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The History of
Winchmore Hill Sports Club

Written by Tony and Jennifer Bath in 1980
Section One - The Early Years


The Life and Times of Winchmore Hill - 1850 to 1900

Why The Paulin Ground?

How the Club began - 1880

Cricket - 1881 to 1914

The Great War Seasons - 1915 to 1918

Photographs and Illustrations

The Green Dragon Inn - circa 1870

Winchmore Hill Village Cricket Club 1881

Winchmore Hill Village Cricket Club 1887

The First XI - 1913

The Life and Times of Winchmore Hill - 1850 to 1900

Our story begins 'Once upon a time' during the second half of the 19th century, a time when much of the Cricket, Football, Tennis and Hockey as we know them today saw their beginnings in the 1870s and 1880s. They were the days of Queen Victoria some 5 generations ago. Gladstone and Disraeli vied with each other, Dickens was still writing , and the motor car and the aeroplane were still to come. To set the local scene of those far off times, let us recall the world of Winchmore Hill and its surrounding area.

It was a quiet, sleepy old country area covered with some woodland but mostly with open fields of corn and cattle. There were few houses, some large in attractive grounds, and others far apart or clustered round The Green at the junction of Broad Walk, Church Hill, Wades Hill, Middle Lane (Station Road) and Hoppers Road.

The earliest reference to Winchmore Hill is in a deed dated 1319, where the name is spelt Wynsemerhull. This, according to the authorities on English place names is probably derived from the Old English 'Wynsige' (a personal name) and 'maerhyll' (a boundary hill), thus the full name meaning 'the hill at the boundary of Wynsige's land'. With the passage of time the spelling changed gradually, to its present form and is so spelt in John Norden's Map of Middlesex, 1593.

An appropriate reference to 'Our Village', describing in humorous style Winchmore Hill as it then was, written by the poet Tom Hood when he lived in the village in 1829-1832, is taken from Meyers Observer and Local and General Advertiser of 14 November 1890 (The Enfield Gazette of today):-

'The village has still its Green of but not exceeding an acre and a half! It's common to all and fed off by nineteen cows, six ponies, three horses, five asses, two foals, seven pigs and a calf. Besides a pond in the middle, as is held by a sort of common law lease, and contains 20 ducks, 6 drakes, 3 ganders, 2 dead dogs, 4 drowned kittens and 12 geese'. (The pond was filled in at the turn of the 20th century.)

The Post Office Directory of 1859 gives the population of Winchmore Hill as 2000. This figure was nearly doubled in the Census of 1901. In 1864 direct communication from Enfield to the West End was by a four-horse omnibus. It ran twice daily from the Kings Head, Enfield via Winchmore Hill, Palmers Green, Wood Green, Manor House, Newington Green, Balls Pond Gate, The Angel Islington, to Charing Cross and Westminster Abbey. It cost one shilling (5p) from Enfield and Winchmore Hill to Islington - 3 pence (1.25p) extra inside - and took rather lass than 90 minutes.

The Great Northern Railway came to Winchmore Hill in 1869-1870 and the first train came through on April Fool's Day 1871. This remarkable achievement caused the little village to become a suburb of the great Metropolis of London.

In the village, the Post Office, on the edge of the Green opposite The Kings Head, where it is today, was also the grocery store. A telegraph wire to Southgate was laid in 1871. For some time the messages rarely exceeded three in number during the whole day and it is possible that the messengers spent much of their time delivering groceries.

Broad Walk was but a narrow track through the woods to Bourne Hill, The Pound for stray animals and The Woodman. Indeed the surrounding woodland from Grovelands to the railway and from Bourne Hill to The Green did not disappear for the advancement of housing until some seventy or so years ago, just within living memory.

On Church Hill stands St. Paul's Church, consecrated by the Bishop of London in June 1828. On the other side of Church Hill is the Chapel of the Quakers (who came in the 17th century) and their Society of Friends. The Friends Meeting House and the Quakers graveyard remain today.

There were fields where Ringwood Way and St. Paul's Church School are now, on which Tennis and Cricket were played from the early 1870s. Until the latter part of the last century there were few houses in Middle Lane (Station Road). No doubt the reader will know of the Queens Head public house, where a hostelry has stood since the days of Dick Turpin in the early years of the eighteenth century.

On to Green Lanes. Well named with trees on either side which did not disappear until nearly the turn of the nineteenth century. To the north, towards Enfield, is The Green Dragon. As this public house was virtually 'The Club House' until just before the Great War, some of its long history is worth mentioning. Records show that an Inn of that name has been in Winchmore Hill since 1750, and maps of the late eighteenth century indicated its site to be on the Green Lanes facing up Dog Kennel Lane (Green Dragon Lane). The Inn was moved to its present site, at the lower end of Vicars Moor Lane with Green Lanes, just before 1800 and remained until 1892 when it was rebuilt and became a Courage's house. The new building was in striking contrast to the old one and the outward features have been little altered, even to this day. During its history, The Green Dragon has had a reputation for its Skittle Alley, Cockfighting, as well as being the local Post Centre and a stopping point for the horse-bus because of its excellent stabling facilities.

The Green Dragon Inn - circa 1870
The inn was rebuilt in its present location sometime between 1801 and 1824. The original Green Dragon stood on the east side of Green Lanes, opposite Dog Kennel Lane (Green Dragon Lane).

We have now to record 'Ford's Grove'. The house, or rather mansion of the name, stood opposite Station Road and on the site at present occupied by Capitol House, Green Lanes. It looked across the New River and the spinney, over fields towards Edmonton and Enfield. Until 1889 it was the home of the Busk family. The last to live there was Thomas Teshmaker Busk who owned much of the above land which included the twenty or so acres across the river known to us as the Paulin Ground and the home of the Club. The spinney has changed little, though the pond has gone. The rest of the south east side of Firs Lane was cattle grazing land, but the north east in front of the present pavilion was Mr. Busk's private park surrounded by trees. Cattle did stray across and iron hurdles on wheels had to be placed strategically to keep them back - yes, in due course from the cricket table. As far as can be ascertained, the little footbridge seen on the spinney side of the Ford's Grove road bridge was the Busk's means of crossing the New River, which then had no fence as such, but just an iron post and rail to keep the cattle away.

Between Mr. Busk's property and what we know today as Firs Hall, was the Beaulieu Estate with its fine botanical collection. The great Cedar Tree to the right of the bend of the New River, and overlooking the Ground, is commemorated by its inclusion in the Club Badge. The residence stood approximately at the beginning of Elm Park Road.

In the times which we recall, Ford's Grove the road, was known as Mortiboy's Lane after the farmer who farmed the fields towards Highfield Road which extended to Firs Lane, and also whit is now the football area of our ground.

Open fields extended across Firs Farm towards Edmonton and the other way towards Enfield. Jews Corner Lane (now Ridge Road) wound through the Rowantree Estate.

It is probably not readily appreciated that the New River, which winds along the north west boundary of the Ground, will have been there for over four hundred years. It was an idea which came forward at the end of the reign of the first Elizabeth - to bring water for drinking purposes to the Metropolis from springs in Hertfordshire and Middlesex, at Amwell near Ware and Chadwell. It was commenced under letters patent granted by King James I in 1604, but was hindered by financial difficulties until 1611 when, with the King's financial support, it was finally completed in 1613.

In conclusion, you may note that the twenty or so acres of the Paulin Ground has retained its outer boundaries to this day.

Why the 'Paulin' Ground

The Club's original landlord, Thomas Teshmaker Busk, has already been mentioned. He was its first President until his death in 1894. Indeed, the family were the Club's landlords for its first forty years, allowing cricket to be played on their private park from 1881 onwards.

The lineage of the Busk family can be traced to their Scandinavian origin in the seventeenth century and earlier, but the family was well established in England around 1700. They were merchants and lawyers.

When Mr. Busk's grandfather, Edward Busk married in September 1800, Sarah Thomasine, only surviving daughter and heiress of Thomas Teshmaker, J.P. of 'Ford's Grove', Lord of the Manor of Edmonton, the Ground was part of the property in the inheritance. In fact, it was a Mr. Merry Teshmaker who purchased 'Ford's Grove' in about 1720.

