London Badminton Championships

At the recent National Badminton Museum Open Day, we were delighted to receive five trophies relating to the London Championships run by the London Badminton League until 1974 when it was discontinued. 

London ChampsHerbert Scheele recorded in 1963  -  The London Championships is one of the oldest Tournaments in Badminton although it has had a rather checkered history.  It was started in a new two-court hall in North Kensington in 1909-10 with but two events, only one being a championship event, but after two meetings the tournament was abandoned. It was revived in 1913-14 by the Logan B.C. which had two excellent courts near Earl’s Court and was maintained there (except for the war years) until 1939. Thereafter it was one of the most important of the season’s events; this is supported by the list of champions, shown in this programme, which contains practically all the best known names of the inter-war period. The Logan B.C. was forced to close after the last war due to the loss of premises; the tournament lapsed until 1952 when it was revived by the London