Lord's Cricket Ground, commonly known as Lord's, is a cricket venue in St John's Wood, London. Named after its founder, Thomas Lord, it is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and is the home of Middlesex County Cricket Club, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the European Cricket Council (ECC) and, until August 2005, the International Cricket Council (ICC). Lord's is widely referred to as the Home of Cricket and is home to the world's oldest sporting museum.
|Location||St John's Wood, London, England|
|Owner||Marylebone Cricket Club|
|Tenants||England and Wales Cricket Board|
|Nursery End |
|First Test||21–23 July 1884:|
England v Australia
|Last Test||2–6 June 2021:|
England v New Zealand
|First ODI||26 August 1972:|
England v Australia
|Last ODI||14 July 2019:|
England v New Zealand
|First T20I||5 June 2009:|
England v Netherlands
|Last T20I||29 July 2018:|
Nepal v Netherlands
|First WODI||4 August 1976:|
England v Australia
|Last WODI||23 July 2017:|
England v India
|Only WT20I||21 June 2009:|
England v New Zealand
|As of 2 June 2021|
Lord's today is not on its original site; it is 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 ground can hold 30,000 spectators. Proposals are being developed to increase capacity and amenity. As of December 2013, it was proposed to redevelop the ground at a cost of around £200 million over a 14-year period.
The current ground celebrated its two hundredth anniversary in 2014. To mark the occasion, on 5 July an MCC XI captained by Sachin Tendulkar played a Rest of the World XI led by Shane Warne in a 50 overs match.
Acting on behalf of members of the White Conduit Club and backed against any losses by George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea and Colonel Charles Lennox, Thomas Lord opened his first ground in May 1787 on the site where Dorset Square now stands, on land leased from the Portman Estate. The White Conduit moved there from Islington, unhappy at the standard of the ground at White Conduit Fields, soon afterwards and reconstituted themselves as Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). It was thought that the establishment of a new ground would offer more exclusivity to its members, with White Conduit Fields considered too far away from fashionable Oxford Street and the West End. The first match played at the new ground saw Middlesex play Essex. In 1811, feeling obliged to relocate because of a rise in rent, Lord removed his turf and relaid it at his second ground. This was short-lived because it lay on the route decided by Parliament for the Regent's Canal, in addition to the ground being unpopular with patrons.
The "Middle Ground" was on the estate of the Eyre family, who offered Lord another plot nearby; and he again relocated his turf. This new ground was originally a duck pond on a hill in St. John's Wood, which gives rise to Lord's famous slope, which at the time was recorded as sloping 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) north to south. The new ground was opened in the 1814 season, with the MCC playing Hertfordshire in the first match on the ground on 22 June 1814.
A tavern was built in for Lord in 1813–14. First-class cricket was first played on the present ground in July 1814, with the MCC playing St John's Wood Cricket Club. The annual Eton v Harrow match, which was first played on the Old Ground in 1805, returned to the present ground on 29 July 1818. From 1822, the fixture has been almost an annual event at Lord's. The original pavilion was destroyed by fire following the first Winchester v Harrow match on 23 July 1823, which destroyed nearly all of the original records of the MCC and the wider game. The pavilion was promptly rebuilt by Lord. In 1825, the future of the ground was placed in jeopardy when Lord proposed developing the ground with housing at a time when St John's Wood was seeing rapid development. This was prevented by William Ward, who purchased the ground from Lord for £5,000. His purchase was celebrated in the following anonymous poem:
- And of all who frequent the ground named after Lord,
- On the list first and foremost should stand Mr Ward.
- No man will deny, I am sure, when I say
- That he's without rival first bat of the day,
- And although he has grown a little too stout,
- Even Matthews is bothered at bowling him out.
- He's our life blood and soul in this noblest of games,
- And yet on our praises he's many more claims;
- No pride, although rich, condescending and free,
- And a well informed man and a city M.P.
