Artillery Ground

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Artillery Ground
Artillery Ground in 2008.jpg
LocationFinsbury, Islington
Home clubLondon Cricket Club
Honourable Artillery Company Cricket Club
Establishmentby 1730

The Artillery Ground in Finsbury is an open space originally set aside for archery and later known also as a cricket venue. Today it is used for military exercises, rugby and football matches. It belongs to the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC), whose headquarters, Armoury House, overlook the grounds.

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

From 1498, about 11 acres (4.5 ha) of the 23-acre (9.3 ha) Bunhill Fields were set aside for the practice of archery and shooting. Today's 8-acre (3.2 ha) site was given to the Artillery Company in 1638.[1]

Cricket[edit]

Although the earliest definite cricket match at the Artillery Ground, between London and Surrey, took place in August 1730, it is believed to have been used to host matches as early as 1725. London used the ground regularly, as did England XIs throughout much of the 18th century.[2] There were five matches recorded on the ground in 1731, three against Dartford and two against Croydon and the ground became the most important in the country for a time.[2][3]

By the 1770s the HAC was attempting to block cricket being played on the ground, and the last significant match for over 50 years took place in 1778.[2][3] Two matches which have since been given retrospective first-class cricket status: one played in 1773 and the other in 1778. Both saw England sides play Hampshire on the ground.[3]

Cricket was restarted on the ground in 1846 but only members of the HAC were allowed to play. The HAC Cricket Club was founded in 1860.[2]

Later history[edit]

On 15 September 1784 Vincenzo Lunardi, flew a balloon from the Artillery Ground, the first such flight in England.[4]

The area is now used for rugby and football in the winter and cricket in the summer by HAC teams including HAC RFC.[5][6] Notably, it hosted a rugby union match between Saracens and the USA national team on 9 November 2010, won 20–6 by Saracens.[7] It is also, as a source of revenue for the HAC, rented out for parties and events including the annual Cityrace 5km run through the City's streets.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anthony Higmore (1804). The History of the Honourable Artillery Company of the City of London. p. 64.
  2. ^ a b c d Artillery Ground, CricInfo. Retrieved 2019-01-01.
  3. ^ a b c Honourable Artillery Company Ground, Finsbury, CricketArchive. Retrieved 2019-01-01. (subscription required)
  4. ^ Rumens, Carol, 13 October 2008. "Poem of the Week: To a Louse", Guardian Books Blog, retrieved 5 August 2012.
  5. ^ Cricket Club, The Honourable Artillery Company. Retrieved 2018-01-01.
  6. ^ "HAC RFC". Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Sarries beat USA in the City" (Press release). Saracens Ltd. 9 November 2010. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  8. ^ "Race Information". Cityrace 2018. Archived from the original on 11 October 2018. Retrieved 10 October 2018.

Coordinates: 51°31′19″N 0°05′19″W / 51.5219°N 0.0887°W / 51.5219; -0.0887