Albert David Prebble was born in London on October 22nd 1873. He was educated at King’s College, London where he was in the Cricket XI and very prominent in the athletic sports. After leaving college most of his leisure time was devoted to lawn tennis, and it was not until 1901/2 that he first played badminton at Crystal Palace, and by 1903 he was recognised as a very fine player. He was also a member of the Logan Club for many years.
He made a close study of the tactics of the game, and his rise to fame was very rapid. He was selected to captain England against Ireland in Dublin in February 1903, the first international ever played. He was a regular choice for England, but unable to play in 1907 and 1909 and retired from competitive play in 1911 having appeared for England on five occasions. During his ten years of serious competition, he won the All England men’s doubles in 1904, 1907 and 1909 each time with a different partner and also won the mixed doubles in 1909. The 1907 men’s doubles final was a memorial match owing to the fact that it was commenced so late that it had to be stopped due to failing light, and was replayed the next morning. Business commitments prevented Mr Prebble from doing himself justice during his last year of competitive play.
Albert Prebble was also very involved in the administration of badminton, being first elected to the committee of the Badminton Association in 1903, serving continuously for 43 years. He acted as Hon Secretary of the All England Championships on three occasions doing much to increase the prestige of this tournament during its early years. He was also honorary referee at many other tournaments.
Later Albert Prebble was chairman of the committee of the Badminton Association of England taking the chair upon the inauguration of the International Badminton Federation in 1934.
For 25 years he was a Vice President of Kent, but his only appearance in a county match was representing Surrey. In 1903 and 1904 Surrey played Hampshire and qualifications were not clearly defined – excusable as no regulations had been drawn up and neither county had formed a county association.
In Lawn Tennis he also was also highly respected reaching the final of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon on four occasions. He represented England versus Ireland and was a member of the English teams which toured South Africa and Russia. He played many times for London v Paris. He was also involved in the administration of Lawn Tennis, being honorary secretary of Kent for 21 years. He was captain of the British Davis Cup team six times.
He was a very successful stockbroker and well respected in a wide field of activities.
In 1909 he won the mixed doubles at the All England Badminton Championships with Miss Dora Boothby and the same pair won the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis mixed doubles within four months, but sadly the tennis achievement does not feature in the record books as the latter title was then the prerogative of the Northern Association.
His interest in the development of the game continued even during the period of his long illness which culminated in his death in a nursing home at Eastbourne on August 27th 1946.
References – Badminton Gazette December 1910, Badminton Gazette, November 1946