The first University Match between Oxford and Cambridge was held at Lord's in 1827, at the instigation of Charles Wordsworth, establishing what would be the oldest first-class fixture in the world until 2020. The ground remained under the ownership of Ward until 1835, after which it was handed over to James Dark. The pavilion was refurbished in 1838, with the addition of gas lighting. Around this time Lord's could still be considered a country ground, with open countryside to the north and west. Lord's was described by Lord Cottesloe in 1845 as being a primitive venue, with low benches put in a cricle around the ground at a good distance providing seating for spectators. Improvements to the ground were gradually made, with the introduction of a telegraph scoreboard in 1846. A small room was built on the north side of the pavilion in 1848 for professionals, providing them with a separate entrance to the field. In the same year scorecards were introduced for the first time, from a portable press, and drainage was installed in 1849–50.
The Australian Aboriginal cricket team toured England in 1868, with Lord's hosting one of their matches to a mixed response, with The Times describing the tourists as "a travestie upon cricketing at Lord's" and "the conquered natives of a convict colony". Dark proposed to part with his interest in the ground in 1863, for the fee of £15,000 for the remaining 29 and a half years of his lease. An agreement was reached in 1864, with Dark, who was seriously ill, selling his interests at Lord's for £11,000. The landlord of the ground, Isaac Moses, offered to sell it outright for £21,000 in 1865, which was reduced to £18,150. William Nicholson, who was a member of the MCC committee at the time advanced the money on a mortgage, with his proposal for the MCC to buy the ground being unanimously passed at a special general meeting on 2 May 1866. Following the purchase, a number of developments took place. These included the addition of cricket nets for players to practice and the construction of a grandstand designed by the architect Arthur Allom, which was built in the winter of 1867–68 and also provided accommodation for the press. The condition of the Lord's wicket was heavily criticised in the 1860s due to its poor condition, with Frederick Gale suggesting nine cricket grounds out of ten within 20 miles of London would have a better wicket; the condition was deemed so poor as to be dangerous that Sussex refused to play there in 1864.
By the 1860s and 1870s, the great social occasions of the season were the public schools match between Eton and Harrow, the University Match between Oxford and Cambridge, and the Gentlemen v Players, with all three matches attracting great crowds. Crowds became so large that they encroached on the playing area, which necessitated the introduction of the boundary system in 1866. Further crowd control measures were initiated in 1871, with the introduction of turnstiles. The pavilion was expanded in the mid 1860s and shortly thereafter it was decided to replace the original tavern with a new construction commencing in December 1867. At this time a nascent county game was beginning to take shape. With Lord's hosting more county matches, the pitches subsequently improved with the umpires being responsible for their preparation. Middlesex County Cricket Club, which had been founded in 1864, began playing their home games at Lord's in 1877 after vacating their ground in Chelsea, which had been considered a serious rival to Lord's given its noblemen backers. In 1873–74, a embankment was constructed which would could accommodate 4,000 spectators in four rows of seats. Four years later a new lodge and was constructed to replace an older lodge, along with a new workshop, stables and a store room at a cost of £1,000. To meet the ever increasing demand to accommodate more spectators, a temporary stand was constructed on the eastern side of the ground. After many years of complaints regarding the poor condition of the Lord's pitch, the MCC took action by installing Percy Pearce as Ground Superintendent in 1874. Pearce had previously held the same position at the County Ground, Hove. His appointment vastly improved the condition of the wicket, with The Standard describing them as "faultless".
