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The home of cricket. A number of words have been suggested as sources for the term "cricket". In the earliest definite reference to the sport in 1598 it is called 'creckett'. One possible source for the name is the Old English cricc or cryce meaning a crutch or staff. In Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, he derived cricket from "cryce, Saxon, a stick". Early cricket was at some time or another described as "a club striking a ball (like) the ancient games of club-ball, stool-ball, trap-ball, stob-ball". Cricket can definitely be traced back to Tudor times in early 16th-century England. Written evidence exists of a game known as creag being played by Prince Edward, the son of Edward I (Longshanks), at Newenden, Kent in 1301 and there has been speculation, but no evidence, that this was a form of cricket. t is believed that it was originally a children's game but references around 1610 indicate that adults had started playing it and the earliest reference to inter-parish or village cricket occurs soon afterwards. In 1624, a player called Jasper Vinall was killed when he was struck on the head during a match between two parish teams in Sussex. During the 17th century, numerous references indicate the growth of cricket in the south-east of England. By the end of the century, it had become an organised activity being played for high stakes and it is believed that the first professionals appeared in the years following the Restoration in 1660. A newspaper report survives of "a great cricket match" with eleven players a side that was played for high stakes in Sussex in 1697, and this is the earliest known reference to a cricket match of such importance.

 

The game underwent major development in the 18th century and became the national sport of England. Betting played a major part in that development with rich patrons forming their own "select XIs". Cricket was prominent in London as early as 1707 and large crowds flocked to matches on the Artillery Ground in Finsbury. The single wicket form of the sport attracted huge crowds and wagers to match. In the 1730s Frederick Prince of Wales played a major role in developing the sport. Bowling evolved around 1760 when bowlers began to pitch the ball instead of rolling or skimming it towards the batsman. This caused a revolution in bat design because, to deal with the bouncing ball, it was necessary to introduce the modern straight bat in place of the old "hockey stick" shape. The Hambledon Club was founded in the 1760s and, for the next 20 years until the formation of MCC and the opening of Lord's Old Ground in 1787, Hambledon was both the game's greatest club and its focal point. MCC quickly became the sport's premier club and the custodian of the Laws of Cricket. New Laws introduced in the latter part of the 18th century included the three stump wicket and leg before wicket (lbw). The 19th century saw underarm bowling replaced by first roundarm and then overarm bowling. Both developments were controversial.

 

Lords is named after its founder, Thomas Lord, and it is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). Lord's today is not on its original site, being the third of three grounds that Lord established between 1787 and 1814. His first ground, now referred to as Lord's Old Ground, was where Dorset Square now stands. His second ground, Lord's Middle Ground, was used from 1811 to 1813 before being abandoned to make way for the construction through its outfield of the Regent's Canal. The present Lord's ground is about 250 yards (230 m) north-west of the site of the Middle Ground. The earliest known match played on the current Lord's Cricket Ground was Marylebone Cricket Club v Hertfordshire on 22 June 1814. The annual Eton v Harrow match was first played on the Old Ground in 1805, and on the present Lord's Cricket Ground in July 1818. Lord's is the home of the MCC Museum, which is the oldest sports museum in the world, and contains the world's most celebrated collection of cricket memorabilia, including The Ashes urn. MCC has been collecting memorabilia since 1864. The items on display include cricket kit used by, e.g., Victor Trumper, Jack Hobbs, Don Bradman and Shane Warne, many items related to the career of W. G. Grace; and curiosities such as the stuffed sparrow that was 'bowled out' by Jahangir Khan of Cambridge University in delivering a ball to T. N. Pearce batting for M.C.C on 3 July 1936. It also contains the battered copy of Wisden that helped to sustain E. W. Swanton through his captivity in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. The Museum continues to collect historic artefacts and also commissions new paintings and photography. A recently opened exhibition, which celebrates the life and career of Brian Lara, is especially suitable for children. Lords tours are available daily; they are 100 minutes and there are 4 (winter) to 6 (summer) each day. The museum can also be viewed by any ticket holder on match days. It is wheelchair accessible. In June 2006, MCC launched an audio description service, which means that blind and partially-sighted fans can now listen to live ball-by-ball commentary on the majority of match days at Lord's.

 

Location : St John's Wood Rd, London NW8 8QN

Transport: St. Johns Wood (Jubilee Line). London Buses routes 6, 13, 16, 82, 98, 113, 332, 414 stop nearby.

Opening Times: Daily for Tours. Any match day.

Tickets : Adults £18.00    Children (5 - 15) / Concessions £12.00

Match Days : Adults £3.00    Children (5 - 15) / Concessions £1.00

Major Match Days (Test, International etc) : Free

Tel: 020 7432 1000