The First and Last, Cambridge
Update: Sept 2011 – Since I wrote the article below, the pub has been renamed the First and Last and reopened in the first week of September after a few weeks of refurbishment. The interior has had a good makeover, the pool table has been removed so there’s more seating and the place feels lighter and more spacious, particularly the lower level. Not sure of the whereabouts of the Cricketers pub sign but the sign detailing the history is on the wall of the main bar. Exmoor Gold and Tiger Bitter on at both bars when visited.
The Cricketers stands on the corner of Melbourne Place and Prospect Row, opposite the Elm Tree pub, a point where several other streets meet – Eden Street, Orchard Court and Elm Street converge just a few footsteps north of the Cricketers. Part of the old maltings warehouse adjoins the beer garden to the east where several more streets converge – Warkworth Street, Mud Lane and a narrow passageway joining them to Melbourne Place.
According to a signboard inside, the pub dates from 1838 and was originally called the First and Last. Just 2 years later it was renamed the Cricketers, and has kept that name for over 170 years. However, the pub might soon revert to it’s original but short-lived name, the First and Last.
Alterations are planned – the public bar currently features a pool table as its centrepiece but this might soon be removed. The lounge is on two levels and the lower part may also soon be altered.
A Greene King pub, it has so far benefited from a change of hands. It feels welcoming again, which hasn’t been the case for years, and the beer is better, Woodfordes Wherry when visited. It has really needed some new furniture in the lounge, but clearly a lot of care is now being taken in the pub. I’m not even interested in cricket but I hope care is taken with the pubs history and its connection to the game; close to the once famous cricket ground on Parker’s Piece, former landlords have included “members of the famous Haywards cricketing family – 3 of whom played for England”. It’s unclear what will happen to the cricket memorabilia or the exterior and pub sign during the refurbishment.