Cricket – A Summer Game
July marks the final of the Cricket World Cup and (hopefully) a warm summer.
Cricket is a sport I am only beginning to understand. I was recently lucky enough to see a World Cup game between Bangladesh and South Africa and asked questions throughout. We have a few cricket stamps in the collection but cricket also appears in other aspects of the Post Office.
Cricket had its own dedicated stamp issue in 1973 to celebrate a hundred years of county cricket. We have a great collection of designs produced for this issue including preliminary sketches by E.M. Ripley.
These designs depict cricket as a gentleman’s game with some players still wearing their top hats. This attire has not continued, but the traditional whites can still be seen on cricket picthes across the country.
The issued designs were produced by E.M. Ripley featuring drawings of W.G. Grace (an iconic cricketer) by Harry Furniss.
The past-time of playing or watching cricket featured as a British summertime activity in The Four Seasons, Summertime stamp issue (1994). These outdoor sports are synonymous with the British summer even though ours can tend to be a tad on the wet side.
England’s Ashes victory was celebrated in 2005 with a dedicated miniature sheet. They won the series 2-1 returning the ashes to England. The sheets consist of photographs from the tournament and the celebratory raising of the Ashes.
Cricket and the Post Office
Sir Ian Botham, the British cricket legend, also featured in a Royal Mail Post Early campaign for Christmas. Celebrities have been used in the advertisement to encourage people to post their cards and parcels in good time before Christmas to prevent them from being delivered late.
Cricket has also been used in the Post Office as social activities for colleagues. The below photograph depicts the North West Travelling Post Office Cricket Club team, some in their whites and others in suits.
Cricket is a traditional British sport and it’s unsurprising that it would feature in our stamp design and postal campaigns. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the England team and maybe this year they could take home their first ever World Cup title.
Discover the long history of sport in the Post Office in our Discovery Room.
– Georgina Tomlinson, Deputy Curator Philately