Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Shrewsbury, Arthur

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SHREWSBURY, ARTHUR (1856–1903), Nottinghamshire cricketer, fourth son of seven children of William Shrewsbury and Elizabeth Ann Wragg, was born in Kyle Street, New Lenton, Nottinghamshire, on 11 April 1856. His father, a designer, draughtsman, and lace manufacturer, was also proprietor of the Queen's Hotel, Nottingham. His elder brother William (b. 30 April 1854), who succeeded his father as proprietor of the Queen's Hotel in 1885 and emigrated to Canada in 1891, played cricket for Notts county in 1876, and was for a time cricket coach at Eton. After education at the People's College, Nottingham, Shrewsbury became a draughtsman. Showing promise in local cricket, as well as in football, he turned professional cricketer, and modelling his style on that of Richard Daft [q. v. Suppl. I], first appeared at Lord's for the Colts of England v. M.C.C. in May 1873. Ill-health prevented him from playing in 1874, but next year he played regularly for the Notts team, and in June 1876 he scored his first century (118 v. Yorkshire) in first-class cricket. In 1880 he established an athletic outfitter's business in Queen Street, Nottingham, with Alfred Shaw [q. v. Suppl. II].

The turning-point in Shrewsbury's career was his visit, in the winter of 1881, to Australia as joint manager of Alfred Shaw's team; the climate improved his health and strength. Shrewsbury thrice subsequently (in 1884-5, 1886-7, 1887-8) visited Australia as manager with Shaw. The fourth tour proved financially disastrous. But Shrewsbury remained in the colony after its close and managed, again at financial loss, a Rugby football tour, which he and Shaw organised, to Australia and New Zealand. On his return to England at the end of 1888 he received a testimonial from Nottingham, and played regularly (except in 1894 trwing to ill-health) for the county until 1902.

Shrewsbury's most successful seasons were from 1882 to 1893, during which he headed the English batting averages on five occasions (in 1885, 1887, 1890, 1891, 1892); his chief scores were 207 for Notts v. Surrey at the Oval in August 1882, and 164 for England v. Australia at Lord's in July 1886, when he played the famous Australian bowlers with ease and confidence. In 1887 his success was unparalleled; he played eight three-figure innings (including 267 v. Middlesex), scored 1653 runs, and had the remarkable average of 78. Later noteworthy scores were 206 v. All Australia during his fourth visit to Australia in 1887-8, and 108 and 81 for England v. Australia at Lord's in July 1893 on a difficult wicket. In May 1890 he with William Gunn created a fresh record by putting on 398 runs for the second wicket for Notts v. Sussex. In his last season (of 1902) he scored in July two separate centuries (101 and 127 not out) in the match v. Gloucester at Trent Bridge. During his career he scored sixty centuries in first-class cricket.

The main features of Shrewsbury's batting were, like those of his model, Richard Daft, his strong back play and his perfect timing; his strong defence, caution, and unwearying patience made him excellent on treacherous wickets. He was short, and his body worked like clockwork together with the bat. He did much to popularise leg play. His fielding was first-class, especially close in to the wickets.

In 1903 an internal complaint, which Shrewsbury believed to be incurable, unhinged his mind, and he shot himself at his sister's residence, The Limes, Gtedling, on 19 May 1903, being buried in the churchyard there.

[The Times, 20 May 1903; Haygarth's Scores and Biographies, xii. 658, xiv. 89-90; Wisden's Cricketers' Almanack, 1904, 71-2; W. F. Grundy, Memento of Arthur Shrewsbury's last match, Nottingham, 1904; Daft's Kings of Cricket (portrait on p. 149); W. Caffyn's Seventy-one not out, 1889; A. W. Pullin's Alfred Shaw, Cricketer, 1902 (passim); W. G. Grace's Cricketing Reminiscences, 1899, pp. 379-80; A. T. Lilley, Twenty-five Years of Cricket, 1912; notes kindly supplied by Mr. P. M. Thornton. Portraits appeared in Sporting Mirror for July 1883; Cricket, 28 July and 29 Dec. 1892; Baily's Magazine, June 1894.]

W. B. O.