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Sunderland Cricket Club is thought to be the oldest sporting club in north east England to have records kept and maintained since it started. The club now plays at Ashbrooke and has done so since 1887. We can trace its records back to 1834 and here are some of the rules from that year:

1. That the meeting forms itself into a club to be called the Bishopwearmouth Cricket Club

2. That matches be played on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Tuesday and Thursday evenings

3. That the hour of meeting for both morning and evening be six o’ clock.

4. That the members be fined for not attending –1d if not there by quarter past six and 2d if not there by half past six and 3d if not there by 7 o’clock or fail to turn up at all

5. Players to pay 1d for playing in the morning and 3d for playing in the evening

6. New members have to pay 3/-

Some questions

 What was the club first called? Do you know why?

 One of the times for starting play should surprise you. What is it and why?

 1d is what we call one old penny. There were 240 old pennies or pence in a pound, 12 old pence in a shilling (3/- means three shillings or 36 old pence) and £1 in 1834 would be worth £130 today! Does this help you to understand the money mentioned in the rules? Were they fair amounts?

The rule book also names the first twelve men to play for the club – one was called Cuthbert Vaux and another John Grimshaw. Thanks to CENSUSES carried out in 1841 and 1851 we can find out more about them – for example;

 How old were they in 1834 when the club started?

 Can you find out why the Vaux family is so well known in


 Is Cumberland Street still there?

 What do you think Y means on the 1841 census?

You could also build up a picture of the Vaux family in 1841 and the Grimshaws in 1851. Their census entries are below.

1841 census

Census Transcript Household Durham

Both the rule book and the census entries are PRIMARY WRITTEN information – that is from the time in history (1834, 1841 and 1851). The system of money used was different from today so by completing the work above you will have

A. Discovered and used EVIDENCE to find out about the past

B. Worked out how the past is DIFFERENT FROM (and often THE SAME

AS) today.

C. Improved your WRITING SKILLS.

Both a teachers’ guide and pupils’ guide for the project can be provided as well as help with the questions/answers for this first lesson – Send e-mail contact details to

For more on Keith – see

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