Blue Plaques

GRACE, W.G. (1848-1915)

Plaque erected in 1963 by London County Council at Fairmount', Mottingham Lane, Mottingham, London, SE9 3NG, London Borough of Bromley

All images © English Heritage






W.G. GRACE 1848-1915 CRICKETER lived here




The plaque was originally erected by the LCC at 7 Lawrie Road, Sydenham. After that building's demolition the GLC then installed the plaque at the current address.

William Gilbert (‘WG’) Grace is a cricketing icon. In a career that lasted for over 40 years, he turned batting from an accomplishment into a science and helped to elevate cricket from a mere pastime to a national institution.

Cricketer W.G.Grace pictured in the late 1880s
WG Grace pictured in the late 1880s. One obituarist noted that his appearance ‘instantly commanded attention’ while his bat looked ‘a mere toy in the hands of a giant’ © Herbert Rose Barraud


Though best remembered as a batsman, Grace was an all-rounder, and during his career of 43 years in first-class cricket he took nearly 3,000 wickets and scored over 50,000 runs. His achievements completely altered the standard of scoring, so that a century ceased to be a rare event, and a 50 became almost commonplace. Perhaps his most remarkable achievement came in 1895 when, at the age of 46, he scored 1,000 runs in the month of May.

Known to the public as ‘The Doctor’, ‘The Old Man’ or simply ‘WG’, he was instantly recognisable. As one obituarist noted, ‘His great towering figure, with his strong features and full black beard, instantly commanded attention.’ Due to his height, the bat ‘was generally held some distance off the pitch, looking a mere toy in the hands of a giant’.


Although Bromley was to become his home in his later years, WG Grace lived for most of his life in Gloucestershire, where he practised as a doctor alongside his cricketing career. Born near Bristol, Grace imbibed a love of cricket from his family. Two of his brothers, EM Grace and GF Grace, went on to play first-class cricket, but it was WG who excelled. He first played for the Gentlemen – the amateur cricketers – when only 16 and played his last first-class match in 1908 at the age of 60.

It was in London that Grace played his final cricket matches. In 1899 he became manager of the new London County Club at Crystal Palace and moved to 7 Lawrie Park Road, Sydenham. It was here that a plaque to Grace was originally erected in 1963 but that building was demolished the following year. The plaque was salvaged and re-erected in Bromley, where Grace spent his final years.


In 1909, the year after he retired from first-class cricket, Grace moved with his wife, Agnes, to ‘Fairmount’ on Mottingham Lane, Bromley. While here, he remained a keen sportsman, playing golf, bowls and curling as well as cricket. Only 15 months before his death, he scored 69 not out for Eltham. 

However, at the outbreak of the First World War he wrote to The Sportsman urging players to abandon the county season and to enlist. In October 1915 Grace suffered a stroke while working in Fairmount’s garden – in which he grew the choicest asparagus – and died at home a few days later. It was said that the distress caused by Zeppelin raids contributed to his demise. Grace complained that, unlike the deliveries from fast bowlers, it was a threat that he could not see coming.

Nearby Blue Plaques

Nearby Blue Plaques

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