Education And Debate

1895: Dr W G Grace's golden summer

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 02 September 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:618
  1. Peter Toghill, director of continuing medical educationa
  1. aRoyal College of Physicians of London, London NW1 4LE
  • Accepted 7 July 1995

One hundred years ago there was another wonderful summer. Dr W G Grace, England's greatest cricketer, in his 47th year, completed his “century of centuries” and scored 2346 runs. This remarkable achievement was celebrated with enthusiasm and affection by the Victorian public. In more practical terms generous testimonials raised £9073 8s 6d, which made it a golden summer in more ways than one.

A hundred years ago Victorian England held its breath as its greatest cricketer, then in his 47th year, reenacted and surpassed the triumphs of his younger days. In a tranquil summer, when scarcely a shot was fired in anger throughout the British Empire, the public followed with mounting enthusiasm the exploits of its easily most identifiable personage. For William Gilbert Grace, immortalised as WG, it was indeed a golden summer.

For WG the year began, as usual, with early cricket practice in March and April, fitted into his busy life as a family doctor in Bristol.1 Though he still dominated the world of cricket, his supremacy with bat and ball had, in recent years, been less complete. For some time the cricket world had expected “The Champion” to retire, though he was still, at …

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