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Edgbaston county cricket club in Birmingham

The area of Edgbaston has become synonymous with cricket and the ground that is home to the Warwickshire County Cricket Club welcomes thousands of visitors and match supporters every year.

Edgbaston [map] will be forever linked to cricket and was first mentioned in Birmingham back in the 1700s when the landlord of the Bell Inn, adjacent to the present day Smallbrook Queensway, advertised for matches for his team.

In 1826 the Wellbourne club established a ground on land owned by the Earl of Warwick near Warwick Racecourse.

The first match known to have taken place here was in August 1843 and it was in 1864 that a group of aristocrats and gentlemen, from the rural parts of the county, formed what was then “Warwickshire County Cricket Club”.

They played several matches a year but, with strong class restrictions and vast areas of the county ignored; the club was totally unrepresentative of the county as a whole.

Meanwhile, in Birmingham cricket was fast becoming a popular sport.
A Birmingham Association of Cricket Clubs was formed by a local schoolmaster, William Ansell, and in 1882 Ansell helped organise a meeting in Coventry to discuss the formation of a fully representative county club.

In attendance were representatives of the Warwickshire Gentlemen’s Club and people from Coventry and Birmingham. At the meeting a broad agreement was reached and, when they met again at the Regent Hotel, Leamington, on April 8, 1882, the present Warwickshire County Cricket Club was established.

Birmingham was the chosen location for the ground and it was decided that 12 acres of meadowland by the banks of the Rea, on the Calthorpe Estate, should be acquired.

By June 1886 sufficient improvements had been effected for Warwickshire to open the new ground with a fixture against an MCC team. The conditions still left much to be desired but at least Warwickshire was finally playing on its own ground.

So, Warwickshire was now on the cricketing map where it would stay for centuries to come, and Edgbaston began to welcome visitors who still flock there to see this impressive and historical cricket ground.

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