This informative and appealing book reveals the story of a team of a dozen English cricketers which travelled to Canada and North America in 1859 to take part in the very first inter-continental sporting tour which changed the face of international cricket for all time.

It tells of the early origins of the game and provides an intimate insight into the lives of the characters which bravely embarked on the perilous trans-Atlantic journey and influenced the early development of the Victorian game. The book exposes revealing information about each of the matches played during the tour and the subsequent developments which brought about radical changes in the governance of the game.

As professional cricket continued to dominate the English game, the ‘Lion of the North’, as George Parr was affectionately popularly known, took over the role as captain of Nottinghamshire in1856, immediately following the death of ‘the father of Nottinghamshire cricket’ William Clarke. A stalwart of the All England XI, Parr also assumed the captaincy and management of the All England XI, which regularly attracted huge crowds of enthusiastic supporters wherever played its matches against local sides, usually numbering as many as twenty-two players. In that same year a group of cricket enthusiasts in the United States and Canada had written a letter in an attempt to persuade an English cricket team to cross the Atlantic in order to play a series of matches. Even though baseball eventually eclipsed the popularity of cricket in the United States historical records suggest cricket predates it and was played there as early as 1737.

However, it was not until 1859 that terms were agreed with George Parr, assisted by John Wisden, agreeing to lead an England touring cricket team on the very first major overseas trip. Parr organised and captained the touring team which set sail from Liverpool to play several pre-arranged matches in Canada and North America, where the game of cricket was showing signs of taking root. Unsurprisingly the All England XI overwhelmed the opposition in all its matches, ultimately receiving the princely sum of £50 per man, plus all expenses, for their trouble.

The development of many of the popular team sports of today, including football and cricket, have their roots firmly planted in the Victorian era, with the world’s oldest tennis tournament, the Wimbledon Championships, first played in 1877.

The emergence of the steamship would eventually completely replace sail, and the speedier form of inter-continental transportation led to the advancement of overseas trade and became an accepted part of the professional sportsman’s life.

As wages increased and the hours of work were reduced during the Victorian era, more time became available for individuals to pursue and enjoy their chosen leisure activities. Moreover, the introduction and improvement of the railway systems throughout Britain, enabled ‘middle-class’ Victorians to take advantage of its benefits, and annual vacations gradually becoming routine. Initially by ‘white-collar’ workers, but little by little a privilege claimed by the ‘working-classes’, with seaside resorts and moderately priced hotels becoming popular destinations for holiday makers.

The Victorian Pioneers is an absorbing read for the cricket enthusiast, and for those with an interest in the early history of the English game.


Author:                 Roy Case               Published by:         AuthorHouse UK

Available from:       Amazon and Barnes & Noble:

ebook: ISBN 978-1-5246-6458-9: soft cover: ISBN 978-1-5246-6459-6:

hard cover: ISBN 978-1-5246-6457-2:



Roy Case was born in Nottinghamshire at the start of the Second World War. He retired from work at the age of 55 in order to devote his time to his true passion for sport. In 1982 he founded the McGregor Trophy, which was later adopted by England Golf, as the English Boys [Under 16] Open Amateur Stroke-play Championship. Case was presented with the Gerald Micklem Award for outstanding service to amateur golf in the Millennium year, and was elected President of England Golf in 2008. A keen follower of cricket, he is a member of the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians.