Wisden History

1864 - 1879 Print Runs and Price Guide

Now this is a big topic – The prices and print runs of the first 15 Wisdens.

Watch this space, I will endeavour to bring to you the information I have acquired, researched, been told – you get the point, on print runs for the 1864 to 1879 period as well as the latest price guides. The price guide is not based on ‘finger in the air, well this sold on eBay for x so it must be worth y’ data…it is based on factual information gained across Wisden-seller websites, dealer catalogues, auction prices for the past decade, and it will be here in die course.

I appreciate your patience.

March 2020:

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Wisden 1864 - 1879 Article, Price Guide and Print Runs.

The Wisdener (the newsletter of the Wisden Collectors’ Club) thought it might be of interest to members to put together an outline of Wisden content and information. We are very grateful to John Pratt, who emigrated to Australia as a £10 Pom back in 1963, but who shouts louder than most at the fall of an Aussie wicket, for the following article…thank you John.

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Wisden 1900-1919

The Wisdener (the newsletter of the Wisden Collectors’ Club) thought it might be of interest to members to put together an outline of Wisden content and information. We are very grateful to John Pratt, who emigrated to Australia as a £10 Pom back in 1963, but who shouts louder than most at the fall of an Aussie wicket, for the following article…thank you John.

1900 – 09.

The one hundred Wisdens that make up the Almanack’s contribution to first class cricket in the twentieth century are arguably the most complete and accurate reporting of any sport over such an extended period. It is a magnificent, factual history of the game’s development during that time. Unbiased, missing nothing of consequence, there is plenty of comment and opinion, throughout the truth shines through like a beacon.

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Wisden 1920-1929

The Wisdener (the newsletter of the Wisden Collectors’ Club) thought it might be of interest to members to put together an outline of Wisden content and information. We are very grateful to John Pratt, who emigrated to Australia as a £10 Pom back in 1963, but who shouts louder than most at the fall of an Aussie wicket, for the following article…thank you John.

1920-1929

How would English people have viewed the twenties? It must have been with tremendous relief that they left the war behind. Yet their problems with Ireland were still simmering and unemployment was to become a nightmare.
There was the General Strike in 1926, the year Germany joined The League of Nations. Hitler had emerged and was busy in prison, for the most part, writing Mein Kempf. The Russian civil war was bubbling along; Stalin was expelling anyone who stood in his way. Germany was writhing under the oppression of the Treaty of Versailles. Then in 1929, Wall Street collapsed, an event which ignited the Great Depression. No, the world could hardly have been a happy place.

From a more positive perspective it is possible to see progress. Technology was stirring. In 1920 the first radio station went on air in the U.S.A. and in 1922 the B.B.C. made its first broadcast. The same year production of the Austin 7 commenced in Oxford and by 1927 there was a transatlantic telephone service between London and New York. Television was being demonstrated and in 1929 London unveiled The Great West Aerodrome later to be named Heathrow.

In the arts George Gershwin dreamed up Rhapsody in Blue, Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby, T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front and the Italians privately published D.H. Lawrence’s novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It was to take 42 years, and a famous court case before the English were able to do likewise.

So what of cricket and Wisden in this quagmire? It was a mixed bag as usual. On the bright side there was the emergence of Walter Hammond, Maurice Tate, Harold Larwood and Douglas Jardine and for the Australians Don Bradman, but Wisden suffered a savage blow with the sudden passing of Sydney H. Pardon in November 1925. His association with the almanack dated back to 1887 and his editorship to 1891. One of Mr Pardon’s associates, Mr Charles Stewart Caine, a charming gentleman by all accounts, was on hand to take over the editing role.

The Wisdens for the post war era up until the end of Mr. Pardon’s stewardship were highly accurate, missing none of the regular features or data for which the almanack had become renowned. Indeed his indefatigable work on sections in the obituaries, the much respected 5 cricketers of the year and his contribution to the match reports all received his painstaking attention, along with the preface and the editor’s notes. One cannot, however, escape noticing a subtle decline in the bible’s vitality during this short period. There is sadness in the almanack and the merest suggestion that his great vocation was perhaps becoming a touch laborious to him. Independent articles all but disappear and in the 1920 issue there is not surprisingly both an air of exhaustion and relief.

