Sir John Frederick Neville Cardus, CBE was an English writer and critic. He became The Manchester Guardian’s cricket correspondent in 1919 and its chief music critic in 1927. His approach to cricket writing was innovative, turning what had previously been largely a factual form into vivid description and criticism.
About Neville Cardus in brief
Sir John Frederick Neville Cardus, CBE was an English writer and critic. He became The Manchester Guardian’s cricket correspondent in 1919 and its chief music critic in 1927, holding the two posts simultaneously until 1940. His approach to cricket writing was innovative, turning what had previously been largely a factual form into vivid description and criticism. Although he achieved his largest readership for his cricket reports and books, he considered music criticism as his principal vocation. Cardus’s work was publicly recognised by his appointment as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1964 and the award of a knighthood in 1967. In his last years, he became a guru and inspirational figure to aspiring young writers. There has been confusion over his birth date. The birthdate of 2 April 1888 is as given on his baptism record; and it is 2 April when he celebrated his birthday, albeit believing that he was born in 1889. Some sources give the birthdate as 2 April 1889, Neville’s mother was Ada Cardus. On 14 July 1888, when the baby was three months old, Ada married Neville’s father, John Frederick Newsham, a blacksmith. His autobiographical works refer to his father as a violinist in an orchestra, but there is no other evidence for this. The family took in neighbours’ washing, and the household income was further supplemented by his daughters’ earnings from part-time prostitution. It is unclear whether he attended formal schooling, but he described his home environment at Summer Place as “sordid..
unlettered and unbeautiful”. His grandson Robert Cardus was instrumental in awakening his grandson’s literary interests, though he was not illiterate and attended only five years of school. There is no doubt, however, that he showed the sign of freedom of the will and caned the basic tuition and methods of basic school. He was born on 2 April 1988 in Rusholme, Manchester. His birth certificate shows a birth date of 3 April 1888, but this has been argued to be incorrect, since the date of registration of 15 May 1888 would have breached the requirement to register a birth in no more than 42 days. His father left by boat for America, with the intention that Ada followed. Four days after the wedding, Ada changed her mind and went to live with Eliahoo Joseph, a Turkish merchant and possibly a pimp, with Ada a prostitute. It was said that within a few years Ada and Neville had returned to her parents’ home in Summer Place. A search of police archives found no trace of this, although Neville referred to him as receiving a small pension, although a search ofPolice archives foundNo trace of his father was a retired policeman, although he referred to himself as a retired police officer. He continued to write on cricket, and produced books on both his specialisms. He spent the Second World War years in Australia, where he wrote for The Sydney Morning Herald and gave regular radio talks. He also wrote books on music, and completed his autobiography.