Sketch of 19th century cricket match

Batting for history at Lord’s Old Cricket Ground

Marylebone Cricket Club may have been hosting matches at its current location for more than two centuries, but this site is not its first home

Dorset Square, just a short stroll from Marylebone Station, was the original home of Thomas Lord’s cricket ground. The 28-year-old Yorkshireman, who opened the ground in 1787, combined his love of cricket with a sharp business sense.

Green hut in Dorset Square with commemorative plaques to Lord's Old Cricket Ground
Green hut in Dorset Square with plaques commemorating Lord’s Old Cricket Ground

The ground was situated on part of the modern Dorset Square and extended to the modern Ivor Place, Boston Place and about one-third of Marylebone Station.The seven-acre field had enough space for the playing surface, over 2,000 spectators and a covered space for refreshments.

The first match at Lord’s Old Ground was played on May 21, 1787, between the White Conduit Club and the County of Middlesex at ‘the new cricket ground, the New Road, Mary-le-Bone’.

The ground was used until August 1810 when the lease expired. Lord opened a new ground at Lisson Grove, but fate and the march of progress intervened just a few years later when the land was requisitioned for the new Regent’s Canal.

Undaunted, Thomas Lord laid out a new ground at what is now the permanent home of Lord’s – and the first match was played at this site in June, 1814.

Top image shows: Vacation Amusements (No. 3) Cricket (A Long Innings) by John (‘HB’) Doyle, published 1840 (Photo: National Portrait Gallery)

The England versus West Indies test match series, due to start last month at Lord’s, will now open on July 8 and will be played in Southampton and Manchester instead of London and Birmingham. There will be no spectators and the players will stay and play on-site under strict quarantine conditions.

Share this post