Exhibition of items associated with cricket commentator John Arlott currently at Willis Museum

Basingstoke Gazette: Commentator John Arlott Commentator John Arlott

AN EXHIBITION of items associated with legendary Basingstoke cricket commentator John Arlott is currently on show in The Willis Museum.

The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Councillor Dan Putty was delighted to pop in and to meet staff and members of the Friends of The Willis Museum.

The pieces in the exhibition in the Top of The Town museum have been kindly loaned by Mr Arlott’s son Tim, and they will be there until the end of March.

John Arlott was born in the cemetery cottage, Chapel Hill, Basingstoke on February 25, 1914.

He attended Fairfields School and Queen Mary’s Grammar School in Worting Road. In 1934, he joined the police in Southampton.

In 1943, while still a serving police officer, he was asked to do a voice test for the BBC which resulted in an opportunity for a radio talk.

Mr Arlott is best remembered for his distinctive cricket commentaries and his colourful use of the English language.

His first love was poetry, which he wrote under the name Leslie Thomas (his other two given names). Later in life, he wrote about wine, but it is for his cricket commentaries that he is best remembered.

Mr Arlott also provided the commentary for the DVD The Story of Basingstoke, which is on sale in the museum shop.

Derek Anthony, chairman of the Friends of The Willis Museum, said: “For 30 years, John Arlott’s Hampshire burr was one of the most easily recognised sounds on radio.

“His cricket commentaries relayed the authentic voice of a Basingstoke boy born-and-bred around the world.

“This small exhibition of personal items in The Willis Museum celebrates the achievements of a larger-than-life Basingstoke character who added a colourful chapter to the town’s history.”

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