OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
The object of the Trust is to advance the education of the public in the history and development of cricket by establishing a museum for the permanent display and preservation of items of educational and/or historical value, particularly with regard to Sussex cricket.
The museum is established at The 1st Central Sussex County Cricket Ground, Eaton Road, Hove, East Sussex.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND PERFORMANCE
The activities of the Trust during 2019-20 were severely curtailed by the impact of the Covid-19 virus. The 1st Central Sussex County Cricket Ground was closed to the public throughout the cricket season and no access was permitted to the museum to volunteers or visitors.
Plans had been made to upgrade some of the museum exhibits and volunteers worked diligently over the winter months to ensure that these would be ready for a scheduled reopening in March 2020. Displays that were prepared included:
i. A series of pictures of Ranji to celebrate 100 years since he last played for Sussex
ii. A display relating to K A. Higgs who scored a century on debut in 1920
iii. Displays relating to the Brighton-Brunswick Club and Arthur Gilligan
iv. A tribute to Jofra Archer in recognition of his contribution to England’s World Cup success
v. A display featuring Arnold Long (age 80 in 2020) the captain of the 1978 Gillette Cup winning team
It has been agreed that most of these displays will be retained for the 2021 cricket season.
Whilst the museum was unable to open, the opportunity was taken to greatly extend and enhance the content of the Trust’s website. This has successfully driven an increase in traffic to the site.
In previous years, a series of books and booklets have been published during the year. Whilst it was not possible to produce a full range of these publications in 2019-20, a major event for the Trust was the publication to critical acclaim of a book by John Goulstone, ‘On the Level’. The Trust was also delighted to be awarded the inaugural “Cricket Society Howard Milton Award for Cricket Scholarship” in recognition both of our exhibitions and our publications.
The Trust continues to explore opportunities to add to the material held in the museum and during
2019-20 was able to purchase a significant collection of books and booklets from the estate of Neil Beck, who for many years ran the book stall at the Sussex County Ground. Additionally, the Trust was able to acquire an original painting, the ‘Superover’, commemorating Jofra Archer’s contribution to England’s success in winning the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
As ever, the Trust would not be able to function without its dedicated and knowledgeable group of volunteers and, despite the difficulties of working under Covid-19 restrictions, we were pleased to welcome 2 new volunteers who joined us during 2019-20.
As with many similar organisations, Covid-19 pandemic restrictions meant that it was not possible to fund raise to any significant extent during 2019-20. The cricket museum was unable to open to visitors during the 2020 cricket season and no major fundraising events could be held.
The Trust is incredibly grateful for the ongoing financial support that was provided by Friends and Patrons during this difficult period, and income from this source was maintained at previous levels. Income from the production of booklets and pamphlets was understandably lower than in previous years but this was largely offset by a surplus generated from the sale to friends and others of newly published books with a Sussex Cricket focus. Hire of the museum to the local coroner in autumn 2019 generated welcome additional income of £1,000.
Expenses were limited primarily to governance costs and to the preparation of revised displays in the museum. We are pleased to report that, despite the difficulties, nevertheless, a surplus of some £2.2k was generated during 2019-20. Reserves at 30th September 2019 remain at a healthy £362k.
PLANS FOR FUTURE PERIODS
The plans for 2020-21 will, of necessity, be heavily dependent on the success of the national measures introduced to combat the Covid-19 virus and the lifting of restrictions on attendance at professional cricket matches.
Nevertheless, it has been agreed to develop the following museum displays for 2020-21:
i. A display to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the famous game at The Saffrons (Eastbourne) when Archie Maclaren’s X1 beat the Australians.
ii. Displays relating to the Brighton-Brunswick Club to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the last match at the Brunswick ground.
iii. Displays relating to Arthur Gilligan, Tony Buss and James Kirtley.
iv. A display featuring John Snow (age 80 in 2021).
The content of museum’s website will be further redeveloped over the winter with a particular focus on extending content relating to local cricket and women’s cricket
The Trust hopes to resume the publication during 2020-21 of a series of books and booklets which it is planned will include biographies of John Wisden and Murray Goodwin plus a booklet on double centuries.
Recruitment of new volunteers will continue.
If restrictions are lifted, further initiatives to be developed during 2020-21 include:
i. An expanded programme of events at the museum for members and patrons
ii. Development of plans to seek accreditation for the work of the museum from the Arts Council
iii. Further developing the museum as a venue for private dinners and other events to raise additional funds to support the Trust’s activities