Edward Busk was a Barrister-at-law and lived in the vicinity of Bedford Row but moved to 'Ford's Grove' when Mrs Teshmaker moved to another house in Winchmore Hill. His eldest son Edward Thomas who was born in 1805, married in 1851. There were five children of this marriage, of whom Thomas Teshmaker Busk, born in 1852 was the eldest son. In 1885 he married Mary Acworth of The Hook, Northaw, Herts. They were the last of the Busks to reside at 'Ford's Grove' for in 1889 the acquired 'Hermongers', Rudgwick in Sussex where they moved with their son Edward and daughter Mary, and were to have two more sons, Henry and Hans, before Mr. Busk did in 1894.

His passing at the early age of 42 years caused the Club to lose a true friend which had been shown by his continued earnest interest, especially by his kindness in granting the Club the use of his private park. The arrangements for the retention of this facility were contained in a lease issued through Trustees Agents acting for his Executors until his eldest son, Edward, became the Club's landlord on coming of age in 1907. The lease provided for the continued use of the Ground from Season to Season, subject to the wishes of the Trustees, particularly with respect to upkeep and proposed improvements, and for the furnishing of copies of the Annual Report and Statement of Account. The family was held in high esteem by all classes of the Winchmore Hill and Edmonton communities, where Mr. Busk, like his father a Barrister-at-law, was a member of the Edmonton Local Board of Guardians, and was appointed a Justice of the Peace for the County of Middlesex in 1883. Both father (1844) and son (1889) were Trustees of the Latymer School at Edmonton, subsequent attended by many Club members.

Edward, was a celebrated aeronautical engineer who, after attaining First Class Honours in Mechanical Sciences at Cambridge, became Assistant Engineer at the Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough. Here he devoted much of his time to the mathematics and dynamics of stable flight. He was tragically killed on 5 November 1914 while flying his own stable aeroplane which burst into a sheet of flames and came down at Laffans Plain near Aldershot where he was buried in the Military Cemetery with full military honours. His genius, from which has resulted much of the stability of aeroplanes, together with his courage, was recognised by the posthumous award of the Gold Medal of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain, and amongst the many letter of condolence received by his mother was one from King George V.

The Club, conscious of the significance of all that had happened and of the fact that it owed its inception and continued existence to the kindness of his family, deplored his loss.

Regrettable his youngest brother Hans, was killed bombing the Turks at Gallipoli in 1916. They were survived by their mother, brother Henry and sister Mary.

In 1915 an agreement was made between Mrs. Mary Busk, widow and landlord, and F.J. Huson, Esq., as Tenant of land occupied by Winchmore Hill Cricket Club. This was the private park area bounded by Firs Lane to the north, the New River on the west and part of the land bounded by Ford' Grove. The remainder to the east being used by Collegiate School. The tenancy was for a year at a time from 25 March 1915 at a rent of 5 per annum.

After the Busks had moved to Rudgwick, the fine old residence of 'Ford's Grove' was subsequently occupied by several people, more or less strangers to the district, until 1903. The mansion remained unoccupied becoming dilapidated and finally was demolished in 1920.

Before continuing the history of the Ground it is necessary to retrace out steps and recount the early and overlapping connection with the Paulin and Mann families. They were, of course, known as brewers, and cricketers, of the famous firm Mann Crossman and Paulin, but we are particularly concerned with Sir William Thomas Paulin, J.P. and his daughter Irene.

Like the Busks, the Paulin family came to this country in the late seventeenth century and settled in Berwick on Tweed. They had fled from Southern France in the religious persecution of the Huguenots. The first mention we find of the family in Berwick is the marriage of William Thomas's great great grandfather in 1697. Successive generations of the family have followed diverse trades and callings such as husbandman, shoemaker, corn chandler. His grandfather, was master of Berwick Academy in 1800. Of his three sons, one became associated with Alexander Crossman who was in the corn business. Another seeing service in the Berwick Shipping Company of which he became manage in 1820. The other son Thomas, introduced into the brewery business by a kinsman of the Crossman family, was William Thomas's father.

It is at this time in the early 1800s that the great family tradition of the subsequent brewery business of Mann Crossman and Paulin commenced. Thomas Paulin and Robert Crossman, who was a practical man with a sound knowledge of brewing and much flair and energy, a younger brother of Alexander, became actively concerning in the brewery business in Berwick. Both came south to the Isleworth Brewery. They met James Mann at Mile End where the eventual family brewing business began in 1808. Thomas Paulin remained at Isleworth, while Robert Crossman returned to manage the Border Brewery in Berwick and bought the Manor of Holy Island which his direct descendant, Colonel Humphrey Crossman still owns. When James Mann died in 1844 his eldest son (of the same name) sought out Robert Crossman, and together in 1846 they signed the first partnership deed of 'Mann Crossman and Company'. Later that year Robert Crossman invited Thomas Paulin to join them and with James's younger brother Thomas, the partnership was extended, though Paulin was not named in the style until a little later in 1848. James Mann retired from active participation in the business leaving three very active partners in Thomas Mann, Robert Crossman and Thomas Paulin. The annuls report that the Manns established the business, the Crossmans consolidated it and the Paulins preserved it.

To underling the happy relationship existing between the partners, the son of Thomas Paulin would marry the daughter of Thomas Mann so completing the cycle of intermarriage between the three families of Mann Crossman and Paulin, Alexander Crossman's son Matthew having married Thomas Paulins sister. This branch of the Crossman family became members of the old established London firm of Solicitors Crossman Block, with which the Club has also been actively associated in recent years through H.A. Block, who did in 1959 aged 93 and his late son Spencer Block. The firm has passed in 1965 its second century of continuous partnership business.

The year 1848 saw the birth of Thomas James Mann, eldest son of Thomas Mann, and of William Thomas Paulin eldest son of Thomas Paulin. Both were to follow their fathers in the business and add considerably to its lustre and proportions.

William Thomas entered the brewery at the age of 16 years and became concerned with the financial and legal sides of the business, having inherited much of his father's sound financial acumen. He later actively associated himself with the London Hospital, Whitechapel, so continuing a long association, by all three families, started in 1840.

Following the death of Thomas Mann in 1886, the last of the first three partners in the brewery firm (Thomas Paulin having died in 1873 and Robert Crossman in 1883) William Thomas became a senior partner in the brewery business with Thomas James Mann and his brother Edward.

The close association of the Mann and Paulin families was evident by the moves to Winchmore Hill. First Thomas Mann and his family came to the village in 1858. They lived at Laurel Lodge situated in Church Hill and later at 'Roseneath' which he purchased in 1867, with its eleven acres of land on the south west side of the Vicars Moor Lane railway bridge. The land stretched across to Station Road and to the south including St. Paul's School and Ringwood Way of today. It was also in 1858 that Thomas Mann purchased Thelveton Hall, and its many acres of farms near Diss in Norfolk, the traditional home of the Mann family.

It is thought appropriate here to record the Mann family connection with the Club. In 1905, Edward Mann, already mentioned, was created a baronet and continued to live at 'Roseneath' for a time until finally moving to Norfolk just before the Great War. He had been a Vice-President of the Cub for many years until resigning in 1913. (In 1914 Mr. W.T. Paulin presented 'Roseneath' to the War Office fully equipped as a voluntary hospital for wounded soldiers during the Great War Years. By October 1915 the number of beds had been increased from 40 to 50 and over 1600 soldiers passed through the hospital. During these years the Club, like others in the district, ran concerts, the proceed of which were donated to the running of the hospital.)

Sir Edward Mann's third son, Francis Thomas Mann (1888-1964) is well known to cricketers. He Captained Middlesex in the 1920s, succeeding the great Sir Pelham 'Plum' Warner, and England. 'Mighty Mann' of Middlesex was one of the the biggest hitters in English cricket. He once, playing for Middlesex against Notts., scored 53 runs off 20 balls hitting four sixes and six fours. At Lords, he hit the great Yorkshire bowler Wilfred Rhodes three times to the top of the pavilion. It is pleasing to record that in 1921 he brought to Ford's Grove the first M.C.C. side to play the Club. In turn, his son Francis George (b. 1917) also captained Middlesex and England. He was president of the Club from 1961 to 1970 and closely associated himself with the President's game. In 1978 he was appointed Chairman of the Test and County Cricket Board.

To return now to the Paulin family - Thomas Paulin, William Thomas's father purchased 'Beaulieu' and lived there from 1865 to 1873. (The house then came into the possession of the Phillips family, but, having stood empty for some years, it was made habitable and used for housing Belgian refugees during the Great War years.)

