'Unique' journals of Norfolk cricketer up for auction
- Credit: Danielle Booden
In 1895, an English cricket team set forth on a tour of the West Indies for the first time ever.
Among the players on the pioneering Robert Slade Lucas series was Legh Barratt, who played county cricket for Norfolk and lived in Sheringham.
Now, 126 years later, Mr Barratt's cricket bat and bag, as well as the journals he wrote while on the tour, and a subsequent trip in 1897, will go under the hammer at Knights in Aldborough on Friday, November 5.
Tim Knight, auctioneer, said: "I don't think there are any other journals about those tours, so it is totally unique. It is good social history.
"It was probably his first trip abroad. He travelled to London and took the train to Southampton and got on the ship to the West Indies, which must have been extraordinary at the time.
"Barratt had never before left the shores of England and he often found the sights he saw miraculous in his eyes and he was filled with awe."
Mr Barratt was born in Altrincham, Cheshire in 1871. He studied at Oxhead Hall Farming College in Norfolk and became a farmer and stock broker.
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He played cricket as an all-rounder for Norfolk County Cricket Club between 1890 and 1908 and captained the team for ten years.
His only first class matches were the 15 he played on the two tours of the West Indies, scoring 253 runs at an average of 11 with a top score of 96 and taking nine wickets at an average of 34.88.
While there he wrote extensive journals which described his journey, his observations of the matches and the team, the people, the culture, the islands and life in the Caribbean in the mid-1890s.
The team had left Southampton on the Medway on January 16, 1895 and reached Barbados on January 28, playing their first match the next day.
Mr Barratt married Mary Thorburn in Cromer in 1899 and lived in a house on Sheringham golf course.
He died in 1950, at the age of 79 years, leaving the journals to his grandson.
The collection, which includes a bat made by RG Pilch of Norwich, has been valued at £25,000 to £30,000.
See www.knights.co.uk for more details about the collection.