The St. Helen’s ground overlooking Swansea Bay has witnessed some memorable feats of big-hitting, most notably in 1968 by Nottinghamshire’s Sir Gary Sobers. In the years before the Great War, it was local batsman Henry Ellis who time and again gleefully struck the ball out into, and over, the Mumbles Road.
Image Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives / Dave Dow.
An architect by profession, he had been born and educated in Cambridge. He began his professional career in the university town before moving briefly to Cardiff and then heading further west to Swansea in 1898 to join the practice of Alfred Bucknell which had been established since 1870 and had seen the creation by the Gloucestershire-born architect of the Calvinstic Methodist Church in St. Helen’s Road plus the Board School in Waunarlwydd. Henry subsequently took over the eminent practice and remained in the area for the rest of his life. His son Colin joined his father in the practice in 1935, before selling it to the Gammon Partnership in 1980.
Henry had been a talented batter at The Perse School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge with his big-hitting feats for Swansea drew the attention of the Glamorgan selectors. He duly made his debut against Berkshire at Reading in 1904 and struck a lusty 41. Pressure of work meant that he did not re-appear at county level until June and July 1906 when Henry was chosen for the home and away fixtures with Monmouthshire, at Swansea and Newport respectively, plus the contest with Northumberland at the Arms Park.
He made 30 on his home turf at St. Helen’s, plus 37 at the Arms Park, yet despite impressing many good judges, his business commitments prevented him from playing again in the Minor County Championship. He was appointed captain of Swansea CC in 1909 and, during July 1914 Henry found time to appear at St .Helen’s for the Gentlemen of Glamorgan against their counterparts from Carmarthenshire. By this time, he was also playing cricket for the Mumbles club.
ELLIS, Henry Augustus.
Born – Cambridge, 20 June 1872.
Died – Bishopston, Swansea, 30 October 1966.
Batting and Fielding Record
Minor County Championship – 41 v Berkshire at Reading, 1904.