In 1877, William Thomas married Thomas Mann's daughter Fanny at Christ Church, Southgate having acquired the 'Broadfields' estate of 14 acres between Wades Hill, Church Hill and Houndsen Road. Here they entered farming and kept Jersey cows. Some of the outbuildings were in use until quite recently by the garage in Paulin Drive, Wades Hill. (Broadfield Avenue has been built through the centre of the estate.) They had two daughters, Fanny Ina Ramsey (January 1879) and Mary Julia Irene (June 1882).

Mr. Paulin became a local Justice of the Peace in 1893 and, with his wife, in addition to their London Hospital association, became deeply involved in varying degrees of generosity and benefaction in the village and particularly with St. Paul's Church.

In 1895, being a keen follower of cricket, Mr. Paulin, already a Vice-President, became President of the Club on the death of Mr. T.T. Busk the year before. He held this office until his death in 1931.

Mrs. Paulin died in February 1901 at the comparatively early age of 49 years. She was known as the 'Lady Bountiful' of Winchmore Hill, responsible for much good work among the villagers and parishioners of the time. Her obituary included 'the poor had no kinder friend than she and many have lost a generous and sympathetic benefactor'. To her memory in 1903 her husband erected St. Paul's Institute in Station Road which served as a centre for functions of every sort for some fifty or more years. It was demolished in the 1970s. The foundation stone was saved, and is at present at the west door of St. Paul's Church suitable inscribed the the names of her husband and two daughters.

In July 1902, at St. Paul's Church, Miss Ina Paulin and the Vicar, The Rev. A.J.B. Dewdney, M.A. were married by the then Bishop of London. Alongside the Church, her father erected the Vicarage House which has been used by incumbents ever since. The Vicar's stay at St. Paul's was notable a busy one, but very short, for in December 1907 he contracted tuberculosis and was forced to resign the living. His health improved but, on the advice of his doctors, the couple with their very young daughter (born in 1904), migrated to Canada and spent many years administering the affairs of the Church in that vast country.

Mr. Paulin's younger daughter, Irene, who remained unmarried, assisted her father at 'Broadfields' and in many of his local interests. 

Immediately after the Great War, much of the privately owned lands of Winchmore Hill came up for sale for building purposes. Amongst this land was that of the Busk family. Their 'Ford's Grove' Estate comprising in all some 75 acres with frontages to Green Lanes and including what is today, Ridge Road, Halstead Road, Firs Park Avenue and areas of Highfield.

Part of this land, listed for public auction was being used by the Club and the Collegiate School. There were nine Lots listed but Lot 2 was to the Club of most interest. It was described as:-

'Freehold building land or eminently suitable for recreation or sports ground containing 20.5 acres with frontages of about 2350 feet in Ford's Grove and Firs Lane'.

The loss of facilities enjoyed by many, particularly over the past forty years would have been nothing short of disaster. However, after consultations between Club Officers and the President, he agreed to bid for the land. The auction was held by Tuckett, Webster & Co. at Winchester House, Old Broad Street, E.C.2. on Monday 10 May 1920 at 2.30 p.m. History is glad to record that Mr. W.T. Paulin was successful. The sum paid was 8000 including expenses and the 2.5% rent Mr. Paulin set the Club, to be shared amongst the occupiers, was to stand for the next 40 years. Mr. Paulin vested the freehold with his daughter Irene.

In the New Year's Honours list of 1929 it was announced that the Club President had been Knighted for services to the London Hospital where he had been a Life Governor for over half a century, an active member of the committee since 1893 and Honorary Treasurer since 1913.

Two years later it was with the deepest regret and sense of loss that the passing of Sir William in February 1931 was announced. The spirit of the following quotation was outstanding in the life of this well known philanthropist not only locally but in a wide sphere in East London and elsewhere:-

'I shall pass through this world but once; any good thing, therefore, I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now, let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again'.

Many will have cause to remember his kindness and unfailing generosity and to bless him for the kindly Christian spirit in which he offered to help and succour. His helping hand stretched far and wide and it is true to say that he endeavoured to 'do good by stealth and blushed to find it fame' for many of his larger benefactions were made anonymously; indeed the full extent to which his generosity spread will never b e known.

Under an Indenture dated 2 May 1921 Miss Paulin leased from 29 September 1920 the land bordering on Firs Lane and the New River extending to include the New River football pitch and cricket table, a total of ten acres approximately, to the Club for a period of five years at an annual rent of 120. At the same time, Miss Paulin leased the lower Ford's Grove/Firs Lane area of approximately 4.5 acres together with the right hand part of the Spinney area by the New River to the Collegiate School. Alongside this the Choir of St. Paul's Church had an open area of about an acre. South of the Spi8nney along Ford's Grove, the Choir of Holy Trinity Church also had about an acre. The remainder of the Spinney from Ford's Grove Bridge along Ford's Grove was leased to the Congregational Church Club.

In 1929, Miss Paulin granted a new five year lease of the Ground, this time embracing the whole of the 20.5 acres to the Cricket Club as from Lady Day, 25 March 1929 at a yearly rent of 200. The School and the three Church tenancies were continued and a proviso was included that no play of cricket, football, tennis or other sports would be permitted on Sundays or Christmas Day. During 1929 and 1930, both St. Paul's and Holy Trinity Church Choirs gave up possession of their parts of the Ground.

In succession to her father, Miss Irene accepted the Presidency of the Club and in 1932 agreed to the provision of three hard tennis courts on the Ground. The following year she permitted Sunday play from 2.00 p.m. for the first time in the history of the Club and in 1934 renewed the lease of the Ground to the Club for 14 years and to its being scheduled as a permanent open space.

During the 1939-1945 period, Miss Paulin agreed, with her usual kindness and interest towards the Club, to a reduction of 50% of the rent of the Ground.

In 1947 negotiations took place concerning a new lease having regard to the suggested construction of a house on the Ground for a Head Groundsman. At Miss Paulin's own suggestion, a new lease for a period of 35 years from March 1947 at the same rent paid prior to the 1939-45 War, to include a Clause granting the Club permission to build a suitable house, was gratefully accepted. The project was, unfortunately, delayed by post-war difficulties of licensing of materials and planning approval, but when the go ahead was given in 1953, to facilitate financial arrangements concerning the house, Miss Paulin granted a further six years lease to extend the 1947 lease to 1988.

It was with deep regret that the Club heard of the passing of Miss Paulin on 30 June 1960. Her interest and generosity towards the Club throughout a long association was shown in the terms of her Will which granted the Club a 99 year lease from 25 December after her death, at a yearly rent of one shilling (5p). Provision was made for the land to remain a recreation ground in perpetuity.

In recognition of their close family connections and much good will towards the Club, Miss Paulin in 1948 was graciously pleased to accept the recommendation that in future the Ground should be known as 'The Paulin Ground'.

How the Club began - 1880

For some years towards the end of the nineteenth century, Winchmore Hill boasted two Cricket Clubs. One was our Club, knows as the Winchmore Hill Village Cricket Club and the other as the Winchmore Hill Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club.

The latter Club had played since 1871 on the paddock of 'Roseneath', Vicars Moor Lane. It was a fairly expensive Club to belong to and of limited membership. The minutes of 1 April 1879 record that the President of the 'Gentleman's' Club was T. Mann Esq. of Church Hill, the Secretary was T.T. Busk Esq. and there were the two sons of Thomas Mann, Thomas James and Edward on the Committee. W.T. Paulin Esq. was a member and for many years held the office of Treasurer. It is further recorded in a minute of a Committee Meeting on 24 April 1879 'that the Winchmore Hill Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club would use the rules dated 1879 adopted by the Marylebone Cricket Club and the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club'. Lawn Tennis flourished very much and was played until about 1930, the being known locally, particularly in its later years of existence, as the 'Roseneath Tennis Club'. Cricket seems to have died out in about the early 1900s, but it is interesting to record that the 'Field' magazine of 1874 shows them playing Southgate Juniors and several games were reported in the years until 1880. It is noticeable that the players were all prefixed with the title 'Mr.' and in a number of cases there were 12-a-side.

In the autumn of 1880, John Moore, who occupied the position of Head Gardener to the Busk family at 'Ford's Grove', approached his master with other villagers for permission to play cricket on his private park on the Firs Lane side of the present ground. A meeting was arranged and the Winchmore Hill Village Cricket Club was formally founded, on Mr. Busk agreeing to the proposition and giving free use of this area where the Club has played ever since.

