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Jack Hobbs c 1920
4 Rivar Place, Sleaford Street
History of 4 Rivar Place, Sleaford Street
Ronald W Lawrence
Childhood home of Sir Jack Hobbs, ‘England’s Greatest Cricketer’ (1882-1963)
An early photograph of 4 Rivar Place is included in a recent biography of this cricketing hero, showing the ‘modest terraced home in which Jack was brought up in the late Victorian age’. Beside it, a wider view of nineteenth-century Sturton Town depicts the ‘bleak Cambridge streets around his home’.
Jack (properly John) was the eldest of twelve children, all of whom grew up in Rivar Place. His parents, John and Flora Hobbs, settled there for life and are buried nearby in Mill Road Cemetery.
Jack’s education was gained entirely in the surrounding streets, first in the classrooms run by St Matthew’s Church (aged 5-9) and later at York Street Boys School (9-12). His cricket was grounded here too, in teams from York Street School and St Matthew’s Choir among others. It was in a Sturton Town side, the Ainsworth XI, that he scored his very first century.
A great many centuries were to follow as Hobbs went on to a glittering career with Surrey and England, setting batting records that (it is widely assumed) will never be broken. In 1953 he became the first cricketer to be honoured with a knighthood. It all began in Sturton Town.
See Leo McKinstry: Jack Hobbs, England’s Greatest Cricketer (2011)