Mrs Barrett

Mrs Marjorie Barrett, born  Lucy Marjory East, started playing badminton as she left school in the village of Shaldon in Devon where Muriel Lucas, one of the greatest players in her time, was a member. When she moved to London she joined a small club that played in the North Tower of the Crystal Palace, and later became a member of the Crystal Palace Club.

The first tournament she ever played in was the Handicap Ladies’ Doubles in the 1908 All England Championships held at Bunhill Row, when playing with her sister in law, Miss Lyon, they managed to defeat Miss Lucas and her partner in  the final.

Mrs BarrettShe won her first Open Tournaments in 1913 when she won the Ladies’ Singles in the South of England, West Hants and Surrey County.   Her career was then interrupted by the war. 

In February 1915 she married Frederick Gamble Barrett in Forest Hill, Lewisham.

In 1921 she won the Surrey Championships, Middlesex Championships, North London Championships and playing with Kitty McKane won the Ladies’ Doubles in the Irish Championships. 

At the All England Championships 1922 she played Kitty McKane in the final of the Ladies’ Singles losing a match of great excitement after leading 10-3 in the final set.

The Badminton Gazette tells us that she was left handed, excelling at singles, very quick and active, a good all round player, smashing, dropping and clearing with equal skill. She had a particularly good style, looks most attractive on the court and moves exceedingly gracefully. She moves so noiselessly one is almost apt to think she has not moved at all, and yet she is one of the most active of players and wherever the elusive shuttle is to be found Mrs Barrett will be in exactly the right spot to take it with the greatest effect.

Mrs Barrett played for England 12 times between 1921 and 1932. She was winner of the Ladies' Singles at the All England Championships 5 times, winning the trophy outright in 1930. She won the Ladies’ Doubles 4 times, winning that trophy outright in 1930 with Miss V. Elton. In 1939 when she had practically retired, she replaced Mrs Uber who was injured in the ladies' doubles and she and Miss Doveton twice came within a point of winning the title which eventually went to Denmark.

The Badminton Gazette of March 1928 notes that Mrs Barrett must have achieved something like a record playing in the Irish ladies’ singles – she played in four matches, and the total points scored against her only amounted to five, or just over one point for each opponent defeated.    Even though none of her opponents could claim to be anything like as expert as Mrs Barrett at the game, such an extraordinary feat clearly indicates her accuracy and steadiness.

Frederick Gamble died in 1932.  On August 27th 1949 she married Percy Macfarlane, also a well known badminton player, and together they had represented Kent for a period of 15 years. He first represented England in 1924 and played 8 times up until 1929.

Mrs Barrett was also a very successful tennis player, representing Kent.

She died in 1968, aged 79 in Newton Abbott.