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Our History

Marylebone Cricket Club is the world’s most active cricket club, the owner of Lord’s Ground and the guardian of the Laws of the game.

The Beginning

Marylebone Cricket Club was founded in 1787, taking as its home a cricket ground set up by the ambitious entrepreneur Thomas Lord staged his first match – between Middlesex and Essex – on a ground on Dorset Fields in Marylebone.

The following year, MCC laid down a Code of Laws, requiring the wickets to be pitched 22 yards apart and detailing how players could be given out. Its Laws were adopted throughout the game – and the Club today remains the custodian and arbiter of Laws relating to cricket around the world.

In 1814 MCC moved up the road to a new rural ground in St John's Wood - which remains their home to this day. A decade later, when Thomas Lord was 70, he sold the ground to a Bank of England director, William Ward, for £5,400. Having provided the Marylebone Cricket Club with a ground for 38 years, Lord retired before passing away seven years later - but his name lives on.

In the 1870s, MCC decided it wanted to get involved in county cricket, which was growing in popularity, and, in 1877, it invited Middlesex to adopt Lord's as its county ground - an arrangement which continues over 140 years later.

In 1877 MCC sent James Lillywhite and an England side to Australia in what would become the first official Test match - although it was not until 26 years later, in 1903, that MCC undertook responsibility for England's tours in an official capacity.

Thomas Lord portrait

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A painting of W.G. Grace

One of MCC's most famous players, and one of the greatest cricketers to play the game, Dr W.G. Grace, gave the Club even greater recognition through his monumental performances and his stature as one of Britain’s first sporting celebrities. A painting of him by Archibald Stuart-Wortley was presented to the Club in 1890 and still hangs in the famous Long Room.

At the turn of the century, the Board of Control for Test Matches, the Advisory County Cricket Committee and the Imperial Cricket Conference were all set up to cater for the growth in domestic, and international cricket. These bodies existed until 1968 when there was a major reorganisation of cricket in England.

Since MCC was a private club it could not receive public funds, so it set up a Cricket Council as the governing body of cricket and the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB) to administer the professional game. It also converted its MCC Cricket Association into the National Cricket Association (NCA) to look after the recreational game. As a result, cricket started to receive financial help from the Government.

In the 1990s, the structure was changed again with the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) taking over responsibility for all cricket in England from the TCCB, NCA and Cricket Council.

The Club Today

There are now 18,350 Full and 6,000 Associate Members of MCC.

These Members own the Ground and all of MCC’s assets (the most famous of which is the Ashes Urn), they govern the Club through various committees, and some 2,000 of them represent MCC on the field of play each year.

MCC plays more matches than any other cricket club – around 480 per year against schools, universities and clubs in the UK, and between 20 and 30 fixtures annually as part of its overseas touring programme which aims to develop cricket abroad.

The Club invests around £2 million in the game each year, funding elite youth cricketers, its extensive playing programme, and the promotion of the Laws and Spirit of Cricket.

On the international stage, MCC has a World Cricket Committee, currently chaired by Mike Gatting, that contains eminent current and former players and administrators. It has a remit to act as an independent think tank debating issues and making recommendations about the health and state of the game, as well as to commission research.


The Colours of MCC

The Colours of MCC

The original MCC colour of sky blue was replaced in Victorian times by the famous red and yellow. They are now recognised the world over (affectionately referred to as 'egg and bacon').

MCC Museum houses a boundary flag dating from this period, which is the earliest known example of the red and yellow monogram, but it remains a mystery on why these colours were chosen – though a number of explanations have been proposed.

The colours are similar to those used as racing colours by The Duke of Richmond who had strong ties with the Club in the early days of MCC. While it has also been suggested that the colours were borrowed from the wandering club I Zingari who were founded in 1845 and shared many members with the MCC. 

However, common consensus leans to the Club taking on its colours as a personal thank you to William Nicholson who assisted in purchasing the freehold of Lord’s Ground. Nicholson, an MCC Member, was also the owner of the Nicholson’s Gin Company, the colours of which were red and yellow – in what was perhaps an early example of corporate sponsorship.

Whatever their origin there is no doubt that the colours of MCC are among the most famous club colours and are instantly recognised across the sporting world.

“A private Club with a public function.”

- Sir Pelham Warner.

MCC Presidents

Since 1821, there have been 170 Presidents of MCC, including three who served two terms.

Of these Presidents, a number had notable titles outside the Club; one was a member of the Royal Family, 93 were noblemen, eight were honourable, six were baronets and 13 were knights.

The current President of MCC is Mark Nicholas.

Please Note: 1787-1820 No records remain - the fire of 28 July 1825 destroyed them

2024    MCJ Nicholas
2023    SJ Fry
2022    CJ Connor
2021    KC Sangakkara
2020    KC Sangakkara
2019    AW Wreford
2018    Lord MacLaurin of Knebworth 
2017    MV Fleming
2016    RDV Knight
2015    FD Morgan
2014    MW Gatting
2013    MG Griffith
2012    RP Hodson
2011    CDA Martin-Jenkins
2010    JRT Barclay
2009    DL Underwood
2008    JM Brearley
2007    DJ Insole
2006    RG Marlar
2005    TW Graveney
2004    CA Fry
2003    Sir Timothy Rice
2002    ER Dexter
2001    Lord Alexander of Weedon

