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Scarborough 1930s photos

April 24 2017 at 4:10 PM

Dave Morton  (Login DaveMorton)

I have received scans of three high quality photos, showing the Australians at Scarborough, where Leveson-Gower's XI provided the opposition.

My thanks to Andy Peters, who thinks they were taken by his uncle John Barnes. I have my doubts, unless Mr Barnes was a professional photographer allowed onto the field.


It is not entirely clear whether it's 1930 or 1934.

Jack Hobbs played in 1930 (alongside Sutcliffe, Leyland and Rhodes) but not in 1934, when Sutcliffe, Leyland, Verity and Bowes were in the team.

But Bill Woodfull did not play in 1930, when Vic Richardson was captain. It is possible that Mr Barnes made an incorrect identification.

Bradman played in both games, scoring 96 in 1930 and 132 in 1934.

The photos appear to have been processed (and possibly taken) by Walker's Studios, an establishment which still exists as Walkers Euronics Centre, St Joseph Street, Scarborough. They appear not to be a photographic studio these days.

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(Login WibseySimon55)

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 24 2017, 7:24 PM 

Wow. That one of Hobbs must be of great value to any biographer. If Mr Peters found it lying loose, and it hasn't appeared in a book somewhere yet.

Notice his shoes. Padded up, gloves on, but not wearing cricket shoes -- shiny black Oxford brogues, as if he's about to hit the dance floor or go to a black tie dinner.

(Login ThirdUmpire)

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 24 2017, 9:22 PM 

Isn't it possible that one photo is from 1930 and the other from 1934 as it's clearly Scarborough and clearly Hobbs and Bradman so they may not all be taken at the same match?


Dave Morton
(Login DaveMorton)

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 24 2017, 9:32 PM 

We could ask Uncle John, but I doubt he's still around. But, yes, that fits the facts, too.

Jack Hobbs was still a Test cricketer in 1930, though aged 47 and beginning to struggle.

1934 was his last season as a first-class cricketer. He played against the Australians in the Folkestone Festival match, the week before Scarborough, scoring 38 for 'An England XI' and may well have been present at Scarborough, even though he didn't play.

It occurs to me that (in the photo) he is sitting, waiting to bat...which he wouldn't have done as an opener; and that black boots may have been okay in WG's day, but certainly not in the 1930s, so perhaps he is sitting down prior to, or after, net practice? Also, he has found himself a bit of space in the pavilion, which would be consistent with the photo being taken outside playing hours.

I tend to the view that the photos were probably taken at the same time, because they were found together, so my theory is that it is 1934.

The clincher would probably be if someone could identify the man leading the Aussies out as Woodfull rather than Richardson. It complicates matters that Woodfull was the tour captain in 1930 as well as in 1934, though Richardson led them at Scarborough. It is hard to imagine Uncle John getting this detail wrong in his back-of-photo caption. These were famous men!

This message has been edited by DaveMorton on Apr 24, 2017 11:20 PM

(Login WibseySimon55)

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 24 2017, 11:55 PM 

Could the date conundrum be resolved if it is '34 and Hobbs, not playing, simply put on pads and gloves for a photograph? Would explain the shoes. And doesn't it look just a bit 'posed'? His expression is not exactly that of a man about to go out to bat, is it? Even in a friendly, at a festival.

(Login Otley)

Scarborough 1930s photos

April 25 2017, 5:34 PM 

I'm Andy Peters (don't know how to change my user name from Otley) and the pictures were in between pages of an old book (Brightly Fades the Don) that belonged to my uncle John Barnes. I found them last autumn and hoped they could reach a wider audience - thanks so much to Dave for doing that.

Looking at a picture of Woodfull on the Wikipedia page about him, it is definitely him in the picture. The confusing thing about its origin is the comment that he was leading them out "today" so one way or another my Uncle obtained it on the day it was taken, they do look very professional though! I think the idea about the Hobbs picture being from the same time but that he wasn't actually playing in the match is very plausible. Perhaps a staged net session as part of a "valedictory" tour if it's the week after his last match and it's the end of the Australian tour - "farewell to the old foe" etc.

This message has been edited by Otley on Apr 25, 2017 5:34 PM


Dave Morton
(Login DaveMorton)

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 25 2017, 7:34 PM 

It's plausible that the Hobbs photo was taken in 1934 as Otley and I suggested...but unlikely, as Hobbs was playing in the Gents v Players game at Folkestone the day before the Tourists' game at Scarborough started. Trains were probably quicker in those days, but....

So the 'two different year' theory looks the stronger.

On the other hand, Hobbs might have seen a day or two in Scarborough as a good way of rounding off a fantastic career, with the Aussies there and a lot of his former England colleagues.

