Late last year, I was lucky enough to go on a tour of Lord’s Cricket Ground, one of the most historic sporting sites in the whole of London.
We started the tour in the museum, a fantastic two-floor space full of cricketing memorabilia, including bats, balls, kit, photography and some great paintings. I overheard one awestruck Australian teenager stage whisper to his father, “Daad! This is the kind of museum I could spend time in!”
After we’d had a short time to peruse the objects, a guide arrived to take us on the tour. Clearly an expert on his subject, and possessing a fine sense of humour, our guide really enhanced the tour for us. As well as being hugely knowledgeable (answering any questions we had), he also tailored the tour to the group: the day we went, there were four Indian tourists, a host of Australians, some British people, and one Irish guy. Perhaps about 30 people, all with varying knowledge of the game; yet I don’t think anyone was bored by too many simple facts, or left behind because he assumed too much cricketing knowledge.
On the tour, we saw the famous Long Room, designed by Thomas Verity (also responsible for the design of the Royal Albert Hall) lined with portraits of well-known figures from the game; the Committee Room, where all the big issues about the game have been discussed, including the laws of cricket; and the Dressing Rooms, with the fascinating Lord’s Honours Boards on the walls, and balconies offering impressive views of the pitch.
We then left the Grade II*-listed building to watch some Real Tennis being played in the Lord’s Tennis Court (a very confusing game like a cross between tennis and squash, but with very hard balls!); spent some time in the stands, and returned to the museum with our guide. He showed us his museum highlights among the objects on display, including the tiny Ashes urn.
Finally, we headed out to the award-winning J P Morgan Media Centre, an incredible, futuristic building which is gorgeous both inside and out. It was great to be able to sit in the comfy white workspace of sports journalists with such an impeccable view of the ground.
The Lord’s tour took about 1 hour 40 minutes, and I loved every minute. I was struck by how much history and culture you could learn about in one place. Starting with the beautiful Victorian paintings in the Long Room and finishing in the white minimalism of the Media Centre, it felt like we’d been on a journey though history! My husband, more of a cricket fan than a history fan, particularly enjoyed seeing the Lord’s Honours Boards in the Dressing Rooms.
We can’t wait to go back to Lord’s to see the Archery, one of the Olympic sports we were lucky enough to get tickets for. Being part of the London 2012 Olympic Games will just be another incredible chapter in the history of this wonderful venue.
Fancy going and seeing Lord’s Cricket Ground yourself? You can book a Lord’s Tour on visitlondon.com I attended this tour at the invitation of Lord’s.