Victorian letters reveal history of Jesmond Cricket Ground

As Jesmond Cricket Ground celebrates its 125th anniversary, handwritten Victorian letters go on display telling of its past

A Victorian letter about the purchase of Jesmond Cricket Ground
A Victorian letter about the purchase of Jesmond Cricket Ground

Handwritten Victorian letters that chronicle how a North East sports ground was salvaged for future generations are to go on display.

Jesmond Cricket Ground, in Newcastle, is today a thriving sports facility which plays host to some of Tyneside’s best teams.

But its future was secured by pledges of cash from a number of key North East figures - including the former Prime Minister Earl Grey.

Today, in the year the ground celebrates its 125th anniversary, their letters can be viewed by the public as part of the English Heritage Open Days project, which is designed to celebrate the country’s architecture and culture.

 

Mike Gatting, the former England captain who is about to become President of the prestigious Marlborough Cricket Club, has also prepared a video message for visitors.

Alan McKenna, Chairman of Northumberland County Cricket Club, said it is a unique opportunity for fans and residents.

He said: “Northumberland has been based at this ground for more than a century.

“It’s no mean feat to have reached this milestone and we’re delighted to be marking it with such a special celebration.”

Newcastle Cricket Club Co-Chair Nick Humble said the event is an opportunity for people to explore the ground’s history.

He said: “This ground has been part of people’s lives for generations – whether they’re enjoying watching the cricket or sharing this beautiful spot for family events like christenings, it means a lot for people here and around the world.

“We’re delighted to have shared its history with so many local people over this year.”

A ceremony at lunchtime will also see a roll of honour announced naming those who have contributed to the club throughout its history.

Other activities to mark the Open Days include displays, family activities and a discovery trail.

Former Ground Trustee Nicholas Craig will also read extracts and give a presentation about the background.

The actual anniversary on July 14 was marked by cricket matches, a town crier declaration and a blessing of the stumps, following three days of activities with more than 600 pupils and teachers at West Jesmond School.

An audio guide has been launched to capture the stories of the people commemorated by the Memorial Benches, and the Tyne and Wear Archive has also set up a Jesmond Ground Archive.

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