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