Winchmore Hill Village Cricket Club - 1881

At the General Meeting of the Club held in October 1912, with the agreement of the then President, W.T. Paulin, Esq. J.P., the proposal that the word 'Village' should be excluded from the title was confirmed, and the Club then assumed its present name of the Winchmore Hill Cricket Club.

Cricket - 1881 to 1914

In the absence of Club records, we are indebted to the Meyers Observer and Local and General Advertiser (Enfield Gazette) for details of the Club's matches and such other information they were asked to publish for most of the pre Great War years. The paper requested Clubs wishing to report their results to use the 'Enfield Scoring Sheets' available at ninepence a dozen or 1/6 (7.5p) per quire - the paper was published weekly, consisted of eight large pages and cost one old penny!

It will be appreciated that Cricket was only permitted on Saturdays although occasionally the played during the week.

The first reported match of the Winchmore Hill Village Cricket club was against North End Finchley, played at the Ground to be known as Ford's Grove, on 21 May 1881. The Village team is listed as:- J. Tott, J. Waters, J. Moore, H. Bonner, T. Pratt, D. Bonner, G. Hendon, G. Chalkley, J. Brindley, L. Favier and J. Brandon. The game was convincingly won by the Villagers who scored 125 (J. Tott 31, J. Moore 23) to Finchley's 11 and 31 with J. Waters taking 7 wickets and J. Moore three in the first innings and each taking four in the Finchley second innings.

The next game was against Lansdowne C.C. at Ford's Grove on 18 June. W. Parkingson, C. Sears, A. Reed and R. Mumford taking the places of J. Waters, T. Pratt, D. Bonner and J. Brindley. The village team scored 148 (Tott 93) and Lansdowne 16 and 41-4. J. Moore was again among the wickets able assisted by H. Bonner.

On 25 June the Club played St. Andrews C.C. at Old Park, (now Bush Hill Park Golf Club). Each side had two innings. The Villagers scoring 37 and 50 while St. Andrews scored 50 and 30-3. The return match with St. Andrews at Ford's Grove was played on 13 August. The home side scored 56 and 60-7 (Tott 14 & 24, Waters 17 & 10). St. Andrews are only reported as having one innings totalling 32. Moore and Waters taking the wickets between them.

The closing match of the first season was played on 10 September between sides chosen by Mr. Waters and Mr. Moore. Mr. Moore's XI beating Mr. Waters' XI by two runs - Mr. Waters scoring 20 of his side's 43. T.T. Busk was a member of Mr. Waters team.

In 1882, there were 15 matches. Two games were played against each of the following Cricket Clubs:- All Saints Choir, Enfield Tabernacle, Lansdowne, Mintern, St. Andrews and Stoneleigh and one each against Southgate Sunday School, Argyle and Mutual Cricket Clubs. All were played at Ford's Grove except the last one against Stoneleigh when the Villagers made the journey to Crouch End. Most games were low scoring and five were lost. Fixtures were also arranged for a second eleven. Twice the Villagers topped the hundred - D. and H. Bonner and T. Pratt were amongst the runs, while J. Moore was the principal wicket taker assisted by the two Bonners.

Two games in May and September, otherwise one a month were played in 1883. Chandos C.C. and St. Johns C.C. were two new opponents. In the game against Mintern on 1 September, the Villagers made 79 (Waters 19) and their opponents 15 - four of whom failed to score.

The Club's fourth season, 1884, was clearly its best so far. Of the 13 matches reported totals of over 100 were reached on five occasions and twice they were in the nineties. It was a notable season for J. Tott and C. Sears both with bat and ball. Our long association with Southgate Adelaide, whom we still play today, began with a game on 10 May at Ford's Grove - the Villagers scored 79-6 (J. Moore 25, C. Sears 21) to the Adelaide's 76. Favier and Moore taking the wickets. Another new fixture was against St. George's Bloomsbury C.C. The home, and away game at Crouch End, resulted in easy victories for the Villagers. T.T. Busk played in the home fixture scoring nine runs and J. Tott scored 46 out of 94 in the second, sharing the wickets with C. Sears. Other new fixtures included Albert C.C. and St. Ann's C.C. whom the Club played away at Highgate. A total of 182 was made against St. Johns C.C. Against The Oak C.C. 159 was scored in which J. Tott made 44 and in the second game took eight wickets in the opposition's total of 28. Having referred to the achievements of J. Tott, it was with not a little regret that members heard it was to be his last season with the Club as in April 1885 he was appointed 'Bowler and Groundsman' to Enfield C.C. for whom he played for a number of years.

Season  1885 saw the Club successful in twice a many games as those lost, in the 14 reported. It was again noted that T.T. Busk played occasionally. J. Moore was invited to play for selected XIs in the Enfield and Claysmore Cricket week which was held in the grounds of Major Bosanquet's residence (Claysmore) near the 'Fallow Buck' Clay Hill.

In 1886 it is again significant that of the 12 to 15 fixtures for the season, only about two were played away from Ford's Grove. With no public transport except for the Great Northern and Great Eastern Railways to Enfield Chase and Enfield Town respectively, it is hardly surprising, and one wonders how long the journey took them by Horse-Brake to Walthamstow in late August to play Priory C.C. Their journey in this case was not unrewarded, for they won by 17 runs scoring 53 (Favier 24 not out) to Priory's 36. During this season the two Bonners were well amongst the runs and taking wickets, ably supported by H. Woodcock and L. Favier.

In addition to being the year of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, 1887 was a notable season for the Village Club. As to the Jubilee Celebrations, the grounds of T.T. Busk were kindly placed at the disposal of the Local Jubilee Committee for a display of fireworks on 17 June. Fifteen fixtures included 'firsts' against Edmonton (14 May), Cockfosters (11 June), and South Hampstead (2 July) all included in present fixture lists. The games against Edmonton and Cockfosters resulted in narrow defeats for the Village Club. In the first of two games against South Hampstead, the Villagers could only muster 12 for seven in reply to the opposition's 208. However, in the second, South Hampstead made 55-7 (Jones and Moore sharing the wickets) in reply to the Villagers 122 (Spratley 47, Jones 36). This is the first season of the great Sam Spratley who was to be a distinguished member of the Club for 56 years in many capacities. Finally, the Village Club was entertained by the Winchmore Hill Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club in the grounds of 'Roseneath'. It was a twelve-a-side game of two innings each and resulted in a tie, the Villagers scoring 36 and 79 and the home side 77 and 38 for two. Two members of the Village Club, H. Bonner and J. Waters, played for the Winchmore Hill Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club against Claysmore C.C. in the Enfield and Claysmore Cricket week.

WHVCC 1887

Winchmore Hill Village Cricket Club - 1887

It is reported in the Meyers Observer of 10 February 1888 that at the Winchmore Hill Village Cricket Club's seventh Annual General Meeting held on 2 February, at which C. Mowbray presided in the unavoidable absence of the President, the following offers were re-elected:- W.G. Parkinston, Secretary, C. Mowbray, Treasurer, J. Moore, Captain and C. Herring, Vice Captain. S.M. Spratley was elected to the Committee.

Season 1888 finds 15 matches reported. Trinity, Edmonton and Waterlow and Sons were beaten during May and June but in late June the Villagers lost to Cockfosters by 34 to 51. The latter Club were also successful in late July. In August there is a report of an 2nd XI game against All Saints C.C. resulting in a win for the visitors by 25 runs. High scores were recorded by the Villagers against St. Judes and Trinity in late August. In these two games, D. Bonner and Moor took the wickets while Woodcock, Beadle, H. Bonner and Adams made good contributions towards the run total.

The only Club game reported in 1889 was against Cockfosters when the Villagers made 90 (H. Woodcock 19) and the visitors were all out for 52, J. Moore taking 5 wickets. However, the Meyers Observer of 8 November 1889 gave a full report of the Ninth Annual Dinner of the Club held at the Green Dragon on 31 October, and the following has been extracted:-

'..... An excellent meal was provided by the Host and thoroughly enjoyed by some 40 members and guests. Mr. B. Smurthwaite presided until the arrival of Mr. T.T. Busk, J.P., the President of the Club, who occupied the chair during the latter part of the evening. After the tables had been cleared Mr. S.M. Spratley (in the absence of Mr. D. Bonner, the Secretary, through illness) read the minutes of the last annual meeting and then the report of the Committee which stated that the past season had been a fairly successful one, the results being - played 18, won 5, drew 6 (4 of these mentioned being certain victories) lost 7.... This season the Committee remarked the team had played stronger Clubs than had theretofore been their custom. They hoped next season that their play would have a better result... There were 29 Hon members of the Club, 9 subscribers and 33 active members. On behalf of the latter the Committee thanked their many friends for their kind and valuable support (cheers). The audited balance sheet showed a balance in hand of 3-0s-11d....

