress I’ve made getting it catalogued and in some kind of order and I’ve loved all the unexpected ‘gems’ I’ve found along the way.

Dedicated librarian at work

Dedicated librarian at work

You can see some of the results of my work, and that of the rest of the cataloguing team, on our on-line catalogue.   (http://mcc.adlibhosting.com/).    New entries are being added all the time.

3. Taking the Field visits.

Running Taking the Field has been fabulous all round, but I especially enjoyed getting out there and visiting some of the clubs.  Particular highlights were the beautiful Wirksworth and Middleton in Derbyshire (www.takingthefield.com/clubs/wirksworth-middleton-cricket-club) and warm, friendly Ovington in York (www.takingthefield.com/clubs/ovington-cricket-club).

Ovington playing on the Knavesmire.  It was hot and sunny everytime I went there - convincing me that it must always be like that in York.

Ovington playing on the Knavesmire. It was hot and sunny every time I went there – convincing me that it must always be like that in York.

Wirksworth & MIddleton.  They had the most virbrant youth section I saw anywhere and are based in such a beautiful part of the country.

Wirksworth & MIddleton. They had the most vibrant youth section I saw anywhere and are based in such a beautiful part of the country.

4. People

My next highlight is all the people I’ve got to meet here.  It was great bumping into past and present stars of the game on a daily basis such as Sir Ian Botham, Stuart Broad, Kevin Pietersen, Nasser Hussain, Mike Brearley – and of course meeting my all time hero Andrew Strauss.  But even better was getting to know my wonderful colleagues who mean more to me than all the cricket celebrities in the world (everyone now, 1…2…3… ‘aahhhh’)

Here's me with Rob our superstar archivist who I'm going to miss loads.

Here’s me with Rob our superstar archivist who I’m going to miss loads.

Rob at work with Alan the other archivist.

Rob at work with Alan the other archivist.

Andrew, my fellow librarian.  We formed a life long bond working together for the first few months crammed into a long narrow windowless corridor full of cardboard boxes of unsorted uncatalgued annuals.

Andrew, my fellow librarian. We formed a life long bond working together for the first few months crammed into a long narrow windowless corridor full of cardboard boxes of unsorted uncatalgued annuals.

Liz, a dedicated and knowledgable cricket fan and fantastic cricket photographer.

Liz, a dedicated and knowledgable cricket fan and fantastic cricket photographer.

Rowan, a former archivist who knew absolutely nothing about cricket.  So little that when we were once taling about where to put the model of Sachin Tendulkar she thought we were refering to the man to her right wearing the hat!

Rowan, a former archivist who knew absolutely nothing about cricket. So little that when we were once talking about where to put the model of Sachin Tendulkar she thought we were referring to the man to her right wearing the hat!

5. Lord’s in winter

There’s nothing quite like watching cricket at Lord’s on a beautiful summers day, but when you see the ground in mid-winter you feel like you’re really part of the place and are getting a proper behind the scenes view.  I am sad I won’t get to experience that again this year.

whole ground in snow

So goodbye to Lord’s and goodbye to everyone following my blog.

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Filed under archive, club cricket, Cricket, cricket grounds, goodbye, Librarianship, Lord's Cricket Ground, MCC, test cricket

Too late?

Last week I had my first go at cricket.  I’m 35 years old and have been a cricket fan for 8 years but until last week had never bowled, caught or hit a ball.  I have never intentionally avoided it, the opportunity just never arose, we didn’t play cricket at school, I never came across any friends playing in the park.  I’ve actually been eager to have a go for sometime, but until now have never known anyone who has the gear.

So how did it go?  Well I wasn’t very good!  The batting was OK, although I think my friend was bowling quite easy ones at me, I did really enjoy the batting I loved the feel and sound of leather striking willow with a nice firm thwack, and didn’t even mind that I ended up with bruises all over my right palm (probably due to poor technique).  The bowling was way harder.  It feels so weird having to keep your arm straight.  I founding attempting a run up too difficult, running while doing a windmill thing with my arms – my limbs wouldn’t stay coordinated.  I tried it without a run up but couldn’t seem to generate enough power to get the ball all the way down the pitch (22 yards is actually a really long way).  My friend eventually gave up trying to teach me a run up and let me bowl my balls from half way down the pitch, which made it easier.  I think I’m more of a batsman.

taking a shot

So what’s next for my cricketing career?  Have a left it too late to realise my obvious potential and take my talent on to the international stage?  I would have thought so…until I came across James Southerton while cataloguing some old photographs.  Our cataloguing team here at the MCC are working our way though a massive collection of old photos, some still currently completely uncatalogued.