The Australian cricket team captained by Dave Gregory first visited Lord's on 27 May 1878, defeating their MCC hosts by 9 wickets. This was considered a shock result and established not only the fame of the Australian team, but also the rivalry between England and Australia. Lord's hosted its first Test match during the 1884 Ashes, becoming the third venue in England to host Test cricket after The Oval and Old Trafford. The match was won by England by an innings and 5 runs, with England's A. G. Steel and Edmund Peate recording the first Test century and five wicket haul at Lord's respectively. As part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations for Queen Victoria in 1887, the Kings of Belgium, Denmark, Saxony, and Portugal attended Lord's. It was noted that none of them had any grasp of cricket. In the same year Lord's hosted the MCC's hundredth anniversary celebrations, with the MCC playing a celebratory match against England. With only a two-tiered covered grandstand and both increasing membership and spectator numbers, it was decided to build a new pavilion at a cost of £21,000. Construction on this pavilion, which was designed by Thomas Verity, took place in 1889–90. Soon after this, the MCC purchased the land to the east, known today as the Nursery Ground; this had previously been a market garden known as Henderson's Nursery. The ground was subsequently threatened by the Manchester and Sheffield Railways attempts to purchase the area for their line into Marylebone station. After considering the companies offer, the MCC relinquished a strip of land bordering Wellington Road and was given in exchange the Clergy Orphan School to the south.
It was rumoured that subsequent tunnelling under Wellington Road provided the banking for the Mound Stand, which was constructed in 1898/99 on an area previously occupied by tennis and rackets courts. The rapid development of Lord's was not well met by some, with critics suggesting Thomas Lord would 'turn in his grave' at Lord's expansion. 1899 saw Albert Trott hit a six over the pavilion while playing for the MCC against the touring Australians, remaining as of 2021 the only batsman to do so. The Imperial Cricket Conference was founded by England, Australia and South Africa in 1909, with Lord's serving as its headquarters. Lord's hosted three of the nine Test matches in the ill-fated 1912 Triangular Tournament which was organised by the South African millionaire Sir Abe Bailey. Lord's was requisitioned by the army during the First World War, accommodating the Territorial Army, Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and Royal Army Service Corps. Both cooking and wireless instruction classes were held at the ground for military personnel. Once the RAMC departed, the War Office used the Nursery Ground and other buildings as a training centre for Royal Artillery cadets. The pavilion and its long room were used throughout the war for the manufacture of hay nets for horses on the Western Front. Though requisitioned, Lord's held several charity cricket matches during the war, featuring military teams from the various territories of the British Empire.
Inter–war years and WWII
First-class cricket returned to Lord's in 1919, with a series of two-day matches in the County Championship. 1923 saw the installation of the Grace Gates, a tribute to W. G. Grace who had died in 1915. These replaced an earlier, less decorative, entrance to the ground. With attendances growing in number, it was suggested that Lord's aim to accommodate crowds of up to 40,000 for Test matches; however, the stands at the ground were considered inadequate with the grandstand described as "hopelessly out of date". To accommmodate these crowds, the old grandstand was demolished and a new one was built in its place in 1926, designed by the architect Sir Herbert Baker. Upon its completion, Baker presented Lord's with a weather vane Father Time removing the bails from a wicket, which was placed on top of the grandstand. The full weathervane is 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) tall, with the figure of Father Time standing at 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m). Baker further contributed to the landscape of Lord's by designing the Q Stand next to the pavilion in 1934, while at the Nursery End stands were also erected. Careful consideration was taken to preserve the treeline dividing the main ground from the Nursery Ground. Lord's hosted the first televised Test match during the Second Test of the 1938 Ashes series.
The 1935 season saw the Lord's pitches badly affected by crane fly larvae, known as leatherjackets. The larvae caused bald patches to appear on the playing surface and had to be removed by the ground staff, although spin bowlers did gain some benefit from the bare patches.
