November 1909

J H E Hart

Mr J H E Hart

By looking back at the magazines produced 100 years ago, we can obtain a good idea of what was happening as the game developed, but this month we have a bonus. An article by J.H.E. Hart recounting his past 35 years playing badminton, many in India adds details of how the game was progressing even earlier.

He explains the importance of the impetus given by Anglo-Indians, and elaborates on the progress of the game in Western India. The game was probably introduced into India very early in the 1870’s and Mr Hart was involved in Karachi in 1874, where rules of play and dimensions of the court had been obtained from Satara.  He relates that the peculiar shape of the courts (hour glass) was due to the position of the entrance doors rendering necessary a recess at the centre of each side line. The buildings were disused military barracks with width restricted to 22 ft, which probably decided the breadth (20 ft) of our present courts.   No rules had been printed, but in 1874 Colonel Selby edited and had them printed in Poona. Mr Hart had another edition printed in 1887, which was again revised by Mr Hart and Mr Bagnel-Wild. in 1890.  

Mr Hart relates that vellum-covered bats from England, similar to those used in Battledore and Shuttlecock were used in India, but the vellum broke and Mr Hart introduced raw kid hide as an improvement. A Parsi firm (Messrs. Gamsetj and Sons of Sealkot) produced a gut-strung racquet the forerunner of today’s racquets.

This fascinating article continues to explain the name ‘Tom-fool’s game’ and the problems associated with getting consistent shuttles.

Mr Hart returned to England in 1887 noting that the game had been re-introduced at Bath and elsewhere, and noting that the first inter-club he knew of was between Bath and Southsea. He reflects on his 35 years of play and enjoyment achieved, and the magazine emphasises the importance of Mr Hart’s influence on our game.

The first article in the magazine considers the need for county matches, and suggests that to date only 3 or 4 matches have been played between Hampshire and Surrey several seasons ago

The first international between Scotland and Ireland is announced and will be played during the All England.

The Badminton Association have announced that straight pattern shuttlecocks will be used for the All England, but there has been no decision on particular make.

An article by Mr T.L. Adam reports on the rapid development of Scottish badminton but the Irish correspondent has little to report. A photograph and short article on Mr Walter Carey from the Liverpool club describes him as one of the finest players in the north.

Most of the adverts are repeats from last month, and Ayres announce that their Hydera Bat now has eyelets in the frame preventing rubbing of gut on wood extending the life of strings. F.A.Davis announce that their Spartan racket has a cane insertion giving lightness and strength. Gamages are advertising Worsted Badminton Balls for 6/6d per dozen.