He seems to have become increasingly disappointed about things happening in the first class game. The counties two day match experiment, fielding standards, pad play, the Australian request for 8 ball overs, all receive the hard edge of his tongue and were barely balanced by his enthusiasm for other more amiable events. Could it be he was feeling his age? or was he already suffering ill health? We shall never know. Certainly his editorial standards did not diminish, although, of course, the war had taken its toll, including a large number of his friends and associates. Sydney Pardon took Wisden from being one of a number of cricket journals available to the public in the nineteenth century to a pre-eminent position in the games reporting and history. It became renowned and respected the world over. Its 348 pages in 1887 had mounted to just over a thousand pages; by the time he passed on it had become “The Cricketers’ Bible” and a journalistic icon in every respect.

In the 1920 Wisden we find the counties wandering back to the Championship like brown cows. The number of matches played by each side varied considerably. Yorkshire 26; Lancashire 24; Surrey and Sussex 20 each; Essex 18; Hampshire and Gloucestershire 16 each; Kent, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Middlesex and Warwickshire each played 14, Somerset and Northamptonshire both played 12 and Worcestershire did not participate playing only a handful of friendly fixtures. However, they did meet their promise to return to the Championship the following year. This first post war year of cricket was the season of the two day match experiment, it proved unpopular although crowd attendances, perhaps, because people had been deprived of cricket for so long, were described as excellent. The match at Taunton between Somerset and Sussex must have excited a few locals, it ended in a tie. Jack Hobbs made a guest appearance at the head of the national bowling averages taking 17 wickets at 11.82!

Significant obituaries during the decade included William Caffyn, D.W. Gregory, E. Wainwright and Gregor MacGregor in the 1920 Wisden the latter receiving a tribute by D.H.A. Jephson who himself passed away in 1926. John Shuter of Surrey left us in the 1921 almanack and in the 1922 issue W. Gunn, S. Haigh and A. Mold all slipped away. The 1923 book records the last of C.G. Lyttelton- Lord Cobham, F.S. Crawford who fell to pneumonia aged 43 “The war having left him with a much impaired constitution”, and R.D. Walker of the famous Middlesex Southgate family. In 1924 Mr Pardon paid tribute to A.P. Lucas as he
did A.C. Bannerman and J.H.Broad in the 1925 almanack. In fact he even managed to write four more obituaries in the 1926 Wisden before his own demise, one of whom was Captain Robert St. Leger Fowler M.C. 34 years of age and the hero of the 1910 Eton v Harrow match. F.R. Spofforth received a tribute from Lord Harris in the 1926 issue. The following year it was the turn of The eighth Earl of Darnley the Hon. I.F.W. Bligh, W. Attewell, G. Giffin and JJ. Lyon. Finally in 1928 the Sussex wicket keeper and first class umpire, H.R. Butt. Yorkshire’s Roy Kilner aged 37, and S.P. Kinnier of Warwickshire all met their end. 

There are but two names to add to this list, left until now because they were the inspiration of the famous lines of Francis Thompson:

“The field is full of shades as I near the shadowy coast.

And a ghostly batsman plays to the bowling of a ghost.

And I look through my tears at a soundless-clapping host.

As the run-stealers flicker to and fro

To and fro,

Oh my Hornsby and my Barlow long ago!”

According to Wisden R.G. Barlow departed this world in 1919 and Mr Hornsby followed him in 1926.   

The Championship moved back to three day matches in 1920. P.F. Warner captained Middlesex to the head of the table in his triumphant last season of first class cricket. A talented seventeen year old Walter Hammond made his debut for Gloucestershire. The Australian Imperial Forces Team took over the domestic fixtures declined by The Australian test team; they didn’t play the test matches but fulfilled the domestic games against the counties with enjoyment and a good share of success. Late in the season, playing at Northampton P.G.H Fender, bespectacled and wearing but one batting glove, as was his habit, made history plundering the fastest century in first class cricket bringing up his hundred in 35 minutes. Wisden’s contribution to its edition was a whopping price increase from two and sixpence to five shillings! In addition it published an article on “Modern Batting and the law of Ibw” by The Hon. R.H. Lyttelton, a pen picture of P.F. Warner by the editor and
a statistical analysis of “Tom Hayward in the field” by Major R.O. Edwards. 

