Taken from the Warsop website:-

The Warsop family has been hand making cricket bats since 1870 and have passed the craft down through the generations. It all began with Benjamin Warsop who moved from Nottingham to London to set up his Cricket Bat workshop in St Johns Wood. Along with the help of his four sons; Alfred, Arthur, Frank and Walter, pictured here each holding a tool of the cricket bat making trade. Though they would only be operating on a comparatively small scale at this stage, one of these early Warsop Bats won a First order of merit at the Centennial International Exhibition at Melbourne in 1888.

In this same year, B.Warsop and Sons felled a tree in Boreham, Essex which was 101 feet high and 5ft 9 inches in diameter. This enormous tree had been planted in 1835, making it three times the age of a normal cricket bat willow and felled for the 'sole purpose of making bats' Ben described it as 'sound as a bell' and subsequently made 1,179 cricket bats from it.

The order book in these first 20 years of business show that Benjamin Warsop and his sons were supply large and regular quantities of cricket bats to Slazenger, Wisden and Junior Army and Navy stores, as well as clubs, schools and individuals. In 1893 Ben received an order from the master himself; W.G. Grace Esq. 18 May 1893; 2 Patents £2 & 1 Patent £1, this is presumed to be the price of their most famed bat at the time, the 'Conqueror'
At the turn of the century, The workshops moved from Charles Street to another part of St Johns Wood; Park Road which was to the south of Lord's Cricket Ground. The workshop was situated down a broad Alley called Grove Gardens, which backed onto the Regents Canal and the railway line. Benjamin was joined at this time by George Hunt who had learnt his trade from Venables of Lee Green, Blackheath, Stuart Surridge and George Bussey, he stayed with the firm for more than half a century. In 1907, after six years of working together they were in the big league supplying Harrods Stores Ltd and Rio Cricket & Athletic Association of Brazil with world class cricket bats.

Securing enough Willow to keep pace with the increasing orders became a problem and in 1909 a timber account was started and a drive to find new growers. The news that Warsop were looking for Willow trees for cricket bat making spread around and letters poured in from county councils and estate owners. At the outbreak of war in 1914, Benjamin was fortunate to have a full stock of willow and probably had to buy comparatively few clefts in the following five years, when he began buying again in 1919 prices had risen considerably.

Related Items