J Southerton 2nd from left center row (with a rather sinister looking WG Grace 2nd from right)

J Southerton 2nd from left center row (with a rather sinister looking WG Grace 2nd from right)

I’ve been working on this rather marvelous photo of the United South of England Eleven taken in 1875.  I was entering the details of all the figures onto our persons index and was very interested to read that James Southerton was (and remains) the oldest test debutant.  He made his debut at the age of 49 years and 119 days!  He did OK too, taking 3 wickets in a match against Australia, he also played in the following test before retiring from the international game to run a pub.  The important thing is it means there’s hope for me.  If I spend the next 15 years sorting out my bowling action, get my limbs coordinated and manage to get the ball all the way to the other end maybe I could be the one to break his record.  It’s something to aim for.  Wish me luck!

James Southerton - he made his debut at an age that all international cricketers these days would have retired by!

James Southerton – he made his debut at an age that all international cricketers these days would have retired by!

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Filed under Australia, bowling, cataloguing, Cricket, Cricket records, England, History, MCC, test cricket, WG Grace, women's cricket

Death of a Cricketer

Obviously a big death is in the news at the moment.  How we should remember her? what type of funeral? etc.  It’s got me thinking about death (cheery I know) and reminded me of the week I spent cataloging memorial and funeral service brochures.  Some of them were moving, some sad, some uplifting.  Here are a few of my favourites.

Larwood mem

As you may know if you read my ‘Villains?’ a few weeks ago Harold Larwood was a somewhat controversial figure due to the part he played in bodyline bowling.  Yet many believed his disgrace was ill deserved and the Rector’s words reflect this in the opening address.

“Harold lived as he bowled – honestly, steadfastly and wholeheartedly.  For various reasons, which are now part of the game’s history, he was not always appreciated but despite this he continued his spell with fortitude and preserved his own integrity.”

A very nicely put tribute I think.

Don Bradman mem

I like this one because it’s nice and joyful.  I love the picture on the front, it’s so 1930s and reminds me what incredible times this man saw (as well as being an incredible cricketer).  I think the cartoon on the back with the umpires signal of ‘out’ is touching and funny.

owzat DonMy very favourite though, makes me feel sad.

Hedley Verity mem

Unlike the first two, his life was cut short violently and prematurely   At just 38 he died in Italy as a prisoner of war from wounds received during an attack on a German battalion in Sicily.  Before he went missing in action his last known words were “keep going, keep going” urging his men on in the attack.  At first there was hope he might have survived his wounds and be in a prisoner of war camp but word was received of his death and the Telegraph & Argus paid this moving tribute on 2 September 1943…

Wherever good cricket is appreciated, wherever sportsmanship is accepted as an indication of character, wherever men are honoured not because they are wealthy or gifted, but because they are in the true sense of the word men, there will the name of Hedley Verity be ever respected.

The humble last resting place of Hedley Verity.

(Memorial and funeral service brochures are among the many interesting and quirky items that can be viewed in the Lord’s Museum, Archive and Library.  Catalogue available on-line soon.) As well as a brave and well respected man he was a great bowler with the best first-class average in his day and the only man to take 14 wickets in a single day in a test match.  His death was a terrible waste of talent.

Here’s me hunting for interesting things to show you.

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Filed under Australia, bowling, cataloguing, Cricket, death, England, History, injury, Librarianship, MCC

This is London – how d’ye like it?

After one year here I still feel like a tourist.

After one year here I still feel like a tourist.

I never fail to be surprised by the unexpected things you find in cricket annuals.   Today in was a poem about London.  This caught my eye as it’s now just over a year since I moved to London to work at Lord’s.  I absolutely love it!  I like the energy, the noise, the architecture, the history, the feeling of being on a film set and (unlike most) I find it really friendly.  The author of the poem was not so impressed.

DESCRIPTION OF LONDON

Houses, churchers, mix”d together;

Streets, unpleasant in all weather;

Prisons, palaces,  contiguous;

Gates – a bridge, the Thames irriguous;

Showy outsides, insides empty;

Bubbles, trades, mechanic arts,

Coaches, Wheelbarrows, and carts;

Warrants, bailiffs, bills unpaid,

Lords of laundresses afraid;

Rogues that nightly shoot at men.

Hangmen, aldermen, and footmen;

Lawyers, poets,  priest, physicians;

Noble, simple – all conditions;

Worth, beneath a thread-bare cover;

Villany, bedaub’d all over;

Women, black, red, fair and grey,

Prudes, and such as never pray;

Handsome, ugly, noisy, still,

Some that will not – some that will;

Many a beau without a shilling,

Many a widow – not unwilling;

Many a bargain, if you strike it:

This is London – how d’ye like it?

I found it in W.Whitham’s List of Cricket Matches 1895.

list of cricket matches

I’m not into poetry and not entirely sure of his meaning, but most of it doesn’t sound very complimentary!  He admits there’s lots going on, which is good I suppose, but he also claims there are nightly shootings and women with loose morals and that all the streets are unpleasant.

