The Ashes

The Ashes were originated in 1882 when, on August 29th, Australia defeated the full strength of England on English soil for the first time. The Australians won by the narrow margin of seven runs and the following day the Sporting Times printed a mock obituary notice, written by Shirley Brooks, son of an editor of Punch, which read:

"In affectionate remembrance of English Cricket which died at The Oval, 29th August, 1882. Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances. R.I.P. N.B. The body will be cremated and the Ashes taken to Australia."

The following winter the Hon. Ivo Bligh, afterwards Lord Darnley, set out to Australia to recover these mythical Ashes. Australia won the first match by nine wickets, but England won the next two, and the real ashes came into being when some Melbourne women burnt a bail used in the third game and presented the ashes in an urn to Ivo Bligh.

When Lord Darnley died in 1927, the urn, by a bequest in his will, was given to M.C.C., and it held a place of honour in the Long Room at Lord's until 1953 when, with other cricket treasures, it was moved to the newly built Imperial Cricket Memorial near the pavilion. There it stands permanently, together with the velvet bag in which the urn was originally given to Lord Darnley and the score card of the 1882 match.

© John Wisden & Co