Glamorgan joined The Championship in 1921. No fewer than five bowlers took all ten wickets in an innings and M.C.C. passed a rule to enable Australia to play cricket using the eight ball over. The 1922 Wisden contains a further article on Modern Batting, this time by C. Toppin and Major R.O. Edwards continued his statistical theme with “George Hirst in the cricket field”.

In the early years of the twentieth century when issues of players’ registration and qualification occurred M.C.C. and Kent C.C.C. came to the fore. Presiding over these two institutions was cricket’s foremost autocrat, Lord Harris. In Walter Hammond floundered against his Lordship’s intransigence over his right to play first class cricket for Gloucestershire. Hammond had been born in Dover but had left England with his family as a small child. He returned years later to complete his education in Cirencester. Over a three year period, from the ages of 17 to 19 he had played 10 matches for Gloucestershire at a batting average of 7.80! His Lordship upon learning Walter had declined an invitation to play for Kent had the boy suspended for most of the 1922 season. Surprisingly Wisden failed to comment on this sordid affair and Stuart Caine is very careful when he does refer to it in the 1928 issue with the pen picture of Hammond as one of the five cricketers of the year. It appears the cricket power of Lord Harris reached far beyond the portals of Lords. Although to be fair to
Sydney Pardon, Hammond was relatively unknown at the time. On a brighter  note this was the season that a struggling slow bowler in Sussex took the advice of a mentor and changed his bowling delivery to become one of the few truly great medium fast bowlers of the game. By so doing Maurice Tate also transformed his cricket career. There was also a remarkable encounter between Warwickshire and Hampshire in the Championship that season.

Hampshire having been bowled out for 15 in their first innings made 521 in the second, George Brown scoring 172 and Walter Livsey 110. Hampshire won the match by 155 runs having been led on the first innings by 208 runs. C.G. Macartney reminded us the Australians were in town with an innings of 345 in a day at Trent Bridge against Nottingham, a record which stood for 72 years. Wisden published a bibliography of cricket by AJ. Gaston; an article entitled “Umpires Decision” by Lord Harris; Major R.O. Edwards added J.T. Tyledesley and D. Denton to his statistical theme “In the Field” and there was a piece
entitled “Hendren at Lords since the war”.

The 1923 season saw 12 all rounders achieve the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets, Maurice Tate did so for the first time. He must have been a bit weary though, by the end of the season he had completed 1,608 overs and taker 219 wickets. Harold Larwood and Douglas Jardine made their debuts for Nottinghamshire and Surrey respectively. Patsy Hendren scored 3010 runs at 77.17 and 28 bowlers took over 100 wickets. Sixty batsmen exceeded 1,000 runs, it must have been a wonderful summer. Although the editor was not happy, feeling that some change was needed to the LBW law to re-create an
acceptable balance between bat and ball.

The public schools review fell to H.S. Altham, cricket’s noted historian andHampshire cricketer. He fulfilled this responsibility for the next four years. The 1925 Almanack reported Maurice Tate’s test debut during the 1924 season and Jack Hobbs passing W.G’s 126 centuries with two of his own at Taunton. An article entitled “The Googly” by B.J.T. Bosanquet first published in The Morning Post and one by the editor headed “A Bygone Phase of Cricket” both appeared in this same issue, the latter piece being a short essay on the importance of the matches between The All England and The United All
England elevens during the 19th century.

The season itself was a wet one, so wet M.C.C. encouraged counties to cover their wickets prior to the commencement of play; there was a disagreeable encounter between Yorkshire and Middlesex at Sheffield which prompted Middlesex to suggest they would not play the fixture in 1925. A decision they later withdrew. This issue proved to be the final Almanack edited by Sydney Pardon.

