1897 – Land Purchase for Orsett Cricket Ground

Negotiations were commenced in 1897 for the purchase of six acres of land ‘in the small meadow’ to the east of the Orsett school buildings with a view of developing the field into a recreation ground, primarily for cricket. The land’s owner, Mr. F.H.D.C. Whitmore, was approached by the Parish.  An offer of £40 per acre was made, which Mr. Whitmore accepted, but only for two acres.  He then announced his decision to offer the remaining four acres for free.  This generous donation was gratefully accepted.  A loan from the charity commissioners of £160 at an interest rate of 2.5% payable over the next twenty years was obtained for capital expenditure.  The initial costs were as follows:

      £ s. d.    
    Purchase of land (two acres) 80 0 0    
    Seed 2 11 4    
    Labour 24 15 0    
    Fencing 26 13 9    
    Hurdles 2 14 6    
    Seats 7 19 0    
    Trees 1 15 0    
    Pavilion 63 10 0    
    Cricket Pitch 30 0 0    
    Law Expenses 12 19 2    
    TOTAL EXPENDITURE 252 17 9    

The total expenditure (above) in today’s terms, allowing for inflation and conversion into decimal currency, is £14,429.76. As you might expect, it took considerable time to build and prepare the ground and therefore it was not until the 1906 season that the Orsett Cricket Club started to play matches on their new field.

“133 Years of Cricket in Orsett and District” – E. H. Rowley, 1946