History of Lord's Cricket Ground
Today's Lord's is the third of three grounds that Lord founded between 1787 and 1814; it is not located on its original site. Where Dorset Square now stands was his original field, which today is known as Lord's Old Ground. His second field, Lord's Middle Ground, was utilised from 1811 to 1813 before being vacated to allow for the Regent's Canal to be built across its outfield. The location of the Middle Ground is roughly 250 yards (230 metres) northwest of the current Lord's Ground. 30,000 spectators can fit on the ground. Plans are being made to boost capacity and amenities. A 14-year, about £200 million redevelopment of the site was envisaged as of December 2013.
Thomas Lord opened his first ground in May 1787 on the location of Dorset Square, on property leased from the Portman Estate, acting on behalf of White Conduit Club members and guaranteed against any losses by Colonel Charles Lennox and George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea. Soon after leaving Islington because they were dissatisfied with the quality of the White Conduit Fields stadium, The White Conduit reorganised as the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
White Conduit Fields was deemed to be too far from upscale Oxford Street and the West End, leading to the idea that a new stadium would provide its members with a greater sense of exclusivity. Middlesex took against Essex in the inaugural game held at the new venue. In 1811, Lord pulled his turf and relaid it at his second ground after feeling compelled to migrate due to a rent increase. This was short-lived due to the location being against patron preference and the ground being on the path chosen by Parliament for the Regent's Canal.
The Eyre family's land contained the "Middle Ground," and when they gave Lord another area close by, he once more moved his territory. This new area was formerly a duck pond on a hill in St. John's Wood, which gave rise to Lord's famous slope. At the time, the slope was recorded as sloping down 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) from north-west to south-east, though it is 8 ft 1 in steeper today (2.46 m). The first game played on the new field, between the MCC and Hertfordshire, took place on June 22, 1814, during the 1814 campaign.
In 1813–1814, a tavern was constructed for Lord’s, and then, in 1814, a wooden pavilion. On the current field, first-class cricket was played for the first time in July 1814 between the MCC and St. John's Wood Cricket Club. Frederick Woodbridge (107) of Epsom achieved the first century in first-class cricket at the venue against Middlesex, and Felix Ladbroke (116) of Epsom registered the second century in the same game.
On July 29, 1818, the annual Eton vs. Harrow contest, which was first played on the Old Ground in 1805, moved back to the current venue. The fixture has taken place at Lord's practically every year since 1822. When William Ward scored 278 against Norfolk for the MCC in a first-class cricket match at Lord's in 1820, it was the game's first double-century. Following the first Winchester v. Harrow match on July 23, 1823, which virtually destroyed all of the historical records of the MCC and the wider game, the original pavilion, which had just undergone an expensive renovation, was destroyed by fire. Lord quickly reconstructed the pavilion. When Lord proposed building homes there in 1825, while St John's Wood was experiencing fast development, the ground's future was put in peril. William Ward, who paid Lord $5,000 for the ground, stopped it from happening.