Aberdeenshire Cricket Club Bazaar 1888

Published: 2024
Pages: 88
Author: Miller, Richard (Editor)
Publisher: Private
Rating: 3.5 stars

Richard Miller is proving to be a one man cottage industry when it comes to bringing the ancient literature of Scottish cricket to a modern audience in an accessible form. After 20 publications in his Scottish Cricket Memories series, followed by two republications of the work of William Sievwright, with this latest project he adopts a somewhat different tack by reproducing a previously published booklet if not as an exact facsimile then as something very close to that.

The publication in question was, as Richard explains in the new introduction that is the only thing that prevents this one being an exact facsimile, a ground breaking one. Back in 1888 the Aberdeenshire club held a Bazaar as part of its efforts to raise the purchase price of the Mannofield ground at which it still plays.

The Bazaar was a great success, and led to other clubs in Scotland and, eventually, the rest of the UK from running similar events. The Aberdeenshire Bazaar produced this substantial booklet, although despite the number of people who must have attended very few copies survive and, Richard advises, if one does appear on the market it will likely cost a buyer in excess of £1,000.

So what does the booklet contain? Essentially the content falls into four categories. There is the narrative content, the promotion of what the Bazaar itself offered to those attending, a liberal sprinkling of verse and, last but not least, a good deal of advertising.

As far as the first of those is concerned there is a great deal of material on the club’s earliest years, much of which material has escaped the attention of those who have written two club histories, so the booklet is an essential purchase for those few who are intrigued by the club’s ancient history.

The attractions offered by the Bazaar are something of an education. There were fifteen ‘general stalls’, as well as ‘refreshment stalls’, a flower stall and a game stall. The names of those running the various stalls are published and, interestingly, the game stall apart all are run by ladies. A sign of Scottish enlightenment perhaps? Probably not as the lists of 48 patrons, 9 club officials 105 ordinary members and 47 honorary and lawn tennis members consist entirely of men.

All this material is of some interest but, perhaps not surprising for a man who delights in the acquisition of aging benefit and tour brochures, the aspect of the booklet that is of by far the most interest to this reviewer are the numerous advertisements. Short on illustrations and celebrity endorsements these adverts contain a myriad of weird and wonderful fonts, and come from an interesting range of advertisers including coal merchants, undertakers and a professional gardener.

Richard has produced 25 copies of this splendid booklet which, at £40 each are by no means cheap, but then it is printed on good quality paper and, for those interested in its content, is a great deal less costly, more robust and much easier to acquire than one of the ultra rare originals. Richard tells me he has a handful of copies left, and as ever can be contacted by email, at rwsmiller@btinternet.com.

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