A. A. Thomson

Arthur Alexander Thomson, MBE (7 April 1894 at Harrogate, Yorkshire – 2 June 1968 near Lord's in London) was an English writer best known for his books on cricket, for which he used the byline "AA Thomson". He wrote nearly 60 books in all, including plays, novels, verse, humour and travel books. Before turning his hand to cricket writing, he was a drama critic and a columnist for the Radio Times and for a Sunday newspaper, while working also as a civil servant.[1]

Cricket writer

As a cricket writer, he generally concentrated on bringing out the character of the players that he was writing about, and he made liberal use of humour. In these characteristics, and in that his cricket memories went back as far as the first decade of the 20th century, he might be compared with Neville Cardus, though Thomson was writing from a Yorkshire rather than a Lancashire perspective. He once said that cricket had given him more unalloyed pleasure over a longer period than anything else, and that pleasure was evident in his writing. Thomson saw cricket not only as the most pleasurable of pastimes but also quite like the Poet Laureate might see it – an eternally vibrant display of colour, spirit, humour and conflict.

Tim Rice, in his introduction to a 1991 reissue of Pavilioned in Splendour, quoted John Arlott: "Mr Thomson writes with a nostalgia, a wealth of anecdote, a warmth and heroic strain which, if we were not careful, would make Yorkshiremen of us all."

His autobiographical novel The Exquisite Burden (1935, reissued 1963) was described by his anonymous Wisden obituarist as "brilliant". It was based on his own Yorkshire childhood.

Thomson was awarded an MBE for services to sports writing in 1966.[2]


Titles and dates confirmed with the British Library Catalogue


  • Cricket My Pleasure (1953)
  • Cricket My Happiness (1954)
  • Pavilioned in Splendour (1956)
  • The Great Cricketer (a biography of Dr. W. G. Grace) (1957 and 1968)
  • Odd Men In: A Gallery of Cricket Eccentrics (1958)
  • Hirst and Rhodes (1959)
  • Cricket Bouquet (1961)
  • Cricket: The Golden Ages (1961)
  • Hutton and Washbrook (1963)
  • When I was a Lad (1964)
  • Cricket: The Great Captains (1965)
  • Cricket: The Wars of the Roses (1967 and 1968)
  • Cricketers of My Times (1967)
  • Vintage Elevens (1969, completed by Denzil Batchelor)

Other non-fiction

  • Cheero! The Army of Today (1917)
  • Let's See the Lowlands (1930)
  • Let's See the Highlands (1931)
  • The Burns We Love (1931)
  • The Breezy Coast. Berwick to John o'Groats (1932)
  • Borders of Enchantment (1933)
  • Out of Town (1935)
  • Written Humour (1936)
  • Strolling Commentaries (1938)
  • What a Picture! (1939)
  • Highland Welcome (1951)
  • Great Men of Kent (1955)
  • Rugger My Pleasure (1955)
  • Lugard in Africa (1959)
  • Anatomy of Laughter (1966)


  • The Records of Reggie (1924)
  • Bumbledinky (1925)
  • Sweet Cicely (1926)
  • Meet Mr. Huckabee! (1926)
  • The Exploits of Piccolo (1927)
  • Marigold Cottage (1927)
  • Steeple Thatchby (1928)
  • Trust Tilty (1928)
  • O, Petrina (1929)
  • Dorinda, Darling! (1930)
  • According to Alfie (1930)
  • The Happy Windmill (1930)
  • The Lilac Maid (1931)
  • Fay of the Ring. A circus story (1932)
  • Heart's Content (1933)
  • The Exquisite Burden (1935, reissued 1963)
  • Bijou Merle (1936)
  • Reggie Goes Rural (1937)
  • Listener's Licence (1938)
  • Cottage Loaf (1944)
  • Burning Gold (with Falkland L. Cary, c. 1946)
  • Murder at the Ministry (1947, with Falkland L. Cary)
  • Ladysfingers (1947)
  • Bed of Rose's (1949)
  • But Once a Year (1951)
  • Spanish Chariot (1953)


  • Out of Town, etc. (1935)


  1. Cricketers of My Times, Stanley Paul, 1967, p. 11.
  2. Cricketers of My Times, inside back flap of dust jacket.
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