The best part of our London tour was the day we went to Lord’s Cricket Ground. The weather was fantastic with the bright sunshine and warm temperature of about 16 degrees.
Owned by the Marylebone Cricket Club, Lord’s is widely referred to as the ‘home of cricket’ and has the oldest sporting museum. We started our tour in the museum. Being early for our guided tour, we had enough time to wander through the two-floor museum full of cricketing memorabilia including balls and bats of course, photographs and some paintings and kits donated by great players including Dravid, Warne and McGrath among others.
After spending some time in the museum, a guide arrived to take us on the tour. He was an elderly gentleman with a fine sense of humour who really enhanced our tour experience. Apart from being immensely knowledgeable, he also tailored the tour to the group. We were a group of about 15 people and there was the only one couple from Australia. When they introduced themselves, he commented, “Oh, well you people do know how to play Cricket after all.” 🙂
On the tour, we walked through the heart of the Pavillion to the famed Long Room, which is lined with portraits of well-known figures from the game. It has such a unique atmosphere that you find yourself transported back in time. It is also the room through which the players make their way to and from the ground. Here, the guide told us that when the players from the visiting team walk through this room on to the ground, we give them a really warm welcome. When the home team walks through, we give them a warmer welcome, perhaps. 😛
We then went into the Committee Room – where all the big issues about the game are discussed including the laws of cricket. The Queen, when she visits also sits in this room.
The Pavilion also contains the Dressing Rooms of the home team and the visiting team with the fascinating Lord’s Honours Boards on the walls which commemorate all the centuries scored in Test matches on the Lord’s ground and all instances of a bowler’s taking five wickets in a Test innings and ten wickets in a Test match, and balconies offering impressive views of the pitch.
On entering the balcony, our guide turned to us with a twinkle in his eyes and asked us, “Now do you have anything to say?” “Ganguly’s shirt”, said my husband. The guide then narrated the incident of 2002 when a frenzied Ganguly took off his shirt and waved it from the Lord’s balcony after India achieved an improbable win against England in a one-day tri-series final.
Finally, we headed out to the award-winning J P Morgan Media Centre, an incredible futuristic building which is gorgeous both inside and out. However, I found this ultra modern space to be a bit out-of-place in this old historic ground. But that’s just me. Still it was great to be able to sit in the white workspace of sports journalists with such an impeccable view of the ground.
In the 2 hour Lord’s tour, I felt like we’d been on a journey through history. That place holds so much history and culture from the beautiful Victorian paintings in the Long Room to the white minimalist Media centre. It was definitely a journey through history.