In contrast to the First World War, Lord's was not requisitioned by the military during the Second World War. Lord's hosted matches throughout the war for the London Counties cricket team, amongst others, which attracted large crowds. The ground was spared major damage from The Blitz. An oil bomb landed in the Nursery Ground in 1940, with a high-explosive bomb also narrowly missing the Nursery End stands in December of the same year. The grandstand and the pavilion were hit by incendiary bombs, damaging their roofs. The in-house Lord's firefighters reacted quickly and limited the damage. As the war progressed, the threat came not from the Luftwaffe but the newly developed V-1 flying bomb. Lord's had several near misses from these weapons in 1944, with one bomb landing 200 yards (180 m) short of the ground near to Regents Park. The Nursery Ground had been converted into a barrage balloon site. The most high profile damage during the war was that to Father Time, which was damaged by a one such balloon which had broken loose and drifted toward the grandstand, catching Father Time and despositing it into the seating at the front of the stand. International cricket resumed at the end of the war, with Lord's hosting one of the Victory Tests (though the matches did not actually have Test status) between the Australian Services cricket team and England.
Following the end of the war attendances at cricket matches grew. The gross attendance of 132,000 and the gate receipts of £43,000 for the Second Test of the 1948 Ashes series was a record for a Test match in England at that time. This demand necessitated further expansion of the ground, with the construction of the Warner Stand in 1958, which included snack bars and a press box. This stand was the work of the architect Kenneth Peacock. The record numbers of spectators who attended Test and County Championship matches began to decline by the end of the 1950s and cricket in England found itself in a position of 2.2 million paid County Championship spectators in 1947, dropping to 719,661 in 1963. To arrest this decline, List A one-day cricket was introduced in 1963, with Lord's hosting its first List A match in the 1963 Gillette Cup between Middlesex and Northamptonshire and later hosted the final of the competition between Sussex and Worcestershire in front of a sell-out 24,000 crowd. It was the first such final held anywhere in the world. The tavern and its adjoining buildings were demolished in 1968 to make way for the construction of the Tavern Stand, again designed by Peacock. The tavern was subsequently re-sited next to the Grace Gates and was complemented with a banqueting hall. Lord's hosted its first One Day International (ODI) in 1972, with Australia defeating England by 5 wickets. Three years later Lord's hosted the final of the inaugural World Cup, with the West Indies triumphing over Australia. Four years later, Lord's held the final of the 1979 World Cup, with the West Indies once against triumphing, this time against England.
A new indoor cricket school was completed in 1973 at the Nursery End, funded by £75,000 from Sir Jack Hayward and additional funds raised by the Lord's Taverners and The Sports Council. The Mound Stand was demolished in 1985 to make way for a new stand designed by Michael Hopkins and Partners, which opened in time for the MCC's bicentenary in 1987. The final decade of the 20th–century saw rapid redevelopment of Lord's. The indoor school closed in 1994, owing to the constuction of a new state-of-the-art indoor cricket centre which opened in 1995. The old grandstand was demolished in 1996, with a replacement designed by Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners being completed in 1998.
- Warner Stand
- Compton Stand (pre–2020)
- Edrich Stand (pre–2020)
- Mound Stand (left)
- Tavern Stand
- Allen Stand (right) (formerly Q Stand)
Many of the stands were rebuilt in the late 20th century. In 1987 the new Mound Stand, designed by Michael Hopkins and Partners, was opened, followed by the Grand Stand, designed by Nicholas Grimshaw, in 1996. The Media Centre, opposite the Pavilion between the Compton and Edrich Stands, was added in 1999. Designed by Future Systems, it won the Royal Institute of British Architects' Stirling Prize for 1999. The redevelopment of the Compton Stand and Edrich Stands was completed in 2021, adding 2,600 seats and bringing the ground capacity to 31,100 spectators. The two ends of the pitch are the Pavilion End (south-west), where the main members' pavilion is located, and the Nursery End (north-east), dominated by the Media Centre.
