At the end of the 19th Century J.R. (Jack) Mason was considered to be the best young all-rounder cricketer in England, so it was no surprise when he was selected for the ‘Ashes’ tour of 1897/98.
He played in all the 5 tests of that tour, and then returned to play for his native Kent. However, Jack’s sights were firmly set on a legal career, and, after completing the ‘double’ in 1901, his cricketing days became fewer and fewer.
When he married in 1906, he promised his wife that, as soon as he finished playing, he would would pack all his kit from the Australian tour in his tour bag, put it in the loft, and leave it untouched for their first son.
Mason never had a son. In the 1960’s one of his daughters decided to sell the dusty old bag. A cricket enthusiast Roger Mann from Torquay heard about the bag and purchased it, complete with bats, gloves, pads etc.
Mason’s grandson, John Lazenby, in 2004, was researching his grandfathers life. He made the visit to Devon to discus the bag and was inspired to write a book called ”The Test of Time”. It’s first chapter is headed ”The Cricket Bag”
From then on the bag sat in Roger’s cricket room slowly deteriorating even more, the leather had badly dried out and the stitching was destroyed through the weight of the metal clasps. It had come to the end of its life…. or so Roger thought!
The Bag Restoration
121 years after the bag was made, it came into my world to be restored. Careful work was applied to slowly rehydrate the leather, damage to some of the top grain was attended to. Stitching was replaced, by hand saddle stitching. Sympathetic recolouring was touched in on damaged parts. Then finishes applied to protect the leather.
The bag was returned to it’s now happy owner, fit maybe for another tour of Australia!
Me with the repaired and restored leather cricket bag