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The W W Grantham bat collection

Saturday 1 December 2007, 4.17pm

Major W W Grantham, who did so much for stoolball after World War One, was known to have commissioned various bats as he travelled the world on cruise ships. John Price, National Stoolball Association (NSA) Chairman, spent five years spent tracking them down before, in summer 2007, they were found in the Sussex hamlet of Town Littleworth, very near the Grantham ancestral home of Balneath Manor.

There are 11 bats of all shapes and sizes. One painted black has a large hitting area nearly 12 inches wide but a short handle; another is held together with very prominent nuts and bolts. Many of bats carry the name of the steam ship where they had been created and some bear the name of a port visited: Helsingfors in Finland, Vladivostock in Siberia, Russia and Kandy in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). They all show the date they were made, the earliest being 1924 and the latest 1937.

A stoolball bat from Vladivostok, Siberia, Russia made in September 1928 A stoolball bat from Vladivostok, Siberia, Russia made in September 1928

A stoolball bat from Vladivostok, Siberia, Russia made in September 1928

If you would like to see the bats, John and Kay plan to visit various league and divisional tournaments with the NSA equipment and would be delighted to bring the collection along too. We’ve also got photos of some of the bats in our history section.

If anyone knows the whereabouts of any early stoolball bats – perhaps one of your great grandparents’ sporting heirlooms tucked away in a loft – or old wickets, balls, scorebooks, club or county badges, indeed anything to do with stoolball history, do let us know. The number to phone is 01403 252419.

Tags: equipment, history