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Founded 1787
Home Page
Address Lords Cricket Ground
Clubhouse occupied since 1814
Club established for Cricket
Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) was founded in 1787 as a private members' club dedicated to the development of cricket. It owns, and is based at, Lord's Cricket Groundmarker near St John's Woodmarker in north Londonmarker. MCC was formerly the governing body of cricket in England and across the world. Most of its global functions were passed on to the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1993 and its Englishmarker governance was passed to the England and Wales Cricket Board at the same time.

MCC revised and reissued the Laws of Cricket in 1788 and remains the copyright holder. It occasionally raises its own teams that may be rated first-class depending on the status of the opposition: e.g., an MCC team traditionally plays the reigning county champions at the start of each English season.

History and role

A plaque in Dorset Square marks the site of the original Lord's ground and commemorates the founding of the MCC.
The MCC is generally understood to have been founded in 1787 when Thomas Lord opened his first groundmarker on the site now occupied by Dorset Square and the club adopted this as its home venue. In fact, MCC in 1787 was the reconstitution of a much older club that had its origins in the early 18th century, possibly sooner. The former club has been referred to by names such as "The Noblemen's and Gentlemen's Club" or "The Cricket Club" and it was based for a long time at the Star and Garter on Pall Mallmarker. It was essentially a social and gambling club but had a number of sporting connections including the original London Cricket Club, the Jockey Club, Hambledon Club, the White Conduit Club and various prizefighting promotions.

When the members formed the White Conduit Club for cricket in the early 1780s they played at White Conduit Fieldsmarker in Islingtonmarker but they soon became dissatisfied with the surroundings and complained that the site was "too public". Thomas Lord was a professional bowler at White Conduit and he was asked by the members, who guaranteed him against any financial losses, to find a more private venue within easy distance of London. When Lord opened his new ground, the gentlemen's club moved there and initially renamed themselves as "the Mary-le-bone Club".

:See also : Lord's Cricket Groundmarker and 1787 English cricket season.
The pavilion at Lord's cricket ground, home of MCC
From the beginning of the 20th century, MCC organised the England cricket team and, outside of Test match, the touring England team officially played as "MCC" up to and including the 1976/77 tour of Australia. The last time the England touring team wore distinctive yellow and red stripes as the colours of the Marylebone Cricket Club while on tour of New Zealand in 1996-97.

The club's colour had been sky blue for about a century after its foundation in 1787 but changed for reasons that remain unconfirmed. One theory is that MCC adopted the red and yellow of Nicholson's gin after the company's owner, William Nicholson, secured the club's position at Lord's with a loan.

Laws of Cricket. Although MCC remains the framer and copyright holder of the Laws of Cricket, this role is increasingly under pressure as the ICC seeks to exercise control over all aspects of the world game. In recent times the ICC has instituted changes to the Laws (e.g., in One Day Internationals) with a minimum of consultation with MCC. Also, in moving its location from Lord'smarker to Dubaimarker, the ICC has made a clear statement of independence from the past and from MCC.

MCC coaching manuals over the years
Coaching. The MCC has always been heavily involved in coaching the game of cricket and the club's current head coach Mark Alleyne heads an extensive operation involving the running of an indoor cricket school and a team of coaches in England and around the world. The MCC is famous for its coaching manual the "MCC Cricket Coaching Book" which is often regarded as the bible of cricket coaching.


MCC member in distinctive MCC colours
MCC has 18,000 full members and 4,000 associate members. Members have special rights to use the Pavilion and other stands at Lord's for all matches played at the ground.

In order to join the waiting list of candidates for membership one must get the vote (of which each full member has one a year) of three members, and the additional sponsorship of a person on the List of MCC Sponsors (which consists of members of all MCC Sub-Committees; MCC Committee; MCC Out Match Representatives; and the Current, Past, and Designate President). As the demand for membership always is greater than the number of places available each year (there being just over 400 places in 2005), there is a substantial waiting list for Full Ordinary Membership, namely 20 years (although this compares favourably to the 30-year wait which was the norm in the 1920s). There are, however, ways to lessen the time it takes to become a full member. One may become a Playing Member, or Out-Match Member (although this carries none of the privileges of membership, apart from being able to play for the club).