The main survivor from the Victorian era is the Pavilion, with its famous Long Room; this was built in 1889–90 to the designs of architect Thomas Verity. This historic landmark— a Grade II*-listed building— underwent an £8 million refurbishment programme in 2004–05. The pavilion is primarily for members of MCC, who may use its amenities, which include seats for viewing the cricket, the Long Room and its Bar, the Bowlers Bar, and a members' shop. At Middlesex matches the Pavilion is open to members of the Middlesex County Club. The Pavilion also contains the dressing rooms where players change, each of which has a small balcony for players to watch the play. In each of the two main dressing rooms are honours boards which commemorate all the centuries scored in Test matches or One Day Internationals (ODI) at Lord's, all instances of a bowler taking five wickets in a Test or ODI innings and all occurrences of a bowler taking ten wickets in a Test match.
- The Victorian-era Pavilion
- The Long Room in the pavilion
The Media Centre was commissioned in time for the 1999 Cricket World Cup, and was the first all-aluminium, semi-monocoque building in the world. It was built and fitted out in two boatyards, using boat-building technology. The centre stands 15 metres (49 ft) above the ground and its sole support comes from the structure around its two lift shafts— it is about the same height as the Pavilion directly opposite it on the other side of the ground. The lower tier of the centre provides accommodation for over 100 journalists, and the top tier has radio and television commentary boxes. The centre's only opening window is in the broadcasting box used by BBC Test Match Special. The building was awarded the RIBA Stirling Prize for architecture in 1999.
One of the most distinctive and famous features of the Lord's ground is the significant slope across the field. The north-west side of the playing surface is 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 ins) higher than the south-east side. This slope causes appreciable deviation in bounce of the ball on the pitch, making it easier to move the ball in to right-handed batsmen when bowling from the Pavilion End, and easier to move it away when bowling from the Nursery End. The outfield was notorious for becoming waterlogged, resulting in considerable loss of play due to rainfall, until clay soil was relaid with sand during the winter of 2002–2003.
Another feature of the ground is the pair of ornamental gates, named in honour of W. G. Grace. In 1923, the W. G. Grace Memorial Gates were erected at the St John's Wood Road entrance to the ground. They were designed by Sir Herbert Baker and the opening ceremony was performed by Sir Stanley Jackson, who had suggested the inclusion of the words The Great Cricketer in the dedication.
Temporary floodlights were installed at the ground in 2007, but were removed in 2008 after complaints of light pollution from local residents. In January 2009, Westminster City Council approved use of new retractable floodlights designed to minimise light spillage into nearby homes. Conditions of the approval included a five-year trial period during which up to 12 matches and 4 practice matches could be played under the lights from April to September. The lights must be dimmed to half-strength at 9.50 pm and be switched off by 11 pm. The floodlights were first used successfully on 27 May 2009 during the Twenty20 Cup match between Middlesex and Kent.
Lord's hosts Test matches, one-day internationals, most Middlesex home matches, MCC matches and (starting with a fixture between Middlesex and Surrey in July 2004) some of Middlesex's home Twenty20 games.
Lord's typically hosts two Tests every summer plus two one-day internationals. Lord's also plays host to the finals of the National Village Cricket Competition and the MCC Universities Challenge tournament. It hosted the Royal London Cup final until 2019.
The oldest permanent fixture at Lord's is the annual Eton versus Harrow match which began in 1805 (Lord Byron played in the 1805 Harrow XI) and celebrated its bicentenary in 2005. Since 2000 it has been 55 overs per side, but before that it was declaration and before that it was two innings per side over two days. Eton has the balance of wins, but the victor in the bicentenary year was Harrow.
The University Match between Cambridge University Cricket Club and Oxford University Cricket Club has been played at Lord's since 1827. The match was played as a three-day first-class fixture until 2000, and since then as a one-day match, with the first-class game alternating between Cambridge and Oxford.
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 Victor Trumper, Jack Hobbs, Don Bradman, Shane Warne, and others; 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 MCC 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. It contains the Brian Johnston Memorial Theatre, a cinema which screens historical cricket footage for visitors.
Lord's also has one of the largest and most comprehensive collection[s] of books and publications dedicated to cricket. The library includes over 17,000 volumes and is open by appointment. In 2010, a selection of 100 duplicates from the library's collection was offered for auction by Christie's with proceeds going to support the library.
