England's 'golden age': Imperial cricket and late Victorian society

06 Jul 2016

For Patrick Morrah, the 'golden age' of English cricket came at the dawn of the twentieth century, spanning the two decades between 1895 and 1914 (Morrah, P. The Golden Age of Cricket. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1967). Beginning in 1895 and the burgeoning of the 'Indian summer' of W.G. Grace, the game was as popular as ever in the home country, while overseas cricket's influence had spread to all boundaries of Britain's empire. This article will explore the growth of cricket's significance during the latter part of the nineteenth century - a time when within Britain and Her colonies, such as those in South Africa, the game came to symbolise the very essence of English, Victorian society. The article will investigate issues of race, gender and professionalism within the world of cricket as well as those institutions responsible for shaping the sport into the revered and exclusive 'Englishman's game'