Cricket’s Crown Jewels, which is split into two parts, sets out to display the very best of the Lord’s Collections and was the inspiration for an overall refurbishment of the upper gallery, made possible by J.P. Morgan as part of its ongoing partnership with MCC.
The first part of the celebration focused on the literary gems of the collection and was timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. It explored ten fascinating stories told by early cricket books, and showcased MCC’s historic full set of Wisden, as well as singular books such as the 1939 Almanack kept by E.W. Swanton while a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and the only known example of the Catapulta, the world’s first bowling machine. Alongside these historic tales sit six modern examples of the wide-ranging research which takes place in today’s Library and Archive, including costume research for the TV series, Downton Abbey.
Chronicling the history of the world’s most famous sports book, the displays also bring to light many of the hidden treasures included in the MCC Library and Archive, which contains more than 20,000 volumes – the largest collection of cricket books in the public domain.
Commenting on the new exhibition, MCC’s Curator, Adam Chadwick, said: “MCC is delighted to unveil part one of the Cricket’s Crown Jewels exhibition at Lord’s, and to welcome guests to enjoy the newly refurbished upper gallery in the MCC Museum. The Club is very proud of the exhibition, which in addition to celebrating the 150th edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, highlights the remarkable and unparalleled holdings of the MCC Library and Archive.
“The MCC Museum is the cornerstone of the Club’s commitment to the heritage of cricket and of Lord’s; it is not just an essential part of what the Club is but a building with a dynamic in which cricket history is collected, conserved and researched.”
Part one of the exhibition is set to run throughout this year and is open to all visitors to Lord’s as well as the Lord’s Tour. In 2014 the second section of Cricket’s Crown Jewels will be launched, focusing on the object collection.
The Lord’s Tour offers cricket lovers the chance to see behind the scenes at the Home of Cricket, including views from the world famous dressing rooms, the J.P. Morgan Media Centre, and the iconic Long Room. Ahead of the forthcoming and much anticipated Ashes Series, visitors will also get to see cricket’s most precious and famed artefact, the original Ashes urn, which is housed in the MCC Museum.