Tag Archives: archive

Recognise this?


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!



Baffled and confused – they need your help!

If anyone can help us please send me a message.



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

Two against eleven

Found a lovely brochure for an interesting match in 1936

1936 players

The match was played to celebrate and replicate a match played in September 1834 when Edward Wenman and Richard Mills, who both played for Kent, went up against 11 Isle of Oxney players for the high stake of £20 in what was described at the time as a “manly exercise”.  It’s said that 4,000 spectators came out to watch, even though the match was played in a “very marshy and thinly populated district”, lots of cash was placed in bets with most backing the 2 to be victorious against the 11.

original 2

The ‘Benenden 2’ batted first and made a partnership of 150 before Edward Wenman was bowled by a D.Nere for 65.  The situation meant that just one wicket had to fall for there innings to be over, it would have been quite an anti-climax for the 4,000 had either of them gone for a duck!  But as the match report says they took care with their wickets and “guarded them with as scrupulous care as a sacred relic would have been by monks of old.”

So next they took to the field, with one man bowling and the other presumably covering all fielding positions!  They bowled Oxney all out for a paltry 55 with ‘extras’ as top scorer on 22 (not bad with only one fielder to stop byes).  In their second innings the 2 scored a more modest 48 with Mills caught on 29, this left Oxney to chase 144 for victory.  They made just 77 with extras top scoring again.  The crowd were delighted and match report verdict “we must say that these two scientific players have achieved a triumph that will never be forgotten by those who beheld it”

Unfortunately I don’t have the same detail of the replica match result, I know that the 11 were all out for 153 in the first innings and the 2 replied with 186, but I don’t know how the match ended, if anyone does please get in touch!  I do know that Ashdown was the only first class cricketer to play cricket before World War I and after World War II (he came out of retirement at 48 in 1947 for one final match), but that’s all I had time to find out.

Incomplete scorecard from the 1936 match.  Can any of you fill the gaps for me?

Incomplete scorecard from the 1936 match. Can any of you fill the gaps for me?

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Filed under archive, Cricket

Take to the slopes…at Lord’s!

sky logo

This is real!  In 1972 there was a plan to construct a ski slope at Lord’s to be used during the winter months.  The plan was actually under serious discussion for a number of years before being abandoned.

Like LOCOG, who were responsible for transforming Lord’s into an archery ground this summer for the 2012 Olympics, Lord’s Ski School Ltd wound take responsibility for any security requirements and for demolishing the slope at the end of the skiing season and returning the ground to normal (wonder what the groundsmen would have made of this!).

detailed plan for running the ski school.

detailed plan for running the ski school.

The ground was transformed for the Olympics...but it's still hard to picture a ski slope!

The ground was transformed for the Olympics…but it’s still hard to picture a ski slope!

Just when I think I’ve seen it all the archive reveals a new gem.  Hopefully I’ll have some more finds to share soon.

archive bright

So many treasures waiting to be discovered!

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Filed under archive, Cricket, Lord's Cricket Ground, MCC, skiing

‘The Denton Plan’: the answer to bad umpiring?

Alastair Cook trudges back to the dressing room after a bad lbw decision.

Alastair Cook trudges back to the dressing room after a bad lbw decision.

The debate over what to do about bad umpiring is rife again today after Cook was given out lbw to a ball that was heading wide of off stump.  DRS might have saved him, but is it really the answer?  DRS was introduced to reduce umpire errors but only seems to have stimulated more arguments over its effectiveness and it’s effect on the flow of the game.  It is not being used in the current India v. England test series and in a recent blog Mike Selvey argues that it has made the quality if umpiring worse  (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2012/dec/03/india-england-drs-umpires-worse ).  And what about cricket at other levels?  Can the Counties afford DRS?  What about club cricket where even providing neutral umpiring can be a challenge in small towns where everyone knows everyone (listen to Montgomery CC members talking about the match where an umpire gave 7 batsmen out lbw in one innings off his son-in-law’s bowling! http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/1960s-club-bowling-legend-bert-davies-and-7-lbws-one-innings).

But fear not cricket fans!  My colleague Alan Rees has discovered the answer to umpiring woes buried deep in the archive.  I present…The Denton Plan!