I notice the book is from Sheffield, very close to where I grew up.  In my experience there is a lot of distrust of London life in that part of the world.  My Grandma in particular was full of complaints – “it’s dirty, smelly, noisy, full of crime, where all the money goes, over crowded, on the news too much.” (although if it was really full of crime I never understood why she should complain why it was on the news all the time, surely all that crime needed to be reported).  She never actually went to London of course.

Well I like London!  Anyone else have any strong opinions either way?  Have any of you met many ‘willing widows’ here?

Let me know.

Me and my husband being touristy at the Monument

Me and my husband being touristy at the Monument

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Filed under Cricket, History, Librarianship, London, Poetry

Recognise this?

ground

Where is this?

MCC needs you!  (Well, your help recognising this picture any way).

My colleagues in the archive are busy sorting and cataloguing Estates Department files from the 1930s to the 60s.  The Estates Department deals with the grounds and properties of Lord’s and Alan was going through a wonderful box of material relating to the care of pitches and the construction of artificial pitches.  Among some photos of grounds staff testing out various rollers on the nursery ground he found the picture above, it’s not Lord’s so where is it?  Can any of you help?  The sanity of the archiving team may depend on it!

 

thoughful

Baffled and confused – they need your help!

If anyone can help us please send me a message.

Thanks!

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Filed under archive, cataloguing, Cricket, cricket grounds, History, Librarianship, Lord's Cricket Ground, MCC

On the Origin of Cricket

At the home of cricket seeking the origins of cricket.

At the home of cricket seeking the origins of cricket.

The origin of cricket is rather obscure.  In Ralph Dellor and Stephen Lamb’s ‘History of Cricket’ they speculate that primeval man may well have played a bat and ball game similar to cricket as a form of hunting practice!  But they offer no evidence of this and concede that cricket as we know it was probably first played by shepherds in Kent “as a means of whiling away the time spent watching their flocks on those upland pastures.”  The name ‘cricket’ as also of obscure origin, Trevor Bailey in ‘A History of Cricket’ says it derives from an Anglo-Saxon word ‘cricce’ meaning staff or crutch as early cricket may have been played with a staff and got its name that way.  Simon Hughes however in ‘And God Created Cricket’ offers the horrifying possibility that cricket may have been invented by the French!  The word ‘criquet’ was a word for a stick and ball game introduced into English by the Normans, the French Normans also had the word ‘wiket’ meaning small gate and ‘beil’ crosspiece.  Henry Blofeld in ‘Cricket and All That’ maintains a more English version, that cricket originated from the word ‘creag’ that was used to describe a ball game played by Edward I in around 1300.  The Wisden Illustrated History of Cricket also refer to ‘creag’ but feel the reference is unreliable and cite a 1598 reference to ‘crickett’ as the first reliable reference –  in a legal dispute over land a witness states that he “did play there at crickett and other plaies.”

So the books in the MCC Library don’t quite agree.  Andrew did find this nice little four part pictorial history in a newspaper clippings file which I think tells the story rather well.

focus on fact 1

focus on fact 2

focus on fact 3

focus on fact 4

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Filed under archive, Cricket, England, History, Librarianship, Lord's Cricket Ground, MCC

Men in pants

arrow2b

Haven’t had much time for the blog this last week as I’ve been beavering away with my cataloguing as well as battling a horrible cold and finding time to play with my bow and arrow.  I’ve seen lots of interesting and baffling things in my brochures and annuals thoughI’m always amazed by what books supposedly about cricket can actually tell you about the societies they’re written by, be it gender, race, class – all the big issues can be found somewhere in our cricket collection.  This week what has stood out as a fascinating issue in my annuals is the changing ideal of masculinity.  I have chosen to depict my findings through a pictorial collection of men in their underwear – enjoy!

We start in the 1920’s with the ‘An-on’, the Onesie of it’s day. Note that the model demonstrates his masculinity with his manly moustache and is clearly an athletic gentlemen, also note the availability of ‘super silk’ for the sophisticated sensually inclined man.

In the 1930’s the look is rawer, more minimalist and assertive. This man shows his confidence with his revealing undergarments, flaunts his manly figure with his stance and challenges us with his forceful, almost confrontational facial expression.

By the early 1960s things had changed once more, we now have a man at ease with himself and fully in touch with his feminine side. The image suggests he is far more concerned with avoiding ‘flaccid elastic’ than with proving his masculinity.

So what have we learnt?  Any comments?

Aside from exploring men in their underwear I’ve also spent this week working on a digital story from Kushil Gunaskera about the power of sport.  Please have a listen at http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/power-sport

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Filed under advertisements, adverts, British Empire, cataloguing, Cricket, England, India, Librarianship, Lord's Cricket Ground, MCC, Sri Lanka, underwear