A vote of thanks to the Secretary for his arduous labours, was proposed by Mr. Smurthwaite and carried by acclamation. Various suggestions for the alteration of the constitution of the Club and the improvement of its averages - particularly its batting averages - were made and considered but no resolution on either subject was passed.

On the motion of Mr. Spratley, the President was thanked heartily for the kind and generous support which he had given the Club and in replying Mr. Busk said that "though he was leaving the neighbourhood shortly the Club would be able to have the use of his ground gratuitously as heretofore".

After this business had been transacted the remainder of the evening was passed pleasantly and harmoniously. Mr. W. Atwood presiding at the pianoforte with his accustomed skill, and various gentlemen contributing excellent songs'.

The Season 1890 recorded on 31 May a very close game with Cockfosters at Ford's Grove which the Villagers won by five runs. The home team scored 90 (J. Holmes 36, S. Spratley 27) Cockfosters 85, Moore, D. Bonner and Woodcock taking the wickets. Stoke Newington were the visitors on 7 June and scored 111 while the Villagers scored 22 for seven. Other games were against New River XI, Tottenham 2nd XI, Leyton Dalston Havelock, Junior Middlesex, Edmonton, India Rubber Mills, Brownswood Park and Belmont.

A snippet from the paper recalls a curious circumstance in a cricket match between Enfield and Walthamstow - the ball having been driven by the batsman into the pocket of the umpire. The Enfield Secretary wrote to 'Sporting Life' as to the point involved and received the following reply:-

'According to decisions in previous matches, I believe the batsman would have been out; according to the letter of the law the ball had not touched the ground when taken from the umpire's pocket'. Interesting eh?

In 1891 ten matches were reported against regular visitors. There is a report of the Villagers 2nd XI beating St. Judes 2nd XI by 69 runs. Another game was against Dalston Havelock when the Villagers scored 201-6 (Favier 51 not out, H. Bonner 41, H. Woodcock 30 and Spratley 23) while Dalston scored 18 and 42. S. Spratley had a fine season with the bat, scoring over 50 on several occasions.

A report on 4 September 1891 refers to an annual event in the village with which some of the members of the WHVCC were always associated:-

'On Saturday last in accordance with a custom of some years standing, the season was closed with a match between WHC & LTC and the villagers. The weather was exceptionally fine and the game was witnessed by a large number of persons of all classes in the village. Mr. W.T. Paulin of "Broadfields" captained the Club team and Mr. James Waters the villagers. The palm of victory rested with the villagers. In the evening the members of the Club dined together in the fine pavilion on their cricket ground, whilst some 30 or 40 of the villagers dined together at the Queens Head where an excellent spread was provided by Host J. Barnes. Mr. James Waters presided and after the usual loyal toasts had been duly honoured he proposed the health of Mr. and Mrs. Paulin and Mr. and Mrs. Edward Mann to whose kindness the festivities connected with these occasions are chiefly due. These and other toasts were received in a manner which left no room for doubt as to the feelings of those present. Mr. Archer proposed the health of Mr. Waters and suitable referred to that gentleman's long connection with local cricket. The party broke up shortly before 11 p.m.'.

The results reported for season 1892 in the Enfield Observer, showed that 24 matches were played, nine won, seven lost, seven drawn and there was one tie. It seems that even in those far off days difficulty was found sometimes in fielding full sides. In a match in May against St. Barnabus, the Villagers started three short but however found two substitutes on the ground. It is interesting to note that absentees were shown as 'absent' against their names in reports of games. In the tied game, S.M. Spratley, Captain of the team, again showed good form going in first and carrying his bat for a finely played 49 not out of a total score of 83. In the Dalston Havelock innings of 83, Moore, Cresse and Press shared the wickets. Other notable games included those against Edmonton 2nd XI (a win and a draw) North Enfield another win and a draw, (this appears to be the first reported meeting of the two clubs whose fixtures were maintained until recently), and Southgate Adelaide, a draw and a win. The batting stalwarts were Spratley and Favier, well supported by Moore, the main wicket takers were Moore and D. Bonner. The Annual General Meeting was held in November at which:-

'The twelfth Annual Report and Balance Sheet was read by the Hon. Secretary Mr. E.F. Lowen, showing that the past season was one which compared favourable with the previous years. The Hon. Treasurer Mr. H.C. Albino reported a balance in hand of 2-19s-4d. The Club consisted of 21 honorary members, 3 subscribers and 29 playing members. Toasts were drunk to the President T.T. Busk Esq. J.P. and the Vice-Presidents, Messrs. W.T. Paulin, G.T. Hoskins, E. Mann, B.W. Smurthwaite and the proceedings were then enlivened by a succession of songs rendered in good style'.

The Annual General Meeting of 1893 held in November reported 26 matches played, half were won, nine lost and four were drawn. The Annual game against the Gentlemen's Club resulted in a win for the Villagers by 87 runs. The season was considered one of continued success and a gratifying balance remained in the hands of the Treasurer. Mr. Moore thanked the President, Vice-Presidents and Subscribers for their support. In reply, Mr. Hoskins (Vice-President) who presided, assured the Club that they were pleased to encourage the Village Club which had showed that its members one and all were animated with the spirit of sport. Mr. Skelton, also a Vice-President, who occupied the vice-chair, proposed 'the other officials of the Club'. A Club, he said, which had been able to achieve such success must of necessity have an efficient body of officers and he asked those present to drink their health with enthusiasm.

The report for the Season ending 1894 reads as follows:

'The Committee in presenting their Fourteenth Annual Report and Statement of Accounts, regret the great loss they have sustained during the year by the death of their President, T.T. Busk, Esq'.

The Season was a fairly successful one, 25 matches being played, eight being won, nine lost and eight drawn. A notable 'first' was the fixture in late May with Enfield 2nd XI which, though lost heavily, saw Moore taking eight wickets. The Club had 22 Honorary members, two Subscribers and 27 active members.

Season 1895 saw 24 matches played, 12 won, seven lost and five drawn. The first match of the Season played on Saturday 4 May was against Enfield 2nd XI at Bush Hill Park. The home team winning the toss, elected to bat but were dismissed for the small total of 33. The visitors then went in to bat, but like their opponents did not succeed in compiling a big score and were all out for 52 leaving them winners by 19 runs. The bowling of J. Moore for the Villagers was very effective and the fielding generally highly commendable. J. Moore took five wickets for 14 and L. Favier made 17 runs and W. Parkinson, the Captain, 16. The return match played in June ended in a draw decidedly in the favour of Enfield. The match against Browswood Park ended in a victory for the Villagers by eight wickets and two runs. The Visitors batted first and were dismissed for 51 runs. On the home team going in only 45 minutes remained for play, but so well did they bat their victory was obtained just on the call of time. WHVCC 53-2, Spratley 20, L. Favier 14 n.o. Brownswood Park 51 - Goodhew 5 wickets for 6 runs.

The Season of 1896 appears to have been a very dry one; it was reported in May the 'rain was needed' and in August that the 'drought continues'. Six of the first seven matches were lost 'owing to adverse circumstances' - what they were we are not told specifically, except to say that membership increased to such an extent that of 25 matches played 15 were won and the Committee were obliged to run a second team which played 10 matches, winning half of them. A notable high scoring match was against by now our old rivals, Southgate Adelaide. The Village Club who won the toss ran up a total of 158 of which Favier, who went in first and was last out, made 52 without giving a chance. The Adelaide, after starting badly, passed the Villagers score with only four wickets down and their innings was eventually closed for 206.

On a Saturday in June a presentation was made to Mr. S.M. Spratley by the Club on the occasion of his marriage. Mr. H. Skelton (Vice President) in handing over a handsome black marble timepiece said it was his pleasing duty to hand to him this visible token of the good wishes of his brother cricketers who were unanimous in wishing him years of happiness and prosperity. Mr. Spratley made a feeling reply, in the course of his remarks he hoped the kindly feeling and good fellowship which had characterised the Club during the nine years he had been a member would long continue, and he would cherish this token of their goodwill.

