A Trust was Created
The Lords Ground Trust was born on 22 August 1866
Five Trustees were originally appointed at SGM on 23 May 1864 – the Earl of Dudley, the Earl of Sefton, the Rt Hon Frederick Ponsonby, William Nicholson Esq. and Robert Broughton Esq.
The Committee Minutes dated 26 March 1866 set out the arrangements made for the 5 Trustees to purchase the freehold land at Lords from Mr Marsden embracing the loan offer made by Mr Nicholson to provide a Mortgage to cover the purchase price. The Committee instructed
“The 5 Trustees to execute a Deed of Trust as to the Ground being held in Trust for the MCC”.
The express purposes of the Trust were “to guarantee the future welfare and prosperity of the Club” (SGM 3 May 1865) and “to secure the Freehold of Lords Ground to the Members and their successors forever” (SGM 2 May 1866).
The conveyance of the land at St Johns Wood to the MCC Trustees took place on 22 August 1866 bringing the efforts of the Committee and its supporters to a successful conclusion in creating the Lords Ground Trust for the benefit of MCC members. Their efforts began on 8 April 1864 with a public appeal for funds towards purchasing the freehold of Lords Cricket Ground and HRH the Prince of Wales made a generous contribution to support the initiative.
Significant Dates Since 1866
30 August 1937 The Earl of Dartmouth was appointed to fill a Trustee vacancy
31 August 1937 Glyn Mills and Co were appointed Custodian Trustee under Section 4 of the Trustee Act 1906
This new arrangement ensured that all the various documents relating to the Club property were placed in safe keeping with Glyn Mills who remained under the sole direction of the five MCC Managing Trustees appointed to office from time to time.
The office of MCC Trustee was held for life and terminated only by resignation or the passing of a resolution at SGM.
1951 AGM The maximum number of trustees was reduced from 5 to 4. The minimum number remains at 3 and in addition a Custodian Trustee (now the Royal Bank of Scotland)
1965 From 1 May the Trustees were to occupy office for 3 years only (previously a lifetime appointment) and each one to be replaced in rotation at AGM
Club Rule Changes
The Club Rules have been changed on a number of occasions where the Trustees as Officers of the Club are concerned. In 1866 when the original Deed of Trust was executed they served for life and were ex-officio members of the Committee. The MCC Trustees were trustees in every sense of the word with the whole property at Lords vested in their ownership and managed in accordance with the express wishes contained in the Trust for the beneficiaries (the MCC Members). Their stewardship was responsible for ensuring the best interests of the MCC Members were properly managed at all times.
Interestingly whilst the Club Rules today seem to ignore the common duties and responsibilities of managing trustees set out by various Trustee Acts (now defined in the Trustee Act 2000) there is a vestige of recognition contained in the Club Rules 1976 Section X Rule 46 that refers to “the property within the main walls of the Match and Practice Grounds ” being the subject of special Trustee arrangements. This is surely because the Trustees have (and still have) special responsibilities and duties of care towards the Members in respect of any development of the property vested in the ownership of the Trustees in 1866?
The words of the Great Bard Shakespeare are appropriate
“We must not make a scarecrow of the law
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey”