Police were today still investigating the cause of a blaze that ripped through a popular cricket club wiping out more than 155 years of history.

Fire broke out in the pavilion used by Hampton Hill Cricket Club (HHCC), Bushy Park, just before 3.13am on Saturday.

Much of the 55-year-old pavilion was destroyed in the blaze, which police suspect was started deliberately. The remainder of the building was demolished on Saturday afternoon for safety reasons, a Royal Parks spokeswoman said.

Club chairman David Mackinney spoke of his utter devastation and said some of the memorabilia lost was irreplaceable.

Mr Mackinney, who has launched an appeal to raise funds to rebuild the club, said: “It is really quite devastating.

“Saturday was spent rushing around but it’s starting to sink in now.

“We can rebuild the pavilion - it’s just bricks and mortar - but there are a lot of memories lost.”

Although no one was hurt in the fire, irreplaceable photos dating back to the 1920s, scorebooks and about 30 trophies housed in the pavilion were destroyed. Pictures of members celebrating the club’s 150th anniversary at Lords were also lost.

Jill Coates, whose husband was a former president of HHCC until 2008, said the building, which underwent a £70,000 refurbishment five years ago, had not only been a clubhouse for the players but a place for families to gather.

She said: “Regularly at the weekend you’d have two or three generations of the same family down at the club watching their sons or grandsons play.

“On Saturday morning a whole load of us went down.

“There were grown men crying.”

General manager Ian Taylor, who helped with the renovation, said: “We put in new windows, recarpeted it throughout and rewired it.

“It’s going to take quite a long time to build a new one.”

Mr Taylor said he believed the club would struggle to build a new clubhouse in time for the new cricket season in April.

But he said they had been inundated with help from the community and have been offered space in the Hampton Hill Playhouse for their upcoming annual general meeting.

Mr Mackinney said: “The community have been very good.

“Everyone seems to be running around to help us.”

A Twickenham police spokeswoman confirmed the fire was being treated as suspicious after a pile of smouldering newspapers was found in the doorway by firefighters, who found signs of forced entry into the building. She said a second fire had been started in front of a park bench near to the clubhouse.

She said: “The fire brigade found a pile of Daily Star newspapers had been piled up in the doorway.

“It is believed this is where the fire was started.”

The spokeswoman stressed investigations into the cause of the blaze were still under way.

An appeal was launched by HHCC to help raise funds for a new clubhouse this week. To make a donation visit hamptonhill.play-cricket.com.