Upwards of 50 members and friends attended the Annual Dinner and Meeting in November at the Green Dragon:

'... In proposing the toast of the "Club", Mr. Spratley said they all recognised the fact that even in cricket it was imperative to obtain a certain amount of Subscription in order to go on successfully. The area from which this Club could obtain members was limited and consequently it became a matter of considerable importance to obtain as many honorary members as possible and happily they were in a fortunate position in this respect.

The funds of the Club had always been administered with a view to economy and he was sure if the honorary members scrutinised the accounts they would appreciate this fact. They were glad to be honored with the presence of several honorary members and he had great pleasure in asking all present to cordially drink to the toast...'

The diamond Jubilee year of 1897 saw the introduction of a regular 2nd XI. The First team played 22 matches and the Second 17, each side being fairly successful. The opposition was much the same as in previous Seasons but there were some new opponents in Hornsey Rise, Barnato Social and Sports Club and Wood Green. The Villagers won against the first two mentioned Clubs but lost heavily to Wood Green. Both matches against Southgate Adelaide were close and exciting with the Village side winning both by 14 and 3 runs. There were 24 Honorary Members, two Subscribers and 34 Active Members.

The Eighteenth Annual Report for the Season 1898 indicated a very successful one with the first team playing 25 matches and winning 13 and the second team playing 16 and winning six. A third team was fielded on six occasions, winning five of them.

The Report ends 'Three Prize Bats have been kindly presented to the Club by Messrs. H. Skelton, W.H. Heath and E. Terry for the best batting averages; and have been won by Mr. L. Favier, 1st Team; Mr. A. London, 2nd Team; and Mr. P. Mummery, 3rd Team.'

It is interesting to report that the earliest fixture card of the WHVCC in the Cub's possession with fixtures for the 1st and 2nd elevens is for this Season. It shows games against Winchmore Hill (The Gentlemen's Club at Roseneath), Southgate Adelaide, Edmonton, Hampstead Montrose, Brownswood Park and other Church Clubs. The Club Colour being 'Maroon'.

The three years at the turn of the century, 1899, 1900 and 1901 cover the period of the Boer War and the passing of Queen Victoria. The Village Cricket Club successfully continued to turn out two teams in each of these three years averaging a total of 40 matches each season. Of these, half were won and a quarter drawn. Although some cricket was reported during these years, none are of special interest. An innovation by the Club in 1899, however, was the purchase of Caps and in 1900 was the purchase of Blazers as well. From the published accounts, it is noted that the Groundsman's Salary was 7. Printing of Balance Sheets and Match Cards cost 2.3s., while Umpires and Scorers fees were between 3 and 4.

At the AGM for Season 1901 the following were elected officers for the ensuing year:

President: Mr. W.T. Paulin, J.P.
Vice-Presidents: Rev. A.J.B. Dewdney, Rev. A. Jarvis, Dr. Vivian, Messrs F. Barret, J.E. Beadley, W. Cattermole, J.H. Faulds, G.T. Hoskins, E. Mann, J.P., E. H. Sewell, E.P. Sugden, E.A. White, H. Woolmer and H. Willis.
Captain 'A' Team: Mr. S.M. Spratley
Vice Captain: Mr J. Moore
Captain 'B' Team: Mr. A. London
Vice Captain: Mr. .S. Carter
Honorary Secretary and Treasurer: M. E.F. Lowen
Match Honorary Secretary: Mr. A.T. London
Committee: Messrs. P. Beadley, H.C. Hall, C. Yardley, H.J. Duck, H.W. Duck, C.M. Fallows, J. Walker and F.E. Waters.

Season 1902 began on 9 May with a home game against Hoddesdon, played, despite cold and wet weather. It proved a very pleasant game, although owing to lack of time, the match was drawn. Hoddesdon 77 for 6,WHVCC 52 for 5. Easy wins were recorded against Old Holloway Collegians and Brownswood Park (Spratley 53 not out) and against Southgate Adelaide when Spratley made 50 and H.J. Duck took 6 for 15. The game against Hatfield was drawn, the visitors scoring 120 for 8 and WHVCC 84 for 5.

On 25 July the Club was away at Hornsey playing Holborn (N. Middlesex) and scored 237. Beadle 69 not out, Yardley 49, Lowen 35, Huson 26 all batted in excellent form - Beadle's display being exceptionally fine. Lowen did good service by taking five wickets for 13 runs in the home side's innings of 62. In August the game against Edmonton was drawn - WHVCC 93 for six against Edmonton's 140 for eight (H.W. Duck 4 for 22). The game against Finchley was also drawn with WHVCC 101 and the visitors 66 for seven (Lowen 4 for 25) as was that against Enfield who were 39 for six against WHVCC 121 for four (Favier 48).

At the AGM in February 1903, in receiving the Report for 1902 it was noted that the two prizes presented for bowling, one by Mr. H.C. Hall and the other by Messrs. London & Yardley, were won by H.W. Duck, A Team (53 wickets for 280 runs) and F. Devey, B Team (77 wickets for 341 runs). With the large number of active members, the Honorary Secretary had made fixtures for three teams on Saturdays in 1903.

In the event the Season was not a very successful one. The Club played 51 matches, winning only 19, losing 24 while eight were drawn. In spite of this 'The Understudy' writing in the local paper in early August was pleased to note:-

'the continued march of progress made by WHVCC representatives who, during the past few week's had bee helping themselves very liberally to runs, wickets and victories at the expense of their opponents...'

Highlights of Season 1904 included a very good win against Enfield II who scored 164 against the Villagers score of 237 for four (H. Waters 75 not out, Spratley 54, H.W. Duck 49). Lowen took seven wickets. The first recorded game against Alexandra Park was lost by one run (AP 72, WHVCC 71). In July, having dismissed Southgate Adelaide for 137 they had hard luck in not winning, when, after playing against time, only four runs were required when stumps were drawn at 134 for six (H. Waters 51). Lowen had taken six for 48. Generally speaking, H. Waters, S. Spratley and H.W. Duck had a good Season with the bat, while the bowling honours went to E.F. Lowen and, of course, J. Moore. 

It was announced in the local paper that:-

'WHVCC, one of the oldest established Clubs in the district, is celebrating the 24th year of its existence by a Dinner and Concert at the Green Dragon on Tuesday, 6 December 1904 at 7.30 pm.........'

The fixture list for 1905 included 19 matches for the 'A' Team and 15 for the 'B' Team. The first game in May against Enfield II was won by six runs. The next reported match was against St. Luke's (north Enfield) away, again won, this time by 19 runs. 'The Understudy's' comment on this game was:-

'...It was J. Moore's slow leg breaks that wrought havoc in the ranks of the home batsmen. For a regular Club player who admits to nearly 60 years, the veteran is something of a wonder. On Saturday he worked the "Spider and the Fly" business with great success as his 6 for 26 shows. Moore's bowling is essentially of that kind which invites the batsman to help himself get out ...'

In the return game against St. Luke's in August, the Villagers lost by two runs. Again Moore was amongst the wickets by claiming five. Following a very easy win over Camden Athletic, the Club won a close fought game against North London Ramblers - 96 to 83. H.W. Duck batted well for 40 and also took three wickets for 14, H.J. Duck took five for 26. The 'B' Team playing against Wood Green II in July piled up very quickly a score of 236 for four (Ellsmoor 80 not out), Huson 42, Smith 40), Wood Green scored only 33 (F. Nichols 5 for 8). The score was a record for the Club's 'B' Team. Both games against London County Asylum (Colney Hatch) were drawn. These games appeared to be much enjoyed by the Villagers for in forwarding the scores to the local paper the Team Secretary wrote:-

'I am sorry I cannot report a win, but the Asylum put together too many for us to obtain in the time left, although each player went in with the intention of "do" or be "did". Most of us alas, were the latter.'

He adds:-

'We always enjoy or visit to New Southgate as there is a splendid wicket and we are sure of a pleasant game. What more can a cricketer require?'

