Tuesday, February 14, 2012


A fascinating day's work!

I love the enthusiasms of other people.
Today we have been with a man with a strong, strong passion for cricket - and Sussex cricket in particular.
He has been watching cricket since being a very small boy. He began collecting cricket items as he saved his tickets and programmes from the first matches he saw at Hove.
He is now the custodian of a most amazing collection. It is his pride and joy -but so is the Sussex Cricket Club. The club have now provided a big room to establish a museum. My man is a trustee of the developing museum. He reports that the room still needs work and suffers from damp.
There is no way his lifetime's collection can be moved yet a while to a damp home.
At the moment 3 rooms of his house are the museum.
He has books, pictures, ephemera, equipment - thousands and thousands of pieces.
I was totally entranced.
I could have stayed all day, listening to him and photographing so many fascinating items connected with the cricket heroes of the past - and the present.
Pehaps the most fascinating item was the earliest known cricket ball, dating from about 1770.  There were balls before that and games of cricket were played before that - but nothing remains.

That is the ball and a woman's shoe.
The two are very much connected.
The ball was found in the plasterwork of a house in Lewes - along with shoes.
The shoes have been positively dated as being between 1760 and 1770.
Occasionally balls have been concealed in buildings with shoes. It was considered a good luck charm in Sussex to conceal a shoe in a building - to ward off evil spirits.

Cricketers, like every other man, needed a belt to keep trousers up.
These are examples of belts and buckles for every day use (not whilst playing the game).

The village of Hambledon on the south coast  is famed as the birthplace of modern cricket.
But I learned that much cricket was played in the 1700s and 1800s around the village of Firle - preumably led by the Gage Family of Firle Park.  I have ancestors employed by the Gage Family and who played cricket in Firle - don't know about the 1700s, but certainly in the last 100 or so years.
This early poster was for a cricket fair in the nearby village of Chalvington.

Having recently sold some crested china I was fascinated to see some in the shapes of cricket bats and bags.

I hadn't realised before that the crest for the village of Lindfield - not far from us, has a cricketing theme.

We so enjoyed our visit to this lovely couple. The mans' wife doesn't have the cricketing passion, but is very proud of all he has achieved.
He has written many books about Sussex cricket.

So, in many, many ways this has been a memorable Ebay sale. Yes, we delivered some rare items for the collection.
Facsimile copies will be made and sold to benefit museum funds.
And one day the museum itself will be ready to house a life time's passion.