Thus in 1926 Wisden emerged with a new editor, C. Stuart Caine. His notes included comment on the new ruling to allow for the covering of wickets prior to the commencement of play and a dissertation on the sharp practice of ball tampering. H.S. Altham in his public school review tells of a long hot summer and the effects of drought on grass wickets and in particular practice strips. There is also a tribute to Jack Hobbs headed “Hobbs and his hundreds” which usurped the annual cricketers of the year section. 

The 1927 Wisden reports F.E. Lacey’s retirement from the position of secretary M.C.C. an event which induced comments from the almanack’s editor reflecting the style and achievements of Mr Lacey with those of his predecessors in the role. Harold Larwood made his Test debut and Walter Hammond missed the entire season suffering from illness and injuries
sustained on a tour of the West Indies. There is an article from J.W. Trumble entitled “Cricket Reform” and the editor’s notes include comment on the need to extend the playing hours in test matches, the rules for the qualification of overseas players, marled wickets get another dose of invective and he dismisses the call for a smaller ball saying “Once authorities start tinkering with the implements of the game there is no telling where reforms will end”.

The weather is a feature in the editor’s notes of the 1927 season, he also debates the pros and cons of captaincy by amateur or professional players and he comments on the extraordinary batting performances of W.H. Ponsford in Australian domestic cricket. There is an article entitled Oxford Memories by Lord Harris. Walter Hammond was the leading run maker for the season with 2,969 runs at 69.04 this included over a thousand runs in May; it did not secure him top rank in the national batting averages, however, D.R. Jardine with 91.09 preceded him as did C. Hallows, C.P. Mead and E. Hendren, all in the 70’s. It did, none the less, procure for him a tour of South Africa in which he made his Test debut later in the year.

We come now to the last Wisden of the decade. England’s cricket has recovered from the war; we have seen the elevation of Tate, Larwood and Hammond to the test ranks. In 1928 D.R. Jardine also made his debut in Test cricket. C. Hallows of Lancashire scored over 1,000 runs in May but it was the diminutive A.P.(Tich) Freeman of Kent who stunned everybody taking 304 wickets for the season completing 1,976 overs in doing so, he was ably assisted by the 23 year old Lesley Ames, who in his first season of county cricket achieved the wicket keepers’ double including 52 stumpings, mostly off Freeman’s bowling. Ames went on to complete the double again in 1929. Mr Podmore succeeded H.S. Altham producing the public school review. There is an article headed “My years at Cambridge” by G.H. Longman and the editor in his notes laments the use of the leg as a second line of defence, takes another swipe at marled wickets and talks through changes in the Championship which will allow for each competing team to play 28 matches per season. Test matches are still three day events. Don Bradman just squeezes into this decade with his first class debut recorded in December 1927, in the words of Wisden “Bradman joined the select group of cricketers who have scored a century in their first Sheffield Shield match”.

During the decade Middlesex won 2 Championships, Lancashire 3 and Yorkshire 5. There was no competition for the Sheffield Shield in 1918-19, however, after this N.S.W. and Victoria won 4 each with South Australia winning one. In South Africa the Currie Cup was contested 6 times Transvaal winning 4 and Western Province 2. New Zealand introduced the Plunket Shield
with Wellington prevailing twice and Auckland once. There were 51 test matches played, England won 18, there were 16 draws Australia won 14 and South Africa 3. West Indies played their first Test series against England without success. Wisden reported sundry tours by M.C.C. and others to and from Denmark, South America, West Indies, India and Canada in
which no test matches were played. Australia and New Zealand also visited each others’ shores without playing tests.

My Wisden for the decade would be the 1924 with its coverage of what must have been a magnificent cricketing summer in 1923.

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Wisden 1930-1939

The Wisdener (the newsletter of the Wisden Collectors’ Club) thought it might be of interest to members to put together an outline of Wisden content and information. We are very grateful to John Pratt, who emigrated to Australia as a £10 Pom back in 1963, but who shouts louder than most at the fall of an Aussie wicket, for the following article…thank you John

1930 – 1939

The world in this decade contained much hardship and fear. In the wake of the Wall Street crash countries manoeuvred and tinkered with the gold standard, tariffs, their currencies and any other mechanism they could contrive to gain an economic advantage over one another. In desperation, some member countries drifted away from The League Of Nations, which they saw as a toothless tiger. Japan tested its war strength in Manchuria and North East China and the Spanish Civil War erupted. Meantime the policies of The National Socialist Party were aggressively forcing favour with the community in Germany. By 1933 Hitler had taken office and his adopted country was sliding towards a terrifying racist dictatorship.

