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Cricket great WG Grace left mark on Bromley as well as sport

PUBLISHED: 12:24 20 May 2013 | UPDATED: 12:24 20 May 2013

WG Grace's blue plaque at Fairmont House.

WG Grace's blue plaque at Fairmont House.

Archant

There are few people who transcend their chosen sport.

WG Grace ended his days in Mottingham after a sparkling sporting career.WG Grace ended his days in Mottingham after a sparkling sporting career.

In the modern era we have greats such as Tiger Woods but before they were a glint in their parents’ eye there was cricket’s W. G. Grace.

With more than 54,000 first-class runs and 2,800 wickets, William Gilbert Grace is a cricket legend and one who chose to end his illustrious career at Fairmount in Mottingham Lane.

With his trademark bushy beard, for a period in the early 20th century he was one of the most famous names in the country, revolutionising cricket and even dipping his toes in other fields of excellence.

At the age of 18, in 1856, Grace hit a massive 224 not out for England against Surrey before leaving the match halfway through to compete in a quarter-mile hurdle event at Crystal Palace.

He was also known to play football for Bolton Wanderers from time to time, proving he was as good with his feet as he was with his hands.

Much of the popularity of cricket today is attributed to Grace whose towering presence in the sport brought in crowds to see his wondrous batting displays. It wasn’t unheard of for him to score more than 300 runs single- handed.

Having been born in Bristol, he and his family relocated to Mottingham where he would see out his days. In 1915, he fell victim to a heart attack and died at the age of 67.

He is buried with his family at Beckenham Crematorium and Cemetery in Elmers End Road.

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