The Marylebone Cricket Club was founded in 1787 by a group of gentlemen seeking a more peaceful and secluded area for their cricket.
Thomas Lord’s new Ground at Dorset Fields was popular and successful, but the peace and seclusion didn’t last long. At turn of the 19th century, London was expanding rapidly, and the cost of land was going up just as fast. When the lease on Dorset Fields expired in 1811, Lord refused to pay the rent increase and closed the ground. Lord had planned ahead. Three years earlier, he had the foresight to rent a couple of fields on the Eyre family estate at the top of Lisson Grove in rural St John’s Wood. Lord’s New Middle Ground opened in 1809. So for a couple of years there were two Lord’s grounds in operation. Lord rented out the new ground to the St John’s Wood CC, while MCC played on at the old one. Then, when the old ground closed, Lord moved everything, including his turf, to the new location.
The new ground was not popular with Members. It was said to be far from habitation and lacked atmosphere - for atmosphere, read a Tavern. MCC didn’t play a single match there until 1813. By then its fate was already sealed. In 1812, the news broke that Parliament intended to cut the new Regent’s Canal right through the ground, a move that without the pioneering spirit of Thomas Lord might have been the end for the Club. But typically Lord turned the situation to his advantage. He managed to persuade the Eyre Estate to grant him £4,000 compensation and find him another plot of land as well. Once more Lord moved his turf north, put up another fence, and built another pavilion. This time he made sure there was a public house on site as well. The first meeting of MCC at the new Lord’s Ground was advertised for May 9 1814. With four days to go, an explosion in the Tavern almost spelled tragedy. But Lord was undeterred. On 22 June 1814, MCC beat Hertfordshire by an innings and 27 runs, in the first match to be played on the Ground we all now know as Lord’s.