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In 2013, in a list compiled by the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, the Aboriginal Cricket Tour of 1868 was included as one of the 100 most defining moments in Australian history. The all-Aboriginal team was the first Australian cricket team to tour the UK and the first visit by indigenous Australians to gain widespread awareness in this country. The new displays at Lord’s this year explore the history of the cricket tour in general and this tour in particular, in the year of its 150th anniversary.

Aboriginal artefacts from The Royal Albert Memorial Museum, newly identified from the 1868 cricket tour to the UK, are reunited with the Aboriginal club (Leangle) from M.C.C.’s own collection for the first time since the original tour. The original Ashes urn, a memento from the 1882-3 English tour to Australia, will also feature.

A Century of Cricket Games

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The exhibition brings together twentieth century cricket board, card and dice games with particular focus on unique hand-made games, prototypes, and early edition commercial games.

In its second phase from 2017, the show will include early computer games and other games from the early part of the century, such as pinball.

The exhibition examines domestic play, consumer culture and how games can reflect real life by using player averages and statistics.

Highlights on display include The Cass Family Board Game on loan from the V&A Museum and popular board games such as Subbuteo Cricket.

In addition to the games themselves are anecdotes and photographs from manufacturers such as Peter Adolph, the inventor of the Subbuteo table games.

Warner Exhibition

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The MCC Museum has unveiled a new exhibition documenting the development of the new Warner Stand at Lord’s, and paying tribute to Sir Pelham Warner himself.

The exhibition is the first in a series of displays which will document MCC’s redevelopment of Lord’s, which is due to continue over the next 20 years.

Work began on the new Warner Stand at the end of the 2015 season, and the new structure was fully opened at the England v Ireland ODI in May 2017.

It includes vastly improved sight lines for spectators, a new match control suite for officials and a state-of-the-art roof which ensures that spectators will benefit from both shade and natural light. Solar thermal and photovoltaic panels on the roof will also generate hot water and electricity.

The exhibition features models of the new stand as well as displays, photographs, plans and memorabilia relating to the original Warner Stand which was erected in 1958 and demolished in 2015.

It also pays tribute to the career of Sir Pelham Warner – the first person after whom a stand at Lord’s was named.

Warner captained MCC on its first overseas and later served the Club as a Committee Member, Deputy Secretary, Trustee, and President. He became its first Life Vice-President in 1961.

South Africa Cricket Exhibition
MCC museum, first floor level, March 2017 - February 2018

South Africa Exhibition
Objects featured in the South Africa Exhibition

South African cricket has so often been affected by off-field troubles, such as the well-known D’Oliveira affair of 1968 and the long years of isolation that ended only with the fall of the National Party government and its apartheid policies.

But while racial politics have never been far below the surface in the country’s sporting history, this exhibition reflected how much more there is to explore, from the early cricket played by British soldiers stationed in the Cape following the Napoleonic Wars to the re-emergence of South Africa as a major force in international cricket in the 1990s and beyond.

Artefacts on display included several from the family of South African Test cricketer Russell Endean, an outstanding all-round sportsman who set the mould for outstanding fielding, later followed by his compatriots Colin Bland and Jonty Rhodes.

Prominent among these were the scrapbooks he kept during his tour of Australia with the South African team in 1952–53 and a stump which was split during the final Test of that tour in Melbourne.

Also featured were several items relating to Geoff Griffin’s remarkable, sole Test match at Lord’s, in which he became the first bowler to take a Test hat-trick at the ground, while also being no-balled so often due to his unusual action that he never played Test cricket again.

‘Illustrating Cricket 1950 – 1965’ 
MCC Museum, ground floor, October 2015 – March 2016

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The exhibition explored 24 original colour illustrations from Ladybird’s vintage books, ‘The Story of Cricket’, published in 1964, as well as The Boys’ Book of Cricket (1949-1954) and The MCC Book for the Young Cricketer (1950-1953).

These books, filled with images of an Arcadian landscape in which fresh-faced boys played their cricket as though childhood would never end, are highly stylised, and quintessentially British.

The Story of Cricket romanticised the English cricket season where there is no mention of it ever raining, just of ‘fine summer day[s]’ and ‘women and girls wear[ing] pretty summer dresses’.

This exhibition was made possible by the generous loan of ‘The Story of Cricket’ (1964) artwork from Ladybird Ventures. The exhibition coincided with Ladybird’s century of publishing educational books for children (1915 – 2015).

Like the original book, the exhibition was aimed to engage a new generation of cricket lovers and inspire communities to engage in cricket. ‘HowZart’ - a Community Arts Educational Programme ran parallel to the exhibition.

Curated by Charlotte Goodhew with thanks to Ladybird Ventures and MCC librarian Neil Robinson.