Test matches at Lord's
Over one hundred Test matches have been played at Lord's, the first in 1884 when England defeated Australia by an innings and 5 runs. Australia's first win was in 1888 by 61 runs. South Africa played their first Test match at Lord's in 1907 and the ground was the host to an Australia v South Africa Test match in 1912. The West Indies appeared in a Test match at Lord's for the first time in 1928, to be followed by New Zealand (1931), India (1932), Pakistan (1954), Sri Lanka (1984), Zimbabwe (2000), Bangladesh (2005) and Ireland (2019). The hundredth Lord's Test match was in 2000, England v West Indies. As of 18 August 2019 England have played 137 Test matches at Lord's, winning 55, losing 32 and drawing 50.
Lord's often hosts two Test matches each summer, one match for each visiting team. In 2010, the ground hosted three Test matches: as well as England's matches against Bangladesh and Pakistan, a Test match between Australia and Pakistan was held there in July. Lord's was the venue of the 2000th test match when England hosted India from 21 to 25 July 2011.
Lacrosse was played at Lord's in 1833 by the Canadian pioneers of the sport, with Lacrosse returning to Lord's in October 1953 when Kenton and Old Thorntonians lacrosse clubs meeting there in a lacrosse championship match, with further fixtures following in November.
A baseball game was held at Lord's during World War I to raise funds for the Canadian Widows and Orphans Fund. A Canadian team played an American team in a match watched by 10,000 people. Bowls, archery and several other sports have been played at Lord's in the past, but never rugby or football.
Lord's hosted the London Pre Olympics Field Hockey Tournament in 1967. Pakistan vs India was notably the most anticipated match at Lords Cricket Ground which Pakistan won defeating their arch-rival India 1–0. Pakistan also defeated Belgium 2–0 at Lord's.
Lord's was also one of the venues for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The archery competition took place in front of the Pavilion, with the archers positioned in front of the Pavilion and the targets placed in front of the Media Centre just past the square. Prior to this, archery had been hosted at Lord's as far back as August 1844, when visiting Ioway Indians camped at Lord's and demonstrated their archery skills. Lord's also houses a real tennis court.
Test match records
- Graham Gooch (England):
Most Test runs (2015) and centuries (6) at Lord's. In 1990 against India, Gooch scored a record 333 & 123
- Glenn McGrath (Australia):
Best innings analysis (8/38) and joint most Test wickets (26) by an overseas bowler at Lord's
- Sir Donald Bradman (Australia):
His 254 in 1930, a ground record for 60 years, set up a total of 729/6 declared, which remains the ground record
- James Anderson (England):
Most Test wickets (103) at Lord's
|370||3rd||Denis Compton (208) & Bill Edrich (189)||England v. South Africa||1947|
|332||8th||Jonathan Trott (184) & Stuart Broad (169)||England v. Pakistan||2010|
|308||3rd||Graham Gooch (333) & Allan Lamb (139)||England v. India||1990|
|291||2nd||Robert Key (221) & Andrew Strauss (137)||England v. West Indies||2004|
|287*||2nd||Gordon Greenidge (214*) & Larry Gomes (92*)||West Indies v. England||1984|
All records correct as of 24 August 2019.
- List of international cricket centuries at Lord's Cricket Ground
- List of international cricket five-wicket hauls at Lord's
- Highest team total: 645/6 declared by Durham v Middlesex, 2002
- Lowest team total: 15 by MCC v Surrey, 1839
- Highest individual innings: 316* by Jack Hobbs for Surrey v Middlesex, 1926
- Three bowlers have taken a ten-wicket haul in an innings where the exact bowling figures are not recorded, however it is known they conceded less than 20 runs, they are William Lillywhite, Edmund Hinkly and John Wisden. The best bowling figures in an innings where the records are complete is Samuel Butler's 10 for 38 for Oxford v Cambridge in 1871.
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