1998-2000    AR Lewis
1996-98    ACD Ingleby-Mackenzie
1994-96    Sir Oliver Popplewell
1992-94    DRW Silk
1991    MEL Melluish
1990    Baron Griffiths of Govilon
1989    Sir Denys Roberts
1988    Field Marshal Baron Bramall of Bushfield
1987    JJ Warr
1986    MC Cowdrey
1985    JGW Davies
1984    FG Mann
1983    AHA Dibbs
1982    Sir Anthony Tuke
1981    GHG Doggart
1980    PBH May
1979    SC Griffith
1978    CH Palmer
1977    DG Clark
1976    WH Webster
1975    CGA Paris
1974    HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
1973    Lord Caccia
1972    AM Crawley
1971    FR Brown

1970    Sir Cyril Hawker
1969    MJC Allom
1968    R Aird
1967    AER Gilligan
1966    Sir Alec Douglas-Home
1965    Lt Gen Sir Oliver Leese
1964    RH Twining
1963    GOB Allen
1962    Lt Col Lord Nugent
1961    Col Sir William Worsley
1960    Sir Hubert Ashton
1959    HS Altham
1958    Marshal of the RAF Viscount Portal of Hungerford
1957    The Duke of Norfolk
1956    Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
1955    Field Marshal Earl Alexander of Tunis
1954    Viscount Cobham
1953    The Earl of Rosebery
1952    The Duke of Beaufort
1951    W Findlay
1950    Sir Pelham Warner
1949    HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
1948    The Earl of Gowrie
1947    Lord Cornwallis
1946    General Sir Ronald Adam
1939-45    S. Christopherson

1938    1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley
1937    Col. Hon. J.J. Astor
1936    6th Baron Somers
1935    9th Viscount Cobham
1934    2nd Earl of Cromer
1933    1st Viscount Hailsham
1932    Viscount Lewisham
1931    1st Viscount Bridgeman
1930    Sir Kynaston Studd, Bt.
1929    Field Marshal Lord Plumer
1928    5th Earl of Lucan
1927    3rd Baron Leconfield
1926    3rd Viscount Hampden
1925    Admiral of the Fleet Sir John de Robeck, Bt.
1924    1st Baron Ernle
1923    1st Viscount Ullswater
1922    1st Viscount Chelmsford
1921    Hon. Sir Stanley Jackson

1920    4th Earl of Ellesmere
1919    1st Lord Forster
1914-18    7th Baron Hawke
1913    Earl of Dalkeith
1912    9th Duke of Devonshire
1911    1st Baron Desborough
1910    2nd Earl of Londesborough
1909    10th Earl of Chesterfield
1908    3rd Earl Cawdor
1907    1st Baron Loreburn
1906    WH Long
1905    Charles E. Green
1904    Marquess of Granby
1903    Viscount Alverstone
1902    Allan G. Steel
1901    4th Earl Howe
1900    Hon. Ivo Bligh

1899    Sir Archibald L. Smith
1898    Hon. Alfred Lyttleton
1897    3rd Earl of Lichfield
1896    14th Earl of Pembroke
1895    4th Baron Harris
1894    7th Earl of Jersey
1893    6th Earl of Dartmouth
1892    William E. Denison
1891    Vyell E. Walker
1890    22nd Baron Willoughby de Eresby
1889    Sir Henry James
1888    6th Duke of Buccleuch
1887    Hon. Edward Chandos Leigh
1886    5th Baron Lyttleton
1885    3rd Baron Wenlock
1884    5th Earl Winterton
1883    Hon. Robert Grimston
1882    2nd Baron Belper
1881    Lord George Hamilton

1880    Sir William Hart-Dyke, Bt.
1879    William Nicholson
1878    2nd Lord Fitzhardinge
1877    8th Duke of Beaufort
1876    1st Lord Londesborough
1875    Sir Charles Legard, Bt.
1874    Marquess of Hamilton
1873    Viscount Chelsea
1872    8th Viscount Downe
1871    5th Earl of Clarendon
1870    JH Scourfield
1869    5th Marquess of Lansdowne
1868    2nd Baron Methuen
1867    2nd Earl of Verulam
1866    7th Earl of Sandwich
1865    1st Baron Ebury
1864    1st Earl of Dudley
1863    5th Baron Suffield
1862    4th Earl of Sefton
1861    5th Earl Spencer

1860    2nd Baron Skelmersdale
1859    9th Earl of Coventry
1858    Lord Garlies
1857    Sir Frederic H. Hervey-Bathurst, Bt.
1856    Viscount Milton
1855    Earl of Uxbridge
1854    Earl Vane
1853    Marquess of Worcester
1852    Viscount Dupplin
1851    7th Earl of Stamford
1850    Lord Guernsey
1849    6th Earl of Darnley
1848    2nd Earl of Leicester
1847    12th Earl of Strathmore
1846    4th Earl of Winterton
1845    Thomas Chamberlayne
1844    Sir John Bayley, Bt.
1843    2nd Earl of Ducie
1842    Earl of March
1841    2nd Earl of Craven

1840    1st Earl of Verulam
1839    6th Earl of Chesterfield
1838    2nd Marquess of Exeter
1837    4th Viscount Grimston
1836    4th Baron Suffield
1835    Lord Charles Russell
1834    Hon. A.H. Ashley
1833    Herbert Jenner
1832    H. Howard
1831    William Deedes
1830    Hon. G. Ponsonby
1829    J. Barnard
1828    A.F. Greville
1827    Henry Kingscote
1826    Lord Frederick Beauclerk, D.D.
1825    Charles J. Barnett
1824    H.T. Lane
1823    B. Aislabie
1822    H.T. Lloyd
1821    Lord Strathavon


Honorary Life Members
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