The hundred foot tree that made 1,179 bats in 1888
Our story begins in the mid 1800s with Benjamin Warsop, a Nottingham gentlemen who moved to London to set up his Cricket Bat workshop in St Johns Wood. Along with the help of his four sons; Alfred, Arthur, Frank and Walter. Their craftsmanship and skill in the bat making industry was recognised instantly, which won them a First order of merit at the Centennial International Exhibition at Melbourne in 1888.
In this same year, Ben Warsop and his sons felled a tree in Boreham, Essex close to where we now operate. the colossal tree was 101 feet high and 5ft 9 inches in diameter. Planted in around 1835, making it three times the age of a normal cricket bat willow. Ben described it as ‘sound as a bell’ and he and his sons crafted 1,179 magnificent cricket bats from this one willow.
The order book in these first 20 years of business show that Benjamin Warsop and his sons were supply large and regular quantities of cricket bats to Slazenger, Wisden and Junior Army and Navy stores, as well as clubs, schools and individuals. In 1893 Ben received an order from the master himself; W.G. Grace Esq. 18 May 1893; 2 Patents £2 & 1 Patent £1, this is presumed to be the price of their most famed bat at the time, the 'Conqueror'
At the turn of the century, The workshops moved even closer to Lord's Cricket Ground. Benjamin was joined at this time by George Hunt who had learnt his trade from Venables of Lee Green, Blackheath, Stuart Surridge and George Bussey, he stayed with the firm for more than half a century. In 1907, after six years of working together they were in the big league supplying Harrods Stores Ltd and Rio Cricket & Athletic Association of Brazil with world class cricket bats.
The Warsop's sourced their timber from Essex soil, providing the finest bat willows in the country. The family and workers would take a train from London and hop off at the sight of bat willow trees, set up camp and fell the timber before transporting it back to London. Eventually this lead to Walter setting up his bat workshop in Little Baddow, Essex. His son Cyril became the 3rd generation to learn the skills of his father and grandfather and he in turn taught his children, Max and Shiela Warsop when they joined the business after World War II had ended and the game of cricket once again became a part of British life. In the 1950s they welcomed Harry Stebbing into the partnership in their Danbury workshop.
Warsop Cricket is now owned and run by 5th generation of the family Clere Warsop alongside her partner Tony who is skilled batmaker, together the team combine centuries of bat making skill with a vast knowledge of the game as it has evolved to produce world class english willow bats.
Our ethos remains the same 150 years on that our players are the centre of our business. Our bats and equipment are all designed to enhance the ability and enjoyment of every cricketer we serve.