Cambridge sport: In Fenners’ Hands 

- book for sale (due Spring 2022)


Cambridge may be considered the cradle of the sporting revolution that swept through Britain and the rest of the world from the middle of the 19th century. Its best achievement was establishing the modern-day laws of football.

Its impact might have been even more significant but for a local tobacconist, despite the best of intentions, and starts. Frank Fenner, using his cricketing and networking skills was able to bring Town and Gown together so that the ‘Cambridge Town & County Club’ became one of the top sides in the country, alongside Kent, Sussex, Surrey, and Nottingham. In wanting to build on this success Fenner opened his own ground, but only the University took full advantage, producing more Test players and captains than any county. Local cricket got left behind, with Fenner’s initial success lamented as a ‘tradition unshared’.

It was not long before the Colleges acquired their own sports grounds, and built their own rowing boathouses, ‘thanks’ to Fenner modelling how a specialist sporting facility might operate, and the benefits that accrue.

It was left to others to make sport accessible to all, with Fenner leaving Cambridge in the early 1860s, tired and disappointed. However he lived a further thirty years as a hotel proprietor, having a significant impact on the early days of West Country cricket.

‘Cambridge sport: In Fenners’ Hands’ focuses on Frank Fenner’s first fifty years in Cambridge, in the context of the extraordinary sporting achievements taking place around him at the time. The author Nigel Fenner, related to Frank, was a University football Blue who trained in Cambridge as a teacher, is planning to publish this book, as a walking tour guide book by Spring 2022.


A financial contribution will be made to Street Child United from the sale of each book sold.


Pre-order a copy here