Whatever, Andy's photos have given us a bit of fun.

(Login Seadog73)

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 25 2017, 8:19 PM 

I love a bit of historical detective work! Great stuff, thanks for sharing the photos.


Dave Morton
(Login DaveMorton)

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 26 2017, 8:30 AM 

I think we've pretty well flogged this one to death, but just a couple more thoughts...

Hobbs is pictured sitting outside the Visitors' dressing room at Scarborough. Any significance?

Following his meeting with Bradman at Scarborough in 1930, Rhodes said he was the finest batman he had ever bowled to. Not one of his contemporaries, Trumper or Hobbs, not fellow Yorkshireman Sutcliffe, not WG Grace; Don Bradman.

Contrast Bradman himself, as an old man, choosing his best all-time XI. He finished up with a team who were mostly contemporary Australians!

And finally, I have added to Flickr John Arlott's fabulous poem to Jack Hobbs, written in 1952, which I repeat here.

To John Berry Hobbs
on his 70th birthday
16 December 1952

There falls across this one December day
The light remembered from those suns of June
That you reflected in the summer play
Of perfect strokes across the afternoon.

No yeoman ever walked his household land
More sure of step or more secure of lease
Than you, accustomed and unhurried, trod
Your great, yet little, manor of the crease.

The game the Wealden rustics handed down
Through growing skill became, in you, a part
Of sense, and ripened to a style that showed
Their country sport matured to balanced art.

There was a wisdom so informed your bat
To understanding of the bowler’s trade
That each resource of strength or skill he used
Seemed but the context of the stroke you played.

The Master: records prove the title good:
Yet figures fail you, for they cannot say
How many men whose names you never knew
Are proud to tell their sons they saw you play.

They share the sunlight of your summer day
Of thirty years; and they, with you, recall
How, through those well-wrought centuries, your hand
Reshaped the history of bat and ball.

John Arlott

This message has been edited by DaveMorton on Apr 26, 2017 10:58 AM

Steve C
(Login stevecowton)
Assistant Moderator

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 26 2017, 9:25 AM 

Thankyou so much.
Thats got the day off to an excellent start.

I'm going to Worcester next week and fulfilling a lifelong ambition by staying in the same hotel used by John Arlott when he reported on the touring Indian Team in 1946 and wrote the fabulous book Indian Summer.

(Login Dewsburian)

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 26 2017, 12:34 PM 

A few thoughts. Hobbs's letter confirming his retirement was addressed to Leveson-Gower, who was president of Surrey at the time: they were close friends. Hobbs was relatively affluent for a retired professional cricketer in that period. An article in the Daily Express "Diary" column suggested that he "could easily lay his hands on £5,000 at half an hour's notice." He was also known as a willing presence at charity matches etc., so the possibility that he simply attended Scarborough as a social occasion in 1934 seems strong. Unlike Sir Geoffrey, Hobbs was still very willing to pick up a bat whenever he got the opportunity. He played club cricket to such a level after his retirement that Surrey even asked him to come back and play one match for them in 1936, when they had a lot of men absent in the Gents v Players match. He declined. But he did do plenty of coaching, including some work with the visiting Indians at Lord's, a session that seems to have been arranged at pretty short notice.

(Login Dewsburian)

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 26 2017, 12:39 PM 

For those who don't remember 1934 too clearly, having £5,000 available to you then would be quite similar to having around £1,000,000 now (for the technically minded, this reflects the "economic status" measure).


Dave Morton
(Login DaveMorton)

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 26 2017, 3:50 PM 

1934 was also the last time Lancashire won the County Championship until 2011.

(Login BrickyardBoy)

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 26 2017, 5:03 PM 

"1934 was also the last time Lancashire won the County Championship until 2011."

Enough of this gratuitous salt-rubbing, Mr M!


Dave Morton
(Login DaveMorton)

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 26 2017, 7:11 PM 

What's good enough for Halley's Comet should be good enough for Lancashire; 2088 eagerly awaited. But see my photos and very positive comments from last week's Lancs v Somerset.


Idle man
(Login Idle_man)

Re: Scarborough 1930s photos

April 27 2017, 12:20 AM 

There's a well known pub in Fleet St. called the Old Cheshire Cheese. According to Duncan Hamilton's biography of Harold Larwood, the day he emigrated to Australia he went looking for Hobbs because he felt he owed him a lot for support and encouragement early in his career. He was directed from Hobbs' shop to the 'Cheshire Cheese'. When he found him, Hobbs at once ordered champagne. Larwood got to his vessel at Tilbury well-oiled.

On one visit, I got chatting to the staff and said that as the walls are covered in various historical records, they should have a plaque or something marking this moment. They hadn't heard of either man.

It's a lovely pub, but I'm not going back.

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