Coordinates: 51°29′17″N 0°05′24″W / 51.488°N 0.090°W / 51.488; -0.090 The Montpelier Cricket Club was prominent in English cricket from about 1796, when it began to compete against Marylebone Cricket Club and other leading "town clubs", until 1845 when its members were the prime movers in the formation of Surrey County Cricket Club.
Montpelier was based at George Aram's New Ground in Montpelier Gardens, Walworth, Surrey. This was a first-class venue from 1796 to 1806.
The first major cricket match involving the Montpelier team was versus MCC at Montpelier Gardens on 24 & 25 June 1796. MCC won by 63 runs.
Montpelier was a victim of the Napoleonic War and the strength of its team waned after 1800 as the war progressed. It became a minor club in playing terms but remained influential in membership terms and was still the leading club in Surrey when the formation of a county club was first proposed in the 1840s.
The Montpelier club acted through one of its members, a Mr Houghton, to obtain a suitable venue for the proposed county club. In 1845, Houghton obtained a lease from the Duchy of Cornwall of land in Kennington. The initial lease was for 31 years at £120 per annum. Whereas Lord's had formerly been a duckpond, The Oval had previously been a cabbage patch and market garden! The original turf cost £300 and some 10,000 turfs from Tooting Common were laid in March 1845.
Surrey CCC was founded on the evening of 22 August 1845 at the Horns Tavern in south London, where around 100 representatives of various cricket clubs in Surrey agreed a motion put by William Denison (the club's first Secretary) "that a Surrey club be now formed". A further meeting at the Tavern on 18 October 1845 formally constituted the club, appointed officers and began enrolling members. 70 Montpelier members formed the nucleus of the new county club. The Honourable Fred Ponsonby, later the Earl of Bessborough, was the first vice-president.
The history of this famous old cricket club is the subject of a book by Philip Paine and due to be published in November 2009.
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