Of the eight matches reported during May and June 1906, old rivals St. Luke's won again, even though Moore took three for six, in their score of 112 - the Villagers totalled 66. In the game against Hatfield, the Villagers mustered 210 for seven (H.W. Duck 63) while Hatfield were bowled out for 99 (Ellsmoor obtaining the last four wickets for 10 runs). Against Southgate Adelaide the Villagers had a fine win for having scored 128 (F. Nichols 33, Spratley 23 not out, F.E. Waters 20) the Adelaide were well on the way to victory until Moore came on to bowl and altered the state of the game appreciably by taking three quick wickets for 14 runs so their innings closed at 106.

In July, the following is the comment on the game against St. Barts Hospital:-

'WHVCC have been doing some big things in the scoring line lately, but the performance, when the put a fairly strong Barts side out for 55 and then rattled up 268 for 9, is easily their best bit of work this season. That capable pair of cricketers - the brothers Duck - played a very prominent part in the game, HW taking 9 wickets and scoring 62 while brother HJ took the tenth wicket and made 85 runs. Seeing the good condition of Barts wicket, HW's success with the ball was rather remarkable, the fast bowler hitting the sticks eight times'.

The remainder of the Season produced mixed results but on six occasions the Villagers scored well over 100 runs fairly equally shared, but the main wicket takers were the Duck brothers and Moore.

Very little seems to have bee reported on the cricket and no annual report is available for the season 1907. Games against the usual opposition provided variable results. That against Northampton Institute at Ford's Grove could well have been the forerunner of the Club's long association with Northampton Poly - subsequently Northampton Exiles - late of Oakthorpe Road, Palmers Green. A particularly exciting game played late in July was against Hanley at Ford's Grove. The Villagers won a few minutes from time by five runs, which Handley had to make with three wickets in hand but the wickets were taken without any addition to their score. In the Villagers total of 113, L. Favier 46, F. Nichols 27 added 71 runs for the third wicket. Throughout the Season the Duck brothers were again prolific with bat and ball helped considerably by Favier and Nichols.

From 'Athletic Notes' in May 1908, the following appears:

'Mr. H.W. Duck (WHVCC) writes enthusiastically of his Club's prospects for the season. I am sorry to hear that some of the teams stalwarts have, for various reasons, been lost to the Club, but the Honorary Secretary is confident that the introduction of several new players, together with promotion of one or two second team men will preserve, or perhaps, increase the playing effectiveness of the side. Winchmore Hill opened their campaign with a win last week, the chief honours going to two of last season's second eleven players, Carter and Stephens...'

Later in the Season, in the report of the game against St. Luke's (North Enfield), the writer of 'Athletic Notes' commented:

'Winchmore Hill pitch is certainly not of the billiard table type as the Villagers made 51 for the loss of 1 wicket (L. Turner 32 not out, Huson 13 not out). Ground vagaries cannot be held altogether responsible for St. Luke's "record" score - 15, seven of which were extras. Put it down chiefly to the merits of the Winchmore Hill bowling aided by that little bit of luck that makes indifferent bowling good and better bowling better. Last and Duck clean bowled nine players. I am sorry I cannot give the bowlers analysis, but the reticent when he is immediately concerned and as things like this have happened before, and will probably happen again - not of course against St. Luke's - I humbly suggest that the WHVCC elect a new corresponding secretary - one whose modesty and playing powers are not quite so apparent.'

Generally for the season the games were close and exciting with good wins and bad losses which fully illustrates the ups and downs of cricket and the glorious uncertainty of the issue in a contest with bat and ball. The last match of the season, played at Crouch End against Hanley, who provided both umpires was intriguing. The Villagers made 134 for eight and when at 66 for nine an appeal by the Hanley batsmen against the light was upheld, the game was drawn at the fall of this wicket!

So far the first 28 seasons of the Club's cricket progress have been completed. Two and sometimes three teams have been fielded with results varying but generally improving all the time.

The conscientious and diligent work of successive officers and their committees had been duly recognised at Annual General Meetings, coupled with material financial support from the President and Vice-Presidents. This had had the effect of setting the Club on a steady course, enhanced support and membership has clearly assured a bright future. It is therefore fitting that the years from 1909 to the outbreak of The Great War at the end of the 1914 season are deserving of special attention.

In this connection, therefore, it seems appropriate to place on record the great administrative contributions of Mr. Fred J. Huson which commenced at this time. Mr. Huson joined the Club just before the turn of the century and appears in the averages for the Season 1898. He became Captain of the 'C' Team for the 1903 season but in addition to membership of the Committee was the Honorary Financial Secretary and Treasurer for 1909. From this office, at the General Meeting held at The Green Dragon Hotel on Friday 4 March 1910, he was unanimously elected Honorary Secretary on the retirement of the previous holder through ill health. Little could he, or anyone else for that matter, have realised that his term of office was to extend for the next 30 years. The following extract from the report for the year ending 30 September 1940 is significant and most appropriate:

'In common with most Clubs, the War has caused many changes in the personnel among officials and members, not the least being the evacuation of Mr. Fred Huson, for so many years the exceedingly hard-working and efficient Honorary Secretary. The Club was a life hobby, for during his many years of office he saw it grow from a "Village Club" to its present importance. For his generous and ever cheerful service the Club owes him a deep debt of gratitude.'

It is now with the help of handwritten minutes recorded in a little pocket note book he started at the meeting in 1910, (and regrettable only covers the next two and a half years), that aspects of the efficient administration, so typical of him can be given.

The balance sheet for 1909 which he presented showed a total expenditure of 36 18s. 5d. including the salary of the Groundsman 11 and the cost of new playing materials 7 4s. 7 1/2d. Of the receipts, a third came from the President and Vice-Presidents, half from Members subscriptions and the remainder from profits from refreshments. It is significant to mention that it was common practice of those time that when financial statements were announced and a deficiency had to be reported, the entry found was 'Balance due to the Treasurer'. This meant literally what it says for all seasonal outgoings were religiously met before final accounts were published. Needless to say, the Treasurer was in the clear for 1909! The business on the Agenda followed much the same lines of that of today's Cricket Section. The continuation of the use of 'The Club House' - The Green Dragon Hotel - where meetings of all sorts were held at an annual charge of 10s. 6d. was agreed unanimously.

At a General Meeting held in November 1910, the Secretary stated that no copies of the Club Rules were in his possession for distribution and it was therefore desirable that they either be confirmed or revised before an new print was undertaken for next season. Mr. Huson then read a slightly revised and in parts redrafted set of Rules issued in the 1890s:


That this Club be called the "Winchmore Hill Village Cricket Club".


That the affairs of the Club be conducted by the President, Vice-Presidents, Treasurer, Secretary, Captains, Vice-Captains and a Committee of eight Members. These Officers to be elected at the Annual General Meeting, held in the month of February, when a Report and Balance Sheet shall be presented by the Secretary.


That the Secretary keep an inventory of all the property of the Club. Keep all Minutes, and conduct the necessary correspondence of the Club, and furnish each Member with a copy of the Rules, and that the Treasurer keep an accurate account of all moneys paid or received on behalf of the Club and present a duly audited Balance Sheet at the End of the Season.


That the Officers and Committee conduct the general business of the Club, decide all questions not provided for in these Rules, choose teams, etc.


That applicants for admission to the Club pay an entrance fee of One Shilling before nomination, and that they be proposed at one Committee Meeting and elected at the next, providing the majority vote in their favour.


That the Subscriptions of Honorary Members be not less than Ten Shillings (50p), and of Playing Members, Five Shillings (25p) annually, the latter to be paid before June 1st.


That any Member, whose Subscription is due, failing to pay within one week after receiving a written notice from Secretary, shall not be allowed to play in any match, or practice, until same be paid.


That a Committee Meeting be held once a fortnight during season. Five to form a quorum.


That the Secretary call a Special General Meeting within fourteen days after receiving a requisition to do so, signed by one third of the Members of the Club. Notice of the Meeting to be given to all other members.


That the Laws of Cricket as revised by the Marylebone Cricket Club be adopted.

