Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/388

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actually play on the same sward as did old Small, the crack batsman of the famous old Hambledon Club—in fact the turf, after it was taken from the old ground in Dorset Square and relaid on the North Bank pitch, was transferred to the St John's Wood enclosure. The old pavilion unfortunately was destroyed by fire just after the conclusion of the first Winchester v. Harrow match on the 28th of July 1825, Nearly all the records and many important documents in connection with the game were destroyed—such documents, for instance, as scores and notes of matches; while it is stated that Lord had over £2000 due to him for subscriptions. But the books were burned and Lord was anxious to retire. The situation was critical, speculating builders were on the alert, and but for the prompt action of Mr William Ward, M.P. for the City of London, the ground would speedily have been studded with villas Mr Ward purchased the lease at a high price, drawing a cheque for £5000, and giving it to Lord, In the year 1836 Mr Ward, from altered circumstances, retired from his mansion in Bloomsbury Square and sold the lease of Lord's to Mr John Henry Dark, who became the proprietor. Nine years earlier, however, in 1827, the first university match was played at Lord's, and that year the remuneration of professional cricketers was fixed at a standard of £6 per head for the winning side and £4 for the losers. In 1843 his late Royal Highness the Prince Consort became a patron, while the following year I find there were 465 members on the roll of the club.

In 1863 Mr Dark proposed to part with his interest in Lord's ground for £15,000, the remainder of the lease being twenty-nine and a half years. A committee was appointed to report on the matter, and in 1864 the sum of £11,000 was agreed upon by Mr Dark for the purchase of his premises, which comprised the tavern, racquet and tennis court, billiard-room, and cricket-ground. The ground-landlord, Mr Moses, offered to renew the ground-rent for ninety-nine years at £550 per annum: it had previously been £150. In 1865 Mr Marsden (late Moses) offered to sell outright for £21,000. This was eventually reduced to £18,150, and the following year Mr William Nicholson, a member of the M.C.C. committee, and captain of the Harrow Eleven in 1843, in the most handsome manner advanced the money on a mortgage of the premises at £5 per cent, which he afterwards reduced to £4 per cent. At a special general meeting on May 2, 1866, Mr Nicholson's proposal was unanimously adopted, and from that period, when the famous old club could call the ground its own, the progress year by year has been