Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 3 July 2011





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Lordís - imposing and memorable museum

LORDíS GROUND: Playing cricket at Lordís Cricket Ground in England is a chance of a lifetime for any cricketer because of its past history.

To portray the atmosphere at Lordís, or even its history, with an effort to compare it with other grounds is difficult. There may be many areas bigger, more glamorous, but there is something special that makes Lordís totally different from the rest.

The Mound Stand at Lordís built to commemorate the bicentenary presents an enchanting view of the ground.

Whether it is history, hoary tradition, or the sheer beauty of it that has been built upon it over two centuries is difficult to explain. There is a touch sanctity about the whole atmosphere which one may not experience anywhere.

Is ďLord be praisedĒ sufficient for the man
Whose role was prime when MCC began.
Its life and Sorset Fields saw Cricket.
And Thomas Lord himself prepared each Ďwicket.í
Until the time, protected twice by fate.
He moved his turf on the Eyre estate?
And there he made, as history as history has unfurled,
A ground that is the envy of the world.

- Dubert Doggart

(Treasurer, MCC).

Lordís is a big venture and there have been many people who put their weight to get the place in order over many years. There were 12 apostles that each and all had a special affection for Lordís and that over a long period of time and made their deep mark upon the Club and the ground.

Top billing goes to Rev. Lord Frederick Beauclerk. He was a great player in his early days. When his playing days were over he ruled Lordís pavilion in the most autocratic way, ďlaying down the law and organising the games,Ē in a methodical manner.

A rare spectacle of bats used by the immortals of the game.

Cricketing gear of the great Don Bradman including the blazer is carefully kept in a case.

Then the next in line was Benjamin Aislable - the first known secretary of MCC (1822-42). Lordís was a rough place in the early days and though a fire in 1825 but Aislable was able to put things in some order.

Then there was the champion himself Dr. W. G. Grace who first place for the MCC at the age of 21 years and went on doing so for the next 40 years. Grace started playing cricket in 1865. Over-arm bowling was only legalised in 1864. The first Test in England in which ĎW.G.í played and made the first hundred was in 1880.

Then there was the 4th Lord Harris (1851 to 1932), Sir Francis Eden Lacey (1869-1946), Sir Pelham Francis Warner (1873-1963), Harry Surtees Althem (1888-1965), Elias Henry Hendren (1889-1962), Sir George Oswald Browning Alien (1902), Ronald Aird (1902-1986), Denis Charles Scott Compton (1918), Frederick John Titmus (1932). Denis Compton was a real charmer who quickly won the hearts of the Lordís crowd from his introduction in 1936 until his retirement (hastened by injury) in 1958, Denis joined the Lordís staff from Bell Lane School, hendon, as a 14-year-old and seen emerged as a star. To portray the atmosphere at Lordís or even its history is a big task no doubt. So much has been written and seen about Lordís. There may be many areas bigger, but there is some pride that makes Lordís totally different from the rest. Whether it is history, heary tradition, or the sheer aura that has been built upon it over two centuries or more will be difficult to explain.

Rare experience

One portion that really engulfs a person in a mood of nostalgia is the Long Room. If one has the power of imagination and to romanticise events then the chances are certain that the beholder be transported into a world of fantasy, almost two centuries behind when the game of cricket was at its fantasy, almost two centuries behind when the game of cricket was at its infancy.

The walls are adorned with paintings from the masters depicting the growth of this sport through different eras. The glass panelled long windows and the high backed chairs for the members to sit and watch the game on the emerald coloured grass in the middle add to the touch of grandeur, if not to emphasise the trace of modernity.

Versatile Fry

The Long Room is a veritable art gallery, possessing some remarkable paintings and mementos.

Portraits of under-arm bowling, tea stump wickets and the famous painting of two boys tossing the bat up area some of the fascinating work of art. At one corner the attention is drawn to the fine piece of painting of Douglas Jardin, and not far from it is the portrait of Sir Pelham Warner, the soft eyes and calm face conveying the essence of humility and humaneness.

Ironically, Jardine and Warner were the captain and manager respectively during the robust bodyline tour of Australia. Among the mementos, the striking one is that of the cigarette case presented to Sir Jack Hobbs by the Maharani of Vizianagaram.

And close by are portraits of two famous cricketers born in Australia and knighted ďGobbyĒ Allen, came to England from Australia at an young age, and the other is that of Bradman who was the scourge of the Englishmen as long as he stayed at the crease.

The most imposing object is the splendid bust of W.G. Grace that seems to spread the radiance of cricket not only through the museum but the whole area encompassing the ground. The row of bats used by legendary batsmen, including Ranjitsinghji, transports one to these balmy days.

Equally awe-inspiring is the equipment used by Sir Donald Bradman, the blazer included.


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