Thursday, July 08, 2010

1947: Drought on the Leicestershire/Rutland border

The long, hot summer of 1947 is remembered for the batting feats of the Middlesex and England batsmen Denis Compton and Bill Edrich.

Compton scored 3816 runs at an average of 90.85 with 18 centuries. Edrich scored 3539 runs at an average of 80.43 with 12 centuries. These are the highest and second highest aggregates for an English season. Not surprisingly, Middlesex won the county championship.

The summer of 1947 was remembered in a famous passage by Neville Cardus:
Never have I been so deeply touched on a cricket ground, as I was in this heavenly summer of 1947 when I went to Lord's to see a pale-faced crowd, existing on rations, the rocket-bomb still in the ears of most folks - and see this worn, dowdy crowd raptly watching Compton.

The strain of long years of anxiety and affliction passed from all heads and shoulders at the sight of Compton in full sail, sending the ball here, there, and everywhere, each stroke a flick of delight, a propulsion of happy, sane, healthy life. There were no rations in an innings by Compton.
But that glorious summer was not good news for everyone, as this newsreel (just click on the photo) of a farm on the Leicestershire and Rutland border shows.

You must bear in mind that, just as nothing on television is true, these newsreels may not be showing us the world as it was so much as its viewers wished it to be.

Still it's hard to resist this footage of a boy and his dog and the marvelous characterful face of the farmer.

1 comment:

dreamingspire said...

My earliest memory is of that summer, of August's great thunderstorm and my mother standing between me and the window, cradling my baby brother in her arms - and he was bawling. He doesn't bawl now, but he does talk a lot.