Royal Ascot Cricket Club has a number of papers, letters and documents dating back to its foundation and early years. One faded and foxed letter is written by W A Ripley of Bracknell to Percy E Crutchley, dated 13 September 1884. Mr Ripley had given extra details to Mr Crutchley after the ground was made. The ground was formally opened on July 4 1885 with its first match between the 2nd Life Guards and Ascot.
Percy Crutchley was a member of the Ground Committee from 1883, the club’s President in 1923 and a Vice-President to at least 1940. So, he possibly served more than 57 years for the cricket club.
I am in receipt of your letter of yesterday and below I give details of my estimate for making the Ascot Cricket ground which will furnish you with the information you require.
Outfield Drain 10. 0. 0
Draining 5 acres 45. 0. 0
Piping ditch with 9” pipes 5. 0. 0
Trenching 5 acres 100. 0. 0
Levelling the ground 29. 0. 0
Turfing 2 acres 150. 0. 0
Seeding 3 acres 11. 0. 0
80 tons of chalk 32. 0. 0
Other extras allowed 34. 0. 0
£416. 0. 0
You will observe the trenching and turfing are the heavy items and these vary very much in different places. Some of our trenching cost 3/6 per rod and none of it less than 2/6, and the men earned very poor wages at these prices.
The turfing cost about 10/- per 100 turves. The chalk, as you may recollect was laid on half an inch thick, which in my opinion is quite sufficient. If I can give your brother any more information on the subject I shall be happy to do so.
Yours Respectfully W A Ripley.
Amount of ground actually trenched about 41/2 acres
“ “ “ turfed about 2 acres
“ “ “ sowed with grass seed about 21/2 acres
The estimate for turfing would have been much higher than it was if we had been obliged to buy the turf. Nearly all the turf was given. We had to cut it and draw it on an average more than two miles. The trenching was done 2ft deep and in some places even more. The soil was heath-growing sand with a ….
Underlying – about 1 ft deep. There was on most parts gravel, and at about 2 feet in many parts a loamy subsoil. Where we found loam we brought it to the surface. The cost of the last comes under the head of extras in the estimate.
The ground was fairly level.
The chalk was only used on the 2 acres turfed.
The draining was done with 4” main and 3” pipes.
Main drain 4ft deep.
Other drains 3 ft 6” deep.
We calculate on making the ground good by continual top dressing with clay and manure road scrapings.
Cost of 6 bar iron fence by Hill & Smith with 1 big and 1 little gate enclosing the 5 acres about £90.
Total cost of ground up to now about £520.
Cricket grounds are not often fit to play on the year after they are made.