NOTTINGHAM: Trent Bridge is another of the old cricket grounds in England rich in history. Home to the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, it was established in 1841. Its pavilion is the oldest in England, older than the ones at Lord’s and The Oval. Like those and other venues in this country, special attention is paid to the preservation of legacy.
Of the many pieces of history scattered around the stadium, a newcomer’s attention is certain to be drawn by a row of bats above a bar in one of the members’ enclosures.
There are several dozens of them, used by those who played the game many decades ago. Some belong to players who strode the turf nearly a century ago. Lined up one after another in surroundings modernised in order to stay with time, they create a fascinating sight.
Each bat has their owner’s name written on small metal plate stuck over them. The first name that draws attention is WG Grace.
There are other big names like Jack Hobbs and Bodyline legend Harold Larwood. Although the latter was a fast bowler, he was a player of Nottinghamshire. It’s not just Englishmen.
This collection also has bats used by Australian Clem Hill and Learie Constantine of the West Indies. Almost all these bats were used by those who played before the Second World War.
Noted cricket historian Peter Wynne-Thomas, who has been awarded a British Empire Medal for his work and after whom the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club’s library is named, says these bats are from the collection of a millionaire who had above 100 of them.
After his death, the club has got some of them and put them up for posterity. While ball rooms are not unheard of in clubs like this, at Trent Bridge they have what can be called a ‘bat room’.