site unseen The first Lord's Cricket Ground, Dorset Square, London

The smell of cut grass and the sudden appearance in newspapers of long lists of cricket scores - baffling to the uninitiated - herald the arrival of summer.

All over the country, strange equipment emerges from lofts and attics. Liberal quantities of Ralgex are being applied to aching limbs after the first painful game. Euro 96 is just a fleeting distraction from the main business at hand.

Of course, cricket is not everyone's game but even the most unenthusiastic have heard of Lord's, the game's headquarters and home of the MCC - the Marylebone Cricket Club.

But wait a moment, isn't Lord's in St John's Wood? In which case, why isn't it the "StJWCC"? And why Lord's in the first place? Good questions. The answers are provided by a wine merchant whose father had lost out in Bonnie Prince Charlie's rebellion.

In 1786, a group of aristocrats, unhappy with their existing ground in Islington, commissioned Thomas Lord to provide new premises. As a Yorkshireman whose father's financial misfortunes were a permanent blight, the handsome Lord had ingratiated himself with the nobility - helped by his cricketing prowess, particularly some demon under-arm bowling.

Throughout the winter of 1786/87, the indefatigable Lord toiled away preparing a new ground in the rural fields of Marylebone. His efforts were rewarded on 31st May 1787, when Middlesex played Essex for the princely sum of 200 guineas - in other words, despite the objections of purists, cricket was a commercial pursuit from the start.

Twenty years later, however, the growth of London meant that this ground was no longer quite so secluded. It was time to move. The pitch was later surrounded by delightful Georgian housing, still present and elegantly correct. The square was named after one of Thomas Lord's patrons, the Duke of Dorset.

Thomas Lord built his second ground further to the north, picking an unpopular site that he opened in 1809. Fortunately for him, John Nash soon came knocking on the door. Eager to build the Regent's Canal, Nash needed Lord's land.

Lord acquiesced. This (third) time he went still further northwards, to distant St John's Wood, opening his new venue in 1814. The MCC has been here ever since. What it has, it certainly holds. Short of a bloody revolution, Lord's will live on for centuries to come.

But all cricket lovers should pay a visit to the shed in the middle of Dorset Square where a plaque commemorates Lord's efforts.

It all began here.

Dorset Square, London NW1

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
News
Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us