Home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club, Edgbaston Cricket Ground is one of the UK’s largest cricketing venues. Coming fourth only to Lord’s, Old Trafford, and The Oval in terms of size, it plays host to many Test matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals as well as first-class county cricket matches.
Edgbaston Cricket Ground lies on land originally owned by the Calthorpe Estate, which had transformed the manor of Edgbaston during the 19th century into an exclusive Birmingham suburb. Much of this original development still benefits the area today, such as the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston that were originally financed by the Calthorpe family in the 1830s.
The gentrification of Edgbaston continued into the late 19th century, when the Calthorpe Estate considered that a cricket ground would enhance the area’s cultured image. This coincided with newly founded Warwickshire County Cricket Club’s search for an HQ. Having originally pondered more local venues at Rugby and Leamington Spa, the club was swayed towards the more populous Birmingham and its easy railway connections. This was an inspired move by William Ansell, the club secretary, who foresaw the potential for first-class county cricket and Test matches at Edgbaston.
Thus in 1885, the land on which Edgbaston Cricket Ground now stands was leased for a 21-year period and soon developed with the addition of stands and a pavilion. The land’s proximity to Birmingham New Street Railway Station was in its favour and helped tempt Warwickshire CCC away from other potential Birmingham venues.
Edgbaston did, indeed, soon see first-class cricket from many visiting teams. Warwickshire achieved first-class status themselves in 1894 and the ground hosted its first Test match in 1902, when England played Australia in the first match of a five-match Ashes series.
After the Second World War, Edgbaston Cricket Ground was developed further with the addition of stands, a scoreboard, an indoor cricket school, a pavilion, and, in 2010, permanent floodlights.
Edgbaston is widely considered to be second only to Lord’s as one of the UK’s finest cricket grounds and is known for its enthusiastic crowds and unique competitive atmosphere.