Lord's pavilion, opened 1890
Lord’s first cricket ground, owned by Marylebone Cricket Club, was named after its founder, Thomas Lord, who leased the Dorset ground and ran the club for 12 years. It closed in 1811 and Lord moved the turf and all the equipment to the second ground in North Bank.
The third Lord’s Ground moved to the current ground in St John’s Wood in London in 1814, which became the centre of world cricket. The initial match in the new ground took place that very year. And with the growing success of the game, Thomas Lord built the pavilion and refreshment stalls. Unfortunately the pavilion was destroyed by a fire in 1825.
After the fire, the new replacement pavilion was rebuilt and became one of the most famous landmarks in world cricket. This second pavilion at Lord’s Cricket Ground was built in 1889 and opened in 1890 at great cost, just in time for the new cricket season. Designed by Thomas and Frank Verity, note the brick with ornate pink terracotta facings and the long, two storey centre section with raked, covered seating. Above, between the 2 end pavilions capped with pyramidal roofs, were ornate wrought and cast iron lanterns. Like the rest of Lord’s, this Victorian pavilion was owned by Marylebone Cricket Club-MCC and served the England national cricket team.
The first International Test match played at Lord's was between England and Australia in 1884; Australia lost. Australia's first test win at the grounds was in 1888.
The Long Room
Until 1999 women weren't allowed to enter the pavilion in play, due to the MCC’s gender-based membership policy.
The Victorian building was grade II listed under the Planning Act 1990, amended for its special architectural or historic interest. With conservation in mind, the building was closed in 2004 for a major renovation costing £8.2 million. The pavilion seating was extended to the upper levels and the Long Room was refurbished.
Players get into their Whites in the dressing room, and parade through the Long Room en route to the cricket field. The pavilion was re-decorated with elegant Victorian features and the walls were lined with paintings of famous cricketers and administrators, from the C18th until today. For the few non-English players who have had their portrait placed here, it was always a great honour. Only four Australian cricketers have ever been honoured in this way, naturally the most important being Sir Don Bradman. He scored an epic 254 runs on this ground in 1930, a record which lasted for 60 years. If a player successfully scored a century or took five wickets in a Test innings, their names appeared on the honours board in the dressing rooms.
MCC members and guests have free access to the room, with views of the ground through impressive sash windows. Inside the pavilion is like an elegant pub, with different rooms attracting people who socialise and watch the cricket. When there is no game, the Long Room is available on a private hire basis for conferences and cocktail parties.
The Media Centre at Lord’s was commissioned in time for the 1999 Cricket World Cup. I don’t understand the technical details so I am quoting the experts. It was the first all-aluminium, semi-monocoque structural system building in the world, built and fitted out in two boat yards, using revolutionary boat-building technology. The centre stands 15 metres above the ground and its support comes from the structure around its two lift shafts, the same height as the Pavilion on the opposite side of the cricket ground. The lower tier of the centre accommodates 100+ journalists, and the top tier has radio and tv commentary boxes.
The new media centre was designed by Czech architect Jan Kaplický. Kaplický considered this media centre his favourite creation because it was both a revolutionary design and an achievement that users loved. In 1999 Lord’s media centre won the Royal Institute of British Architects/RIBA Stirling Prize, Britain’s most prestigious architectural award. In 2000 Jan Kaplický became an Honourable Fellow of RIBA and in 2001 he won the World Architecture Awards.
The MCC Museum was originally opened by the Duke of Edinburgh, as a war memorial to cricketers who died in WW2. The centrepiece is the story of the porcelain Ashes Urn (a gift to Lord Darnley from Melbourne ladies during England’s 1882-3 tour of Australia) and an exquisite silver urn from manager Frank Laver’s successful tour of England in 1909. Famous cricketer Sir Ponsonby Fane ransacked all London’s art dealer shops, looking for cricket prints and paintings, and building up the art collection. But now the picture gallery has many different types of exhibitions eg special bats and a massive collection of textiles: blazers, ties, caps, badges and cricket outfits. The newest MCC Museum was opened in Nov 2006.
At Lord’s Cricket Ground, each stand that surrounds the pitch had a separate identity, totally unconnected to its neighbouring stands. I thought this was awful, but the designers saw it as their main architectural challenge.