WOOF, William Albert.
Born at Gloucester, 9th July 1858.
Died at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, 4th April 1937.
He was educated at Bedford Grammar School and became an apprentice engineer at Grantham, Lincolnshire. He first went out as a professional cricketer at Stubbington House, Fareham, Hampshire, in May, June and July 1878, and for the next two months he was with Grantham CC. The following year he was with the Lancashire CCC at Manchester and in 1880-81 at Cheltenham College. Form 1882-85 he was on the MCC groundstaff at Lord’s, coaching at Cambridge early in 1883-84 and Oxford early in 1885. From 1886 until 1925 he was the cricket coach at Cheltenham College.
In 1878 he made his debut in first-class cricket and between then and 1902 he played in 160 first-class matches, 140 of them for Gloucestershire. He was a first-class umpire thereafter. For many years he was managing director of W.A.Woof Ltd, which ran sports outfitting shops at 4 Suffolk Road and 1 Regent Street, Cheltenham.
There is no trace of W.A. Woof in the 1881Census, but at 61 Westgate, Gloucester there is a William M. Woolf, aged 22 born at Gloucester, a cricket professional and pattern maker, and there can be little doubt that this is our man. He is living with his wife, Sarah, aged 20 born at Barnet, Middlesex and his grandmother Mary Carnes, a widow aged 78 bornin Newport, Monmouthshire, a publicans widow.
However at 20 Montpellier Villas, Cheltenham, the home of George Bendall, aged 35, builder, decorator and cabinet maker, and his wife Susan, aged 38, an upholsterer, and their two sons and two daughters, there is a niece, Mrs. Salina Woof, aged 20 born Barnet, Middlesex, a cricketers wife. 20 Montpellier Villas is the address given for W.A. Woof in Lillywhite’s Annual for 1881. It appears that our cricketer is in the Census with the wrong name and his wife is in it twice with differing first names!
(Article: Copyright © 2004 Don Ambrose)
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