As you can see the plan is pretty detailed and I couldn’t quite fit it all on my scanner, but I hope this gives you the gist.  Basically the only way a batman can be out is run out or bowled – Bat v. ball is the Denton mantra.  This plan was received by the MCC in 1965 and was surprisingly rejected as it was felt it would received little favour from cricket fans, but what do you think?  Denton believed it would not only solve all umpiring problems but would also make the game more exciting.

Here he lays out all the problems the Denton Plan will solve.  (Problems he claims are mostly caused by Australians!)

Here he lays out all the problems the Denton Plan will solve. (Problems he claims are mostly caused by Australians!)

I have to admit that I’m not entirely convinced.  It might make cricket simpler but the potential complexity of the game is one of the reasons I fell in love with it.  I like a good relaxing draw now and then, I even enjoy bad umpiring decisions deep down – they give you something to discuss and get angry about!  Let me know what you think, could this be the future?


Filed under archive, Cricket, England, India, MCC, umpiring

back to cataloguing


Busy week here at Lord’s, although I’ve had to spend most of my time working on the catalogue and have had very little time to give to TTF.  I’m especially grateful, therefore, to Andrew Black at Montgomery Cricket Club (http://www.takingthefield.com/clubs/montgomery-cricket-club) who’s created some fabulous videos for the website without me having to do any work at all!  Please take a look at them, the one about the glacier mints is my favourite.

While Andrew Black is doing all my work for me on the website I’m slaving away with the catalogue.  My manager gave me a friendly reminder this week that all library material needs to be ready to go online by February.  There are 142 boxes of material still to catalogue and I’m currently working at a rate of 2 boxes per week – you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to work out that means I seriously have to speed up!  So for the next few weeks there will be less listening to cricketing memories and less creation of digital stories and more of me tied to my desk trawling through box after box of annuals, periodicals and programmes recording vital information like how many pages each booklet has, how big it is and who printed it and where etc.

Before they can go on the catalogue all objects have to be carefully measured by our Measuring Officer Linda Gordon.

Before they can go on the catalogue all objects have to be carefully measured by our Measuring Officer Linda Gordon.

Cataloguing can be interesting some of the time, but some of the material is pretty routine repetitive stuff.  A nice diversion is looking out for comedy adverts, I found a nice baffling one the other day in a 1950s Indian match programme, I have no comment to make about this, what do you think? So many interesting themes I just don’t know where to begin…

oven advert

Better get back to the coal face, need to catalogue about 500 more match programmes by the end of today if I want to stay on track!

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Filed under advertisements, adverts, archive, cataloguing, Cricket, India, Librarianship, MCC, oral history

more than a mink coat…

Women: central to a cricket club?

Women: central to a cricket club?

Something that has struck me in listening to the Taking the Field stories is how central women have always been to most of the clubs, these days clubs have thriving girls and women’s teams but in the past women were also important as spectators, administrators or for under taking the vitally important role of making the cricket tea!  Here at the MCC women have not had such a central role for quite as long as shown in this very sweet letter found by MCC archivist Robert Curphey among the secretaries correspondence.

lady letter 2

A copy of the reply was found along side.

lady reply 2

I’m not sure I like the way he agrees that her ‘friends are entirely correct’ – thus she is foolish!  Guess she’s had the last laugh as Betty Archdale, Edna Barker, Audrey Collins, Carole Cornthwaite, Jackie Court, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, Sheila Hill, Norma Izard, Diana Rait Kerr and Netta Rheinberg became the first honorary lady members in 1999.

It makes me feel very sad that women had to wait until 1999 to be allowed to become members of the MCC, but I suppose perhaps I should just celebrate that we got there in the end, though I wish it had been in time for Madeline Gale to get her dearest wish.

Hear some happier tales of women and cricket at  http://www.takingthefield.com/ . My Favourites include :

The sky’s the limit –  http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/skys-limit

The girls and girlies of Spondon C.C. –  http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/girls-and-girlies-spondon-cc

The tea ladies and Royal Hill Road –  http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/spondon-ccs-grounds-1-tea-ladies-and-royal-hill-road

(Letters supplied by Robert Curphey at the MCC Archive.  Photograph of ‘Miss Cricket Queen’ from Yorkshire County Cricket Club: American tour 1964, supplied by MCC Library).


Filed under archive, Cricket, lady members, Librarianship, MCC, women's cricket