I-77162 | Gentlemen of England cricket group, Montreal, QC, composite, 1872

Gentlemen of England cricket group, Montreal, QC, composite, 1872
William Notman (1826-1891)
1872, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Wet collodion process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Art (2774) , composite (312) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

What, exactly, was a sport? There were two quite different notions of sports at the time, one with a social focus and the other with a competitive focus. The first concept favoured sociability and a festive, relaxing atmosphere, whereas the second was more athletic, emphasizing competition, performance and skill. As long as sports were practiced mainly by the elite, the social concept predominated, but as they spread to the general population, the competitive view became more prevalent.

Gilles Janson, Emparons-nous du sport : Les Canadiens français et le sport au XIXe siècle (Montreal: Guérin, 1995), p. 14

Nancy Bouchier, "'Aristocrats' and Their 'Noble Sport': Woodstock Officers and Cricket during the Rebellion Era", in Canadian Journal of History of Sport, vol. 20, no. 1 (May 1989), pp. 16-32.

  • What

    Cricket, England's national sport, never became popular in Canada, but it was the game of choice among people of lofty status.

  • Where

    Cricket is an outdoors sport played on a level ground with wooden bats and wickets that the bowler (pitcher) tries to knock over.

  • When

    Cricket was played mainly in the 19th century. It was the forerunner of American baseball, which began gaining popularity in the 1880s.

  • Who

    This game was played chiefly by prominent figures in small cities. Playing cricket was a good way to assert one's social standing and authority to the local population.