Alternatively, one may be awarded Honorary Life Membership, yet this is a very rare honour to be bestowed on someone. Current Honorary Life Members include Sir Garfield Sobers, Sunil Gavaskar, Henry Olonga, Andy Flower, Hashan Tillakaratne, Dickie Bird, David Shepherd, Aravinda de Silva, Alec Stewart and Rachael Heyhoe-Flint.


The club's members persistently refused to allow female membership well into the 1990s, with club ballots on the change unable to attract the two-thirds majority amongst the membership required for implementation. A 70% majority of members eventually voted to allow female membership in September 1998, so ending 212 years of male exclusivity. Up until this time the Queen, as the club's patron, was the only woman (other than domestic staff) permitted to enter the Pavilion during play. Later five women were invited to join as playing members.

Further controversy occurred in 2005 when the club was criticised (including by some of its own members) for siding with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over the latter's decision to award television rights for Test cricket to British Sky Broadcasting. The Secretary & Chief Executive of the MCC at the time, Roger Knight, represented MCC on the board of the ECB and was party to this controversial and much criticised decision.

Another controversy was MCC's decision to allow members and other spectators to continue to bring limited amounts of alcoholic drinks into the ground at all matches. This decision challenged the ICC, which was attempting to implement a ban on this practice at all international matches around the world. MCC has to write to the ICC on an annual basis to seek permission for members and spectators to import alcohol into Lord's Cricket Groundmarker. No other Ground Authority has thought it necessary to seek permission from the ICC for their members and spectators to import alcohol into their cricket ground, there being money to be made out of selling alcohol themselves.

For some the MCC's continued role in the administration of English cricket is an anachronism. The Secretary & Chief Executive of the club has a place on the administrative board of the England and Wales Cricket Board and it is reported that Keith Bradshaw (the current Secretary & Chief Executive) was influential in the removal from office of England Coach Duncan Fletcher in April 2007.

MCC today

MCC teams continue to play regularly, occasionally still at first-class level. The club has traditionally produced its MCC Coaching manual, a bible for traditional cricket skills, and runs a training programme for young cricketers.

MCC is also known to tour around England, playing matches against various state and private schools. This tradition has been followed since the 19th century. The club also has a real tennis and a squash court, and active Golf and Bridge societies.

Often viewed as overly staid and pontifical, the club has of late improved its image in the eyes of the public and media, partly because it remains a citadel for tradition in a fast-changing landscape and partly because it has made a concerted move towards image-improvement. "It would be overstating things to claim that the MCC has come full circle," admitted Andrew Miller at the beginning of October 2008, "but at a time of massive upheaval in the world game, the... colours of NW8 have ceased to represent everything that is wrong with cricket, and instead have become a touchstone for those whose greatest fear is the erosion of the game's traditional values."

In April 2008 in Mumbaimarker, the Indian Premier League, viewed by many as the very antithesis of the MCC, pledged its allegiance to the club's Spirit of Cricket campaign.

Officers of the Club

Presidents serve a twelve month term, with each President having the right to designate his successor.

See also



  1. Chris Roberts, Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind Rhyme, Thorndike Press,2006 (ISBN 0-7862-8517-6)
  2. From Lads to Lord's – 1787. Retrieved on 19 July 2009.
  3. Miller 2008.

External sources

Further reading

  • H S Altham, A History of Cricket, Volume 1 (to 1914), George Allen & Unwin, 1962
  • Derek Birley, A Social History of English Cricket, Aurum, 1999
  • Rowland Bowen, Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1970
  • G B Buckley, Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket, Cotterell, 1935
  • G B Buckley, Fresh Light on Pre-Victorian Cricket, Cotterell, 1937
  • David Frith, The Golden Age of Cricket 1890-1914, Lutterworth, 1978
  • Arthur Haygarth, Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744-1826), Lillywhite, 1862
  • John Major, More Than A Game, HarperCollins, 2007
  • Graeme Wright, Wisden at Lord's, Wisden, 2005
  • Stephen Green, Lord's, Cathedral of Cricket The History Press Ltd, 2003

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