Educated at Whalley and Clitheroe Grammar Schools, he finished his education in Germany.
He was a member of the Dewhurst family that numbered amongst the founders of the Clitheroe Cricket Club. He played for Clitheroe until the mid 1880s, but had by that time moved to Lytham, where he was a prominent member of the Lytham Club and captain for some time.
The Dewhurst family business was that of mill furnishers and Robert travelled for them for many years. In later years he became a prominent member of the Manchester Stock Exchange commuting into Manchester from Lytham on the Blackpool breakfast train.
At the end of June 1870, at the age of 19, he played for the Gentlemen of Lancashire against the Gentlemen of Yorkshire at Old Trafford, batting at sixth wicket down and scoring 59. Later that year he also played at Warwick against the Gentlemen of Warwickshire, as he did in 1871 and 1873.
A slightly built man, he was 5ft. 8 inches tall and weighed under ten stone. A middle order right-hand batsman and, at club level, a useful right-arm medium paced round or under-arm bowler, and a good field in the deep.
At the end of May 1872 he played for Lancashire against Yorkshire at Old Trafford, scoring 24 and 24. He played regularly for the next three years and on 5th and 6th July 1875, playing against Derbyshire at Derby made his highest first-class score, 59.
At the time of the 1881 Census he was living at Little Moor Hall, Clitheroe, with his father Robert, aged 67, born Whalley, a cotton manufacturer employing 850 hands, and his mother Margaret, aged 73, born at Chatburn. Their unmarried daughter Alice Anne, aged 30, born at Chatburn is also present. Robert junior, aged 29, born Clitheroe, a china merchant, and his wife Kate, aged 25, born Preston, have a daughter Cecil N., aged 4 and a son Reginald, aged 1, both born at Eccles. There are four domestic servants.
He was living at 33 Cleveland Road, Lytham, when on Monday 13th October 1924, he was found in the first-class compartment of the 9.35 am train from Lytham at Blackpool Central station, having collapsed from heart failure, and had died before he reached the Victoria Hospital. The train had come from Manchester, having originated from Blackpool earlier in the morning, stopping at Lytham. It was conjectured at the time that he might have done the round trip, but he was said to be alive when the train arrived back at Blackpool.
(Article: Copyright © 2004 Don Ambrose)
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