Sunday, 10 June 2012

Mr Thomas Lord

Thomas Lord was born in Thirsk, Yorkshire on 23rd November 1755 in what is now the town museum, but the family later moved to Diss in Norfolk where Thomas was brought up. As a young man, Lord moved to London and got a job as a bowler and general attendant at the White Conduit Club in Islington. In 1786 Lord was approached by the Earl of Winchilsea, and the Duke of Richmond, who were the leading members of the White Conduit Club. They wanted him to find a more private venue for their club and made a guarantee against any losses he might suffer. In May 1787 Lord acquired seven acres off Dorset Square in Mary-le-Bone and started his first ground. White Conduit relocated there and soon afterwards formed, or merged into, the new Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
The lease on thist ground ended in 1810. Lord's second venue, the subject of our book, was built by 1809. However this land was acquired for the Regent's Canal, which was to cut through the site and thereby necessitating a further move. Lord then moved his ground to the present site in St John's Wood, literally taking his turf with him. It opened in 1814. Lord was not, however, making enough money and therefore obtained permission to develop part of the ground for housing. To counter his plan, Lord was bought out for £5,000 by prominent MCC member William Ward, a noted batsman who was also a director of the Bank of England. Despite the change of ownership, the ground has continued to bear Lord's name.
Lord remained in St John's Wood till 1830 when he retired to West Meon in Hampshire, where he died in 1832. He is buried in the churchyard of St John's Church at West Meon. The village has a public house named after him and is just a few miles from Hambledon, home of the famous Hambledon Cricket Club.

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