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Full name George William Beldam
Born May 1, 1868, New Cross, Kent
Died November 23, 1937, Lower Bourne, Farnham, Surrey (aged 69 years 206 days)
Major teams Gentlemen, London County, Middlesex
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm slow-medium
Education Cambridge University
George Beldham was first played for Middlesex in 1900 when 32 years of age. Experience in high-class club cricket enabled him to gain a place in a very powerful side and for eight seasons he did valuable work. In 1903 when Middlesex were Champions, Beldam closely followed Plum Warner, their most consistent batsman, in aggregate and average. He maintained his form until 1907 when he dropped out of the side. Altogether for Middlesex he scored 4,796 runs, with an average of 30.16, and took 76 wickets at 27.14 runs apiece. His highest aggregate in first-class matches was 1,158 in 1901. He also played for London County with WG Grace.
Beldam was restricted in effective stroke-play, depending largely on the late cut for runs, but he watched the ball carefully with unruffled patience, bowlers experiencing much difficulty in getting a ball through his defence. He bowled right hand rather slow with carefully applied swerve and though never earning real fame with the ball often broke up a partnership. He appeared several times for the Gentlemen.
In the Oval match in 1903, Beldam, with innings of 80 and 54, took a large part in beating the Players by 54 runs, GH Simpson-Hayward finished the match by taking the last four wickets for five runs with his underhand bowling. Opening the innings with Warner at Lord's in 1905 he made 22 out of 53 and, going in later in the second innings, scored 23 not out during a collapse, the Players winning by 149 runs. At The Oval the same year, when highest scorer for the Gentlemen with 51 and 43, Beldam again was on the losing side.
He had a liking for Surrey bowlers. In 1902 he hit 155 not out off them at Lord's and the following year made 89 and 118 at Lord's. Middlesex, in their final match at The Oval, required to escape defeat to be certain of the Championship; they won by an innings and 94 runs. Beldam played a big part in the victory, staying four hours and 40 minutes and scoring 112 after the opening pair had fallen for 4 runs. JT Hearne and Albert Trott, the only professionals in the XI, dismissed Surrey for 57, and CM Wells finished the match by taking 5 for 26 with his slows.
A pioneer in action photography, George Beldam produced, in conjunction with C. B. Fry, who wrote the descriptions, a remarkable book, Great Batsmen, Their Methods at a Glance. He wrote also on golf and tennis.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
To sum up George Beldam's contribution to photography in general and cricket photography in particular in one paragraph is to do him a disservice. In an age when action photography was almost unknown because of the bulkiness of the equipment and the slowness of the film, Beldam captured many of the players of the Golden Age as spectators would have seen them and not in stiff, posed shots. He revolutionized the way sport was photographed and cricket - and also golf - were lucky to have benefited from such a pioneer. He was also an inventor - he came up with one of the early car tyres - and a talented watercolour painter.
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