After an almost 20 year gap following the construction of the Tavern Stand in the 1960s, MCC looked to celebrate its Bicentenary in 1987 with its most ambitious building project yet.
The original Mound Stand had been built on the site of the old tennis court in 1899 and was a popular place to watch cricket from. With a deadline of less than two years before the Bicentenary summer, the project to build a new Mound Stand faced challenges of time and budget. The winning design, created by Michael Hopkins & Partners, was a successful combination of the old and the new. It would retain the seven handsome brick arches built by Frank Verity at the rear of the terrace and build a new superstructure above it. The result would be quicker, and cheaper, than removing the whole of the existing stand while still offering a striking and modern design.
The challenge of funding was met through a partnership. J. Paul Getty II, a convert to the game through his friendship with Mick Jagger and keen to make a contribution to the Home of Cricket, offered to supply 50% of the £3 million budget. When costs rose by 45%, Getty calmly produced a cheque for the increased amount. Hopkins’ design was widely acclaimed as a triumph, marrying the elegant solidity of Verity’s Victorian brickwork with a tented roof membrane evoking the marquees of country house and festival cricket. The stand was supplemented by the new Bicentenary Gate, its design referencing the brick arches of the stand, given to the Club by the Duke of Westminster in memory of his uncle, Viscount Cobham, a former Treasurer and President of MCC. The stand was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh on 6 May 1987, at the beginning of a wonderful summer of celebration for MCC.