There were not contentious alterations but it is interesting to set out those that were thought necessary. Clearly with the continued growth of the Club it was necessary to recognise the volume of work now falling on the Treasurer and that office was altered to 'Financial Secretary and Treasurer' to relieve the Secretary of all matters and correspondence of financial content. It was suggested that a General Meeting should be held in November for the purpose of receiving a report, the averages and a duly audited balance sheet for the past season. This would be in the hands of Members for the Annual General Meeting in February, but would leave that meeting free to deal with all elections and any other business. With regard to subscriptions, it was agreed that Active Members should pay ten shillings (50p) and Honorary Members five shillings (25p) in future and exceptions would only be made with the consent of the Committee. The first Rule about Club Colours is inserted. These have already been mentioned in the report for 1898 as 'maroon'. However, the new Rule would read 'That the Club Colours be Dark Green and Maroon with White stripes'. These revisions were all agreed and re-printing of the Rules was authorised by the Annual General Meeting held in February 1911. (It is understood from members of post Great War years that the Club Colours were today's purple, black and white. The reasons for and the exact date of the change are unknown.)

At a meeting of the Committee held on 7 April 1911, another step worthy of note was taken. It was reported that the first Bank account on behalf of the Club had been opened with the Winchmore Hill Branch of the London and Provincial Bank Limited.

A further aspect of administration was the firm arrangements made to seek to have published all reports of Club meetings, fixtures and results. In addition to the Meyers Observer, reports were to be sent to the Sentinel, the Middlesex Gazette and The Recorder. (The Meyers Observer was renamed The Enfield Gazette and Observer in 1913 when the Palmers Green and Southgate Gazette was first published and subsequently contained Club reports.)

Attention was next directed in 1910 and 1911 to the great need to effect improvements to the ground and playing facilities coupled with consideration of the erection of a new pavilion. The major problem however, was lack of funds, just as it is today to an even greater degree.

The framer, Mr. Mortiboy, who had a lease to run cattle over the ground, agreed to cutting outfield areas outside the hurdles round the table and the cricketer John Moore was very adept with a scythe! Turf for the repair of the table was also made available, but repairs and improvements to the fencing had to be delayed.

Attention was therefore directed to the raising of funds for ground improvements and to this end Whist Drives and Concerts proved to be great financial successes. Much publicity was given to the need to increase membership and a cordial invitation was extended to residents to visit the ground and more closely identify themselves with the Club. This proved very successful as the following table will show:
  Vice Presidents Honorary Members Active Members
1900 12 24 36
1910 20 24 33
1912 30 20 55
1914 36 25 117

Amongst the 1912/14 membership appeared on Baronet, one K.C., three J.P.s, four Dr.s and three Clergy. In the report for 1913 the efforts of the past three years were shown to have enabled the Club to bring about the changes in its ground so long desired. Obstructing trees were removed; the old pavilion, in use for the past 30 years, was rebuilt in a more fitting position and a new one erected by its side, together with a water supply laid on from the main. Since its inception the Club had employed a Groundsman whose salary (per Season) in 1894 was 7, in 1090 it had risen to 11. In 1914 the Ground Staff wages were nearly 54 which included a Ground Boy and 'Other Assistants'.

In 1912, with the proposed improvements to the ground it was found possible to form a Lawn Tennis Section and four Tennis Courts were established, two being situated on the site of the present practice wickets (nets). Included in the Active Members figures for 1912 were 18 Tennis Members, four also being cricketers. By 1914, membership had increased to 85, 23 of whom were also cricketers. Some matches were arranged for 1913 and by the following Season 13 matches were played during the Summer months. The first recorded Club Tournament was in 1914, the ladies singles was won by a Miss Carter and the gentlemen's singles by Mr. J.W. Simmons.

Reverting to Cricket, the period 1909 to 1914 included a 1st and 2nd XI instead of 'A' and 'B' XIs and in 1913 three elevens were regularly fielded each Saturday, no play being yet allowed on Sundays. The following is a statistical and general report for this period.

1909 Played 47 Won 28 Drawn 7 Lost 12  
  'H.W. Duck heads the batting averages and comes very near the top of the bowling list. It is worthy of note that J. Moore, who has played for the Club since its formation succeeded in taking 96 wickets during the season - a remarkable feat.'
1910 Played 43 Won 20 Drawn 4 Lost 18 Tied 1
  'C.J. Baker heads the batting averages followed by H.W. Duck who, reversing last year's order with W. Last, heads the bowling list.

J. Moore still continues in active membership and has again secured the highest aggregate of wickets for the season with a total of 89. Included in this, is seven wickets for one run on August Bank Holiday against the Clissold C.C.'.


Played 57 Won 28 Drawn 9 Lost 20  
  W. Last heads the batting list and G.A. Stevens that for the bowling. The highest aggregate of wickets again goes to 'our veteran' J. Moore with a total of 101. The bowling strength was much weakened through H.W. Duck being incapacitated by an unfortunate accident to his leg while playing football last April. His name will be missed from its usual place at the head of the list. Satisfaction is felt at the return of S.M. Spratley (for many years captain of the Club, and always an ardent supporter) to active participation in the game.'


Played 56 Won 33 Drawn 6 Lost 17  
  'The batting has two outstanding features; one, the success of L. Favier, one of the oldest members of the Club who, with a record aggregate of 729, which includes two centuries, heads the list; the other, that of F.G. Lavers, a new member, who, joining somewhat late in the season, just fails to qualify for a place in the averages. His record of 182 runs for four completed innings. Another new member, H.P. Nicholl, heads the bowling list followed by F.E. Clarke. Our veteran, J. Moore, this year shares the honour of the largest aggregate of wickets with his son T. Moore, both securing a total of 74.'


Played 62 Won 31 Drawn 2 Lost 29 Abandoned 11 
  The batting list is headed by F.G. Lavers, with an aggregate of 501 (which includes two centuries) for 13 completed innings, and that for bowling by A.W. Fraser with 49 wickets. These two gentlemen qualify for the prizes kindly offered by Mr. O. Maskell, on of the Club's Vice Presidents.

It is pleasing to record that at the Annual General Meeting held earlier in the year 1913, John Moore, one of the founders of the Club, was elected its first Life Member. Mr. Moore's association with the Club is now a matter of history. He Captained it in its earliest days, giving valuable service as Vice-Captain in later years and was still a Committee Member for the Season 1914. His prowess as a bowler in particular is well known and he was still playing at the age of 65 at the outbreak of the Great War. Mr. Moore passed away in December 1921 after a prolonged illness at the age of 72.

WHVCC 1913

The 1st XI - Season 1913
Standing (Left to Right): J. Huson (Umpire), J.W. Simmons, R.H. McLeod, F. Rogers, 
H.J. Duck, C.J. Baker, S. Johnson Seated: F. Clarke, H.W. Duck, S.M. Spratley (Captain),
F.J. Huson, L. Favier, H. Duck (Scorer) 

In 1914, the hopes and aspirations engendered by so many over so many years and the great advances of the past five years in particular, which had set a firm pattern for the future, were to be brought to an untimely halt by the outbreak of the Great War on 4 August. Twenty-six matches had to be abandoned, mainly due to some 20 odd members having responded to the call for men 'and yet more men'.

In spite of these adverse circumstance, the record for the Season read: Played 57, Won 22, Drawn 11, Lost 22, Tied 2.

F.G. Lavers again headed the batting averages with an aggregate of 246 for eight completed innings and F.D. Devey those for bowling with 35 wickets. The latter qualified for one of the prizes again kindly offered by Mr. O. Maskell, but F.G. Lavers not having played in the necessary 12 innings, the other prize went to J. Chamberlain, with an aggregate of 393 for 13 completed innings.

The prospects for the 1915 Season were of course uncertain. Many well known members would be fulfilling more serious duties. They would be missed and their speedy return hoped for. 
The Great War Seasons - 1915 to 1918

Such references to cricket that are available indicate that it was suspended by Clubs in the district for 1915 and 1916. With the massive call for men to the Services a general view seems to have been that no one of military age should be allowed to play except discharged soldiers. However, some cricket of a subdued kind was played in 1917 and 1918 for there are reports of games played by the Club but only with Alexandra Par C.C. A nucleus of members were therefore able to prepare during the latter part of the winter of 1918/19 for season 1919.

The Club's Concerts run before the war to assist finance its own development, were turned towards a series begun in February 1915 held in St. Paul's Institute, Stationer Road, to raise funds for the Roseneath Voluntary Hospital. Associated in the same object, it is important to mention the 'Grange' Ladies Hockey Club, the forerunners of the Women's Hockey Section of today whose history is included in a succeeding Chapter. As the 'Grange Concert Party' they entertained throughout the war years with much success contributing not only to Roseneath but also to Grovelands Military Hospital.

Back to History

Forward to Between the Wars

Forward to Post War to Centenary

[page updated 1 April 2011]



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