S.N. Don's blog
It may be the home of cricket...
Those eagle-eyed readers out there will have noticed that I did not write anything last month. I hope that this makes up for it. A couple of issues back I bemoaned the lack of authentic Test cricket grounds in Australia. Fabulous multi-purpose stadia but they lack tradition.
Closer to home and it may surprise some that I do not like Lords Cricket Ground. It may well be the home of this great game but I just don’t like it. It has nothing to do with the slope. I quite like that little bit of quirkiness that our game attracts. That slope has destroyed many a good bowler’s reputation. It’s not the Pavilion either. That is a wonderful piece of history and architecture and provides the perfect backdrop for a cricket match. What winds me up the most about the home of cricket is the rest of the ground and the various stands. Not a single stand fits in with its neighbour. It looks as if each stand had been designed and built in complete isolation of any knowledge of what it was going to sit next to.
Now this is where I slightly contradict myself. In isolation, some of Lords looks fabulous. The new Warner Stand (named after Sir Pelham and not David), looks nice, but why doesn’t it merge smoothly into the Grandstand? The Grandstand is a magnificent structure in its own right. It’s a stunning piece of design and is ideal for the ground. My problem with that wonderful stand is that the seating areas do not align with the neighbouring Compton & Edrich Stands. There is no clever, seamless join. It looks like it was designed without any thought as to what it was going to be sat next to.
Next is the aforementioned Compton & Edrich Stands. It’s a shame that the upper tier is uncovered but I suspect that this is so that the Nursery End does not lose any sunlight. That probably explains why the lower tier is so shallow in incline; the need to keep the overall height as low as possible. As for the Media Centre, it is just plain wrong. That thing is completely out of place in a cricket ground. Just don’t get me started on the monstrosity in Manchester.
Next up is how the Compton & Edrich Stands align, or not, with the impressive Mound Stand. Even the join with the Tavern Stand is not perfect. And it would come as no surprise that the Allen Stand is again unattached to its neighbour.
Just how difficult could it have been to have a sweeping lower tier of seating that could have pretty much encircled the old ground? It would have been straightforward to allow access to the arena from the Nursery End. The sweep continuing and coming to a nicely designed conclusion leaving the old pavilion as the centrepiece of the old ground. The last I heard was that there was going to be a multi-million pound redevelopment of Lords. I really hope that the end result is architecturally and aesthetically pleasing and also shows off the masterpiece that is the Pavilion.