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Brian Levison’s Cricket Grounds Then and Now offers a historic and nostalgic insight into the pasts of some of the most iconic cricket grounds around the world, paired with their modern-day equivalent in a Then & Now format, and this extract takes a look at the amazing Lord’s cricket ground.


Eton vs Harrow

The Eton vs Harrow match dates from 1805 and has been played annually at Lord’s since 1822 with a few exceptions. By the time this photograph was taken in 1932, the match was no longer quite as central in the social and cricketing calendar as it had been, perhaps peaking in 1914 when over 38,000 people attended over two days. Spectators strolled on the outfield during the intervals and picnicked in the traditional carriages parked at the boundary’s edge. Famous individuals who played in this match include Lord Byron, who took part in the 1805 match, Lord Hawke, future captain of Yorkshire and England, and Archie MacLaren, who scored a then-world-record 424 for Lancashire against Somerset.

During the war years, the fixture was played alternately at each school’s ground, but returned to Lord’s in 1946. The traditional carriages were still brought along for the game well into the 1950s, as the photo attests. Since 1999, the match has been played in a one-innings, limited-overs format, though the schools play each other in a longer form game away from Lord’s. Out of ten so-called Lord’s Schools who used to play at the ground, only the Eton vs Harrow game remains – though other schools can still have access to the Nursery pitch. Another tradition that has passed concerns access to the Pavilion’s famous Long Room. Cricketers must make their way from the dressing rooms to the pitch under the eyes of the members. Only men and the Queen were allowed in the Long Room, but in 1998 that rule was dropped. The photograph below shows the Eton vs Harrow match of 2021.

Extracted from Cricket Grounds then & Now by Brian Levison. Out now.