Dickie Bird hits us for four, squeezing in three favourites – including, wouldn’t you know it, Lord’s cricket ground – and a now defunct baseball park that was getting on a bit
My favourite building is Lord’s cricket ground. It’s a very special place. It’s steeped in history and is the home of legends. When you walk through the Long Room in the pavilion at Lord’s, your chest puffs out and you get an amazing buzz. When you walk through the Grace Gates, you get such a marvellous feeling, I don’t think there’s anything like it in the world. I’ve got some wonderful memories of Lord’s that I will treasure for the rest of my life. The design – I don’t know what stone it’s built of – but it’s out of this world. It just stands out above everything else. It’s very special to me.
I’ve also been to Buckingham Palace many times; I think it’s a marvellous building. I’ve had lunch with the Queen and tea with the Duke of Edinburgh. I went there to receive my MBE in 1986 and I was there in 1975 when the Cricket World Cup was in England and all the teams went to the palace. Again, having so many memories there, I will always treasure it. It’s steeped in so much history – royalty and kings and queens – it’s magnificent. A lot of people don’t like the outside of the palace, but I reckon it’s all right. It’s been there years and will stand until the end of time. Also, although it’s not a building, I’d like to mention Graham Ibberson’s statue of me which has recently been put up in Barnsley. It cost £70,000 and is 8ft 1in tall.
My blunder will have to be the old Yankee stadium in the Bronx, because I don’t have any problems with anything else. It’s held some wonderful events over the years, including many of the great heavyweight championships (I’m a big boxing fan), but it had been there a hell of a long time and it was getting a bit long in the tooth by the time they built the new one over the road. I’m glad they did that. I’ve never been there, just seen it on the television.
Dennis “Dickie” Bird is a former coal miner, cricketer and cricket umpire. He set up the Dickie Bird Foundation to help disadvantaged children to participate in sport.
Lord’s cricket ground was established in 1814, the third such site of founder, Thomas Lord. Owned by the Marylebone Cricket Club, it is the headquarters of the England and Wales and European cricket boards. The architectural highlights include the pavilion, which was completed in 1890 and designed by Thomas Verity; the Grand Stand, which was designed by Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners; and Hopkins Architects’ Mound Stand. The Future Systems-designed media centre won the 1999 Stirling prize.
The 1923 Yankee stadium is in the Bronx in New York City. It was the home of the New York Yankees baseball team from its construction date until last year, when a new $1.5bn stadium was completed across the street from the old one. One of the world’s most famous sports grounds, Yankee stadium became famous for being the home of Babe Ruth, the Yankees’ best-known player. But it was also host to boxing matches, concerts and three papal masses. It was restored between 1974 and 1975. Before its demolition for parkland, much of the old detail was incorporated into the new stadium.