Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac 150 years (not out!)

Colin Clare, Senior Customer Services Assistant at Kensington Central Reference and Chelsea Reference Libraries is a huge cricket fan – so he didn’t need much persuading to write about Wisden Cricketers’ Alamanack.

Ahem, excuse the cricket pun – over to Colin….

England winning the Ashes
England winning the Ashes

 Some of you may be aware that England have been playing Australia at cricket this summer and doing rather well by winning the latest series of test matches again and therefore retaining the “Ashes” – so called after the England’s team were defeated for the first time on home soil. That defeat was in 1882 and this great sporting competition between England and Australia has been going strong ever since. The battle for the Ashes will continue in Australia this coming winter.

The Ashes
The Ashes

However, I wanted to use this blog post to write about a cricketing milestone that has been reached this year as 2013 sees the 150th edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. Affectionately known as the “bible of cricket” this is a book which is essentially an amalgam of cricketing topics, awards and key statistics about the game. With its distinctive yellow cover, a new edition of Wisden has been published every year since 1864 making it the world’s longest running sports annual in history.

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 150th edition
Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 150th edition

The original Wisden, founded by the Victorian cricketer John Wisden, only had 85 of the 112 pages devoted solely to cricket – the rest was padded out with other subjects unrelated to cricket such as notable dates of battles of the English Civil War and the rules of quoiting! Nowadays modern editions have over 1,500 pages.

John Wisden
John Wisden

The first Wisden would have cost you a shilling to buy – the same book would now set a collector back £20,000. Fortunately, if you want to look at old editions of this book, you can, as Kensington Central Reference Library’s store has a very good collection of Wisdens going back virtually every year to 1896 (33rd edition).

Colin Clare
Colin Clare

Colin Clare

Senior Customer Services Assistant

Kensington Central Reference and Chelsea Reference Libraries

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