England tour of South Africa 1948

South africa tourNew acquisition in the museum is a scrapbook put together by Queenie Allen covering the tour of South Africa by an England team in 1948. Included are telegrams, photographs, newspaper cuttings, programmes and other memorabilia. The English team consisted of Betty Uber, Queenie Allen, H J Wingfield, Noel Radford and Warwick Shute.

The album became available on the Sportbilia auction website and we were successful in our bid over two other bidders. The album has obviously been put away and neglected for some time, but has now found a good home., We are very grateful to the Sportbilia team who drew our attention to the item. It is an excellent record of the tour for a very successful English team, now available to all through the museum. It is hoped that this item will be one of the items on view at the next Open Day, September 11th, 2010.

The tour was well covered in the Badminton Gazette and the tour was eventful for many reasons. A planned 36 hour flight was altered and was replaced by a four day flight, but engine problems caused delays and a freight plane to Johannesburg was used to complete the journey – the only cargo was a corpse, but there was room for the England team. The England team soon found that playing conditions were very different , 75 speed shuttlecocks being over a yard fast, and all the England players were breathing heavily.   The first match gainst Transvaal was lost 3-4, but all following matches were won comfortably except one test which was won by England 4-3. Strongest opposition came from June Wheating who had moved to South Africa from Bedfordshire earlier.

The first South African Championships took place during the tour and England team won four of the titles.