St. Lawrence Ground Canterbury

St. Lawrence, the Home of Kent County Cricket Club (and me much of the time!)

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The Ground of Kent County Cricket Club

One of the most beautiful cricket settings in the UK

The St. Lawrence Ground has been home of Kent County Cricket Club since 1847 and has seen just about every famous Cricketer who has ever lived stride out from the Boundary to take their position on the scared soil.

This year (2008) see's the start of a great re-development to put it up to modern standards thus taking the Club to a newer level and one to match others who are doing the same.
Some may se this as un-needed and an eyesore, but to attract better cricket facilities, put the Kent County Ground back on the 'elite' list and also attract the bigger names to join Kent, it surely is a positive move.
It has been designed to keep much of the flavour and will only really lose out in on-ground parking facilities. But even this is on a par with many of the Test Match grounds and with some, this entails quite a walk!

So, I can only write about how I see the Ground from a personal perspective of one who works there and watches Cricket there.

Whether it be a match day or any other day, driving through the main gate gives you a buzz, you're doing the same as Leslie Ames, Colin Cowdrey and many others have done in the past.

But a Ground is not all about players, it's about a CLUB and the many buildings and features around the Ground are made from people's idea's at that time, so this finishes up with a jig-saw of new and old all with their own characteristics.

You can build a Rose Bow, brand spanking new from scratch. Sure you have a super viewing Stadia with facilities to match, but you don't have the character of the history behind the Club to which it belongs. Neither do you have that favourite corner, the tree to sit under and eat your lunch etc.

I've seen the Archbishop of Canterbury at St. Lawrence a few times. He's arrived suitably casually dressed, paid at the gate, walked around to his spot with sandwich box and flask in hand, then sat anonymously amongst the fellow supporters. Mind you, I think he's a Glamorgan fan! But you couldn't do this at many Grounds, it's unique.

There is artistic licence in many paintings of the Ground where they show the Cathedral in the background. Believe me, to see the Cathedral from the playing area, you'd have to be in excess of 50 feet tall!! But stand at the back of the Woolley, Cowdrey or Chiesman Stands and you'll see it's wonderful shape above the City skyline.

The Stands are also home to Martins who nest away in the eaves and busy all day flying in and out of their pop holes.
The Seagull's aren't so friendly though and have a habit of nesting on top of the Dressing Room Roof.
Many a time I've been target for an angry Mum who seems not to like the presence of someone sweeping the Players Balcony floor in the mid-evening.

In 2005 we lost the famous Lime Tree. I was 'honoured' by being asked to supervise the sawing up at a secret location 'somewhere in Kent'.
To many (mainly Bob Willis!!) it was an eyesore and in the way of cricket, but to most it was a unique feature of the ground and indeed a final resting place for many a departed member ashes.
A new one was always on standby and this was re-planted by Brian Luckhurst, ex- Kent / England player and at the time, President of the Club. Sadly it was one of his final duties before he too said farewell to a life of Cricket
Oddly, because of the building of a Hotel on the Old Dover Road boundary, this is being moved a few meters south!

I once heard a Member say "I'd rather be buried, but can't have my ashes put down by the Tree if I do".

Did I take the last photo of the famous Lime Tree (Oct 2004)
Right - 'somewhere in Kent'!

One final thing before the re-development starts was the archealogical dig of the Bat and Ball Car Park where a Leper Hospital Graveyard once was. The Diggers were not let down and many remains were found.
Must say, if I'd have known about that some years ago, I wouldn't be the last one out the Ground every night!

The future of the game, twenty/20, TV, floodlights & fun?

The main gate

The Cowdrey Stand and Shops

One of the many re-fuelling stops

Inside the Chiesmans Pavilion

The Players Restaurant

It's not just a Lawnmower!

My final view of the Ground every day!

Kent Cricket

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Getting there...

By train to Canterbury East or Canterbury West. From the East it's about a 15 / 20 minute walk, the walk from the West takes you through the City Centre and will take around 30 minutes.

By Bus The Main Bus Depot is just to the Cricket Ground side of the City, the walk from there up the Old Dover Road takes about 10 minutes



The nervous young batsman was having a terrible time and was lucky to still be at the crease. During a lull, he stammered to the wicket keeper, 'Well, I expect you've seen worse players.'
He said 'I said I expect you've seen worse players.'
'I heard you the first time. I was just trying to think.'