John Wisden bigraphy, stories - Founder of Wisden Cricketer's Almanack

John Wisden : biography

5 September 1826 - 5 April 1884
John Wisden Wisden Cricketers' Almanack

Early life

Wisden was born at 24 Crown Street, Brighton, but moved to London after his father William died.

Cricket career

Although of moderate height (5 ft 6 in), Wisden was said to be the best all-rounder of his day; he was known as "The Little Wonder". He made his first-class debut for Sussex in 1845 aged 18, weighing only 7 stone. Initially a fast round-arm bowler, his pace slowed in later years. While bowling fast, he took on average nearly 10 wickets in every game. In 1850, playing for the South against the North at Lord's, he took all 10 wickets in the second innings, all clean bowled (still the only instance of all ten wickets being taken "bowled" in any first-class match).

In all, he took 1,109 first-class wickets with a bowling average of 10.32 He was also a fine batsman (4,140 first-class runs with a batting average of 14.12, an average which was very good for the time). He scored only two centuries, the first in 1849 and the second was the only century scored in 1855.

He played almost all of his cricket in England, including many games in the County Championship, but he travelled with a touring team led by George Parr to Canada and the U.S. in 1859, where eight matches in Montreal, Hoboken, Philadelphia, Hamilton and Rochester were won easily. Since 1855 Wisden had been in partnership with Fred Lillywhite, who organised the North American tour. They ran a tobacconist and sports outfitting business in London's West End, but this did not survive the trip.


He was posthumously selected as Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1913, 50 years after his retirement from first-class cricket & was featured in a special commemorative section in the Jubilee edition of the publication, 29 years posthumously. "Also I have left out of my reckoning John Wisden, founder of the Almanack, to whose memory the whole feature was devoted in the Jubilee issue of 1913—he died in 1884." As such, he is not a true Cricketer of the Year, but is included here for the sake of comprehensiveness.

Funerary monument, Brompton Cemetery, London

Publishing career

Wisden retired from cricket in 1863 at the relatively early age of 37 as a result of rheumatism; he started publishing his annual cricketers' almanac the next year. In later years, he began selling cricket equipment in Leamington Spa in 1850 and opened a "cricket and cigar shop" near The Haymarket in 1872.

Later life

Wisden died of cancer in Westminster, aged 57. He is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine