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The Cricket Memorial at The Hambledon Club

Updated: May 13

In the penultimate of his six-part series, historian Stephen Saunders tells us about the Cricket Memorial that sits proudly on the boundary of Broadfhalfpenny Down.

The idea of a Cricket Memorial was first mooted in July 1906 when the Hambledon Club accepted a challenge to play a side from the Veterans of England. However, the match never took place.

The subject was raised again the following year when Edward Whalley-Tooker proposed the erection of a memorial on the site of the original ground, at the General Meeting held on 15 October 1907. A sub-committee was formed to progress this. The Reverend H. Floud, as secretary to the sub-committee, wrote to the owners of the ground, the Pease family, for permission to erect a memorial and also to Bertram Cancellor, a Winchester architect, for a design.

The design that Cancellor came up with was considered far too elaborate and expensive so he was asked to come up with something simpler.

He then hastily, because of time pressure, prepared a rough sketch reflecting the base of King Arthur’s statue in Winchester. This was accepted.

Captain Butler, the President, drafted a letter inviting subscriptions which he sent to all the county clubs and many other cricket clubs and organisations. Donations were also sought from local people and businesses. The total sum raised was £112 and 4 shillings.

The firm of Vokes and Beck in Winchester (still in existence today) were appointed to manage the erection of the Memorial. The three granite sections were cut and prepared in a Cornish quarry run by Messrs. Sweet of Liskeard. The base stone is ten feet square and the column eight feet high. The stones came by train to Droxford station and then by steam wagons to the ground. The weather was appalling and the erection of the Memorial became a real challenge.

A newly minted half-crown was placed under the column. The granite stones cost £92.

The total cost of the project was £111, 5 shillings and a penny, leaving 18 shillings and 11 pence, which was handed to the All England match committee.

It was arranged that a first-class match would again be played on Broadhalfpenny Down (the last one being in 1781) between Hambledon, captained by E. Whalley-Tooker, and England on September 10, 11, 12, 1908 and that the Memorial would be unveiled by Dr. W. G. Grace during the lunch interval on the first day. However, Dr. Grace did not turn up so the Memorial was unveiled by E M Sprot, the captain of Hampshire.

Capt. White and Hill were replaced in the Hambledon team by Bignell and the Rev. Jephson. The latter scored the second (and last) first-class century on the ground, after John Small in 1775. Hambledon won the match by five wickets.

In February 1952 Historic England listed the Cricket Memorial as Grade II and nowadays it is enjoyed by players and spectators alike.

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