Wisden 1940-1945

In 1941 the number was added at the bottom of the front covermore information 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).

The 1940 edition contains the full details of the 1939 season, and only one fixture was affected by the outbreak of war: Surrey v Lancashire, September 1st Manchester, match drawn, “no play on third day, owing to Crisis. The match had been originally switched from the Oval to Manchester, “Owing to the International situation” according to Wisden.

• While the Manchester match was halted, James Park’s benefit match for Sussex against Yorkshire at Hove played on, with Sussex all out on September 1st for a mere 33 and losing by 10 wickets.

Wisden was printed throughout the war years and these editions were naturally leaner issues, with no competitive cricket played and a reduced number of copies available to buy, hence these editions are more expensive. Wartime restrictions on paper restricted the print run. The linen cloth WW2 editions also have a tendency to brown, with the spines and the covers noticeably affected.  It is thought that the numbers were reduced from 8000 in 1940 to 3200 (with only 800 Hardback issues). It is believed that the “complementary” editions (see elsewhere) were not included in these numbers.

• The number of pages was also reduced from 871 in 1940 to 426 in 1941. Coverage concentrated on representative matches throughout the war years.
In the 1941 Wisden the Public Schools’ report was missing – posted but destroyed en route courtesy of the Luftwaffe, while the original script perished in a simultaneous air raid. Production of the 1941 was also delayed when the publisher’s offices were destroyed by enemy action at the end of 1940. This has been cited as a reason for no official records on Wisden being available for pre 1940.

Things got worse when more copy at the printer’s office – stored in a safe for extra protection – was burnt in another attack.

Informal county cricket continued throughout the war, although Essex’s fixtures were curtailed when the county was declared a Defence Area and all travel to it banned. The Lancashire League played on, although all contracts with professionals were cancelled.

In 1941 the hardback came in two different textures; smooth and a horizontal fine tooth similar to the pre 1938 editions. Wisden continued through the WW2 years.

The 1945 Wisden, similar to the later editions for 1947 and 1948, suffered from a lack of quality paper. In a large number of editions two types of internal paper was used, better quality for the first and last section and poorer qulaity for the middle pages. This process was repeated in the ’47 and ’48 editions.