In 1935 Britain installed radar systems along the South Coast and in 1936 Germany re-occupied the Rhineland in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles and signed a coalition with Italy; the following year Britain commenced a program of rearmament; In 1938 Germany occupied Austria, Neville Chamberlain described a document he extracted from Hitler as “Peace in our time”,  and two days later Germany annexed Czechoslovakia.

Beneath this frenetic activity a sane world was endeavouring to pursue its peaceful course. Amy Johnson flew solo between England and Australia; W.C. Sellar and R.T.Yeatman wrote “1066 and all that”; Aldous Huxley “Brave New World”; Robert Graves “I Claudius”; George Orwell “Burmese Days”; P.G.Wodehouse “Blandings Castle”; J.R.R.Tolkien “The Hobbit”; Daphne de Maurier “Rebecca”; Graham Greene “Brighton Rock”, and The Dandy comic began publication. Duke Ellington penned “Mood Indigo”; The Sydney Harbour Bridge was completed. Britain introduced driving tests, George Gershwin wrote “Porgy and Bess”; Penguin books began publication and Hitler commissioned Porshe to design the Volkswagon. The BBC established high definition television, high that is, by the standards of the day given the concept was very much new technology, it was small screen, black and white, there was to be no colour until the 1970’s. In film Alfred Hitchcock produced “39 Steps” and Walt Disney entered the market with “Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs”. In 1936, and much closer to home, the monarch George V passed away, inadvertently sparking the abdication and succession saga of Edward Vlll and George Vl.

Against this backdrop there was some amazing cricket being played at the highest level. Wisden reported on an unforgettable decade of the game before the world was thrust once again into global conflict.

Not surprising, perhaps John Wisden and Company had its own problems. The recession was galloping, fanning massive unemployment and gulping down company profits. Print runs of the almanack were down to around 8,000 with declining sales, and while much of the company’s business was in the hands of receivers the almanack found itself planted in a 50/50 partnership between its original owners and the publishing company Whitakers. The new partnership employed business consultants to review the format of the almanack and in 1938 a major and highly successful revamp of the annual emerged. This included the introduction of the beautiful Eric Ravelious woodcut (the 1938 is pictured left. The 1937, pictured, right, exemplifies the former style), the icon by which most people still identify Wisden. The incumbent editor Wilfred H. Brookes, although enthusiastic about the issue in its new format, appears never to have been totally committed to his vocation. He resigned suddenly at the outbreak of the war leaving Haddon Whitaker, the son of Lieutenant Colonel Sir Cuthbert Whitaker, the owner of the publishing company, to take over the editing and publishing responsibilities with the 1940 edition. Upon reflection, but for Haddon Whitaker it is highly unlikely Wisden’s Cricketers’ Almanack would have survived the war.

The 1930 Wisden tells us that Hobbs and Woolley dominated the batting in the 1929 season while “Tich” Freeman had become a prolific wicket taker, bowling in excess of 1,500 overs per summer and securing well over 200 wickets each time he did so right through and including the 1935 season. The sun was setting on these champions and as well as their successors, Sutcliffe and Hammond performed during the decade, it was the Australian Donald Bradman, with his insatiable quest for runs, who was the difference between the two
Test teams at the highest level of the game. In 1930, on his first tour of England he scored 2,960 runs from 36 innings at an average of 98.66. In the Test matches alone he made 974 runs at an average of 134.14. Another notable batting performance during the year was K. S. Duleepsinhji’s 333 in 5 and a half hours against North- amptonshire at Brighton. In 1932 Sutcliffe and Holmes put together an opening stand of 555 for Yorkshire
against Essex at Leyton, it could have been a lot more had  the 44 year old Holmes not been suffering with an arthritic back throughout his innings. Another exceptional batsman to emerge during this decade was the West Indian, George Headley his run scoring was only contained by his lack of opportunity. West Indies played only 19 test matches during the course of the ten years 14 against England and 5 against Australia.

