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Thomas Lord's cricketing legacy

Brian Johnston commentating at Lord's for the BBC in 1957
Lord's has hosted some great matches many of them broadcast by the BBC

The man who gave his name to one of the most famous cricket grounds in the world was born in North Yorkshire. Thirsk Museum is based in a house in Kirkgate which was also the birthplace of Thomas Lord in November 1755.

His father, William, was a Roman Catholic yeoman who lost his lands for supporting the Jacobite rising in 1745 and afterwards had to find work as a labourer.

While Thomas was still a boy his family moved to Diss in Norfolk, where he went to school.

On leaving education, like many others before him, the young Thomas set out to seek fame and fortune in London.

Portrait of Thomas Lord
Lord was commissioned to find a site for a private cricket ground

He became a prosperous wine and spirit merchant and also took up cricket in his mid 20s. The young man began playing as a bowler for the White Conduit Club, which had members of the aristocracy among its players.

They played their cricket at White Conduit Fields at Islington but had no ground of their own and Lord, who was known to be an ambitious entrepreneur, was commissioned by the club to find a site for a private ground.

Initially he leased a ground on Dorset Fields in Marylebone and staged his first match there, Middlesex against Essex. The game was played on 31st May 1787, a date which marks the foundation of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

In 1814 Lord's moved to a new rural ground in St John's Wood, on land which had previously been home to a duck pond!

When Thomas Lord was 70 he retired and sold the ground for £5,000 to a Bank of England director, William Ward.

The ground has hosted some great matches over the years, many of them broadcast by the BBC, and has become known throughout the world to followers of the game of cricket.

Thomas Lord died in January 1832 but this Thirsk born man's name is forever linked with the famous home of the MCC.




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