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'The Prince's Cricket Ground'

'The Princes Cricket Ground'
Photo by Tony Mould

Lion and lioness mark the entrance

At the side of Union Road are a lion and a lioness which can almost be missed, especially if driving. They are now almost hidden in trees and mark an entrance to the gardens of Park Crescent. Now they quietly contemplate the busy traffic to the south and the tree-ed garden to the north. I like to see them sitting there and am pleased that they have not been removed or knocked down.

First Sussex County Cricket Club

They once had a much grander role. Their posts marked the entrance to the first ground of the Sussex County Cricket Club when it was formed in 1839. The site was donated by the then Prince of Wales, and was called ‘The Prince of Wales Ground’. The ground extended away from The Level, over where Park Crescent now lies.

A cricket playing ancestor

This is of particular interest to me as one of my great-great-grandfathers, George Picknell, played cricket for Sussex between 1835 and 1854. There is, what is regarded in some circles as a famous picture of a match on this site between Sussex and Kent in around 1840. Although there is some debate as to whether this match ever took place, it does feature the players of that era and many notable people as on-lookers. It gives me an idea of one part of the life of an ancestor from so long ago.

It took me a while to find the lions and work out where the cricket pitch was, but now this is a place I feel some connection to.

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