During this period Wisden was served by three editors. C. Stewart Caine who passed away in 1934. His successor. Sydney J. Southerton expired after overseeing two issues and was followed by Wilfred H. Brookes. All three of these gentlemen in their Wisden notes spoke eloquently on the vagaries of the English weather, the lbw law, marled wickets, the perilous state of county cricket finances and the eight-ball over. They had an excellent grasp of the game, enjoyed contact with its hierarchy and understood the politics. Test cricket was their other major subject and the Anglo Australian Tests gave them plenty to get their teeth into, especially the 1932-33 tour (featured in the 1934 edition, pictured, right). The colourful communications from officialdom and the ill feeling of both protagonists simmered for several years, even today it occasionally re-emerges. There have been many fast bowlers who attacked the body since then but for some reason the so called “Bodyline” tour has become the benchmark for intimidating Test match bowling. Trueman, Tyson, and Snow; Lindwall, Lillee and Thompson; a plethora of West Indian quicks; Heine and Adcock the South Africans; they have all done it at times but it seems only Jardine and poor Harold Larwood have entered the history books as villians for adopting the practice.

There is interesting comment early in the decade’s editor’s notes about a trial approved of by umpires but received with less enthusiasm by players, the bones of which were that if a batsman snicked a ball pitched in line wicket to wicket he could be given out lbw upon an appeal being lodged. The trial continued in county cricket for four years and then seems to have petered out when the lbw law was changed in 1935.

The Wisden of 1937 contains an interesting piece of trivia concerning a rain ruined match played at Trent Bridge, apparently G.O. Allen (pictured, left) batted for 30 minutes, however, his innings occupied time on each of the three days of the match, when the game ended he had scored six not out! It was in this same season that J. H. Parks of Sussex completed a unique double scoring 3003 runs and taking 101 wickets. In 1938 the Kent batsman Arthur Fagg became the only player ever to score a double century in each innings of a first class match. It was also 1938 that saw the first broadcasts of a Test match on Television. During the sunset of this decade four new names began to appear on the England scoresheet, Compton, Edrich, Hutton and Washbrook, they were about to lose five years of their cricketing lives although Hutton had already stamped his name on immortality with his record innings of 364 against Australia at the Oval in 1938.

In this decade the almanack’s obituary section is decorated with the passing of many significant contributors to the game’s history. C. I. Thornton received a tribute by Lord Harris in the 1930 issue, also the Wisden in which the passing of W. A. Bettesworth, S. E. Gregory, A. A. Lilley, James Lillywhite, J. M. Read and W. J. Cottrell. The Rev. V. P. F. A. Royle and Sir Arthur Conen Doyle are also recorded.
 
The following year tells of the deaths of Charles Bannerman, J. W. H. T. Douglas (lost at sea), J. T. Tyldesley and G. A. Fawlkner of South Africa. In 1932 the almanack recorded the passing J. J. Kotze, C. T. Studd and Sammy Woods. The 1934 Wisden is particularly sad with the losses of Lord Harris and F. S. Ashley Cooper. Other deaths in this issue include J. M. Blackham, G. G. Hearn, W. A. Lockwood and F. C. Cobden whose underarm   bowling carried Cambridge to victory in the university match of 1870 when he completed a hat trick in the last over of the match to dismiss the last three Oxford batsmen.

The following year saw the departure of the Wisden editor C. Stewart Caine, Ranjitsinghi (pictured, left), Lionel Palairat, the Sugg brothers and the tragically youthful Australian batsman Archie Jackson. Peerless cricketers seem to have stopped dying for the 1935 issue with the notable exception of M. Nicols of Worcestershire aged 29. However, they were at it again in the 1936 issue which records the demise of another Wisden editor Sydney J. Southerton. He was accompanied by H. Baldwin, W. Brockwell, F. S. G. Calthorpe, the Australian umpire R. W. Crockett, C. P. McGahney and Frank Mitchell.

The 1937 bible accounts for Bobbie Abel, B. J. T. Bosanquet and G. H. Simpson Hayward – the last significant underarm bowler (apart from Trevor Chappell, of course). In the 1938 Wisden we learn of the passing of G. W. Beldham of Middlesex, the photographer and first class cricketer whose artistry provided wonderful action shots of the players of ‘the golden age’. His glorious shot of Victor Trumper was without doubt his greatest gift to cricket. Other notables to pass away that year include Walter Brearley, G. Dennett, A. E. Relf and Ted McDonald (the result of a motoring accident). The decade concludes with the deaths of five great cricketers, Lord Hawke who receives a tribute from Sir Stanley Jackson, H. V. Horden, R. M. Poore, H. Tremble and E. F. S. Tylecote.

Journalism and guest articles were kept to a minimum until the revamp of 1938. There was the usual rump of statistical analysis of great player’s careers, however, the articles that made it are full of interest. In 1930 Sir Frederick Toone contributed “Australian tours and their management”;  In 1931 Sir Francis Lacey provides “Lords and The M.C.C.- Thirty years of history”; In 1932 Lord Hawke  (his portrait, entitled, ‘The Father of Yorkshire Cricket’, pictured, right) trawled through “Fifty years of Yorkshire County”; We are enlightened in 1933 by Frank Chester with “The umpire’s point of view”; 1934 was dominated by the bodyline series; 1935 “The Hobbs era” by the man himself plus the Right Hon. Mr Justice H. V. Evatt penned “Australian Cricket”; 1936 R. V. Ryder wrote “Trials of a county secretary”; 1937 H. D. G. Leveson Gower regaled readers with “Recollections of Oxford cricket”. The revitalised 1938 Wisden provided seven articles in all, G.O. Allen on “Wickets”,  Justice Evatt on “Bradman”, A. W. Shelton on “Trent Bridge”, A. P. Freeman on “Spin bowling”, E. Hendren’s “Reflections”, Ms. V. M. M. Cox on “Womens’ Cricket” and lastly an article entitled “Parliament of cricket-M.C.C. 1787-1937”. The following year is not quite so perfuse but we do get D. G. Bradman’s wisdom with “Cricket at the crossroads”, Frank Woolley with “My happy cricket life” and A. E. R. Gilligan with “Cricket Conundrums”.

Let us now return to life. Who were the successful domestic first class cricket clubs of the thirties? Well Yorkshire dominated the Championship with six flags followed by their bitter rivals Lancashire with two, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire took out one each. In Australia Victoria won five shields, New South Wales three and South Australia two. In South Africa the Curry Cup produced a tie between Natal and N.E. Transvaal, Natal won the cup outright twice as did N.E. Transvaal, and Western Province won it once. New Zealand’s Pluncket Shield was claimed by Auckland four times, Wellington three times, Canterbury twice and Otago once.

During the decade there were 81 Test matches played, twenty-eight ended in a draw. England won twenty-six, Australia twenty-one, South Africa four, West Indies one and one was abandoned.

Which almanack would I pick? It is starting to get a bit expensive but without a doubt the 1934 with the furore of the 1932-33 tour of Australia. All the comment the drama, the emotion and the hot air make it an amazing journal, since it remained throughout what we all love Wisden for, an honest recorder of the facts, Sydney J. Southerton at his absolute best. 

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Wisden 1940-1945

In 1941 the number was added at the bottom of the front cover and this style on the front board has remained the same since (from 1965 this information is on the front board below the yellow dust wrapper)…

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Wisden 1946-1949

The 1946 hardback was also produced in two different cloths; rough light reddy brown
and the usual smooth Wisden brown…

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Wisden 1950-1964

The 1950 hardback edition also comes in two different cloths, as per the 1946. At different times throughout the 1950s Wisden tinkered with the methods used to put the almanack together…

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Wisden 1965-1981

The printing of the main contents on the front cover since the first edition had been a feature of the paperback edition and in 1965 the yellow dust wrapper…

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Wisden 1982-Present Day

The 1982, 1983 and 1984 Hardback dust jackets are white with yellow and black print upon the front and white inside. Other dust jackets are yellow with black writing upon them…

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Leather-Bound

In 1995, Wisden produced a limited edition (100) of beautiful Leather-Bound Editions, each individually numbered and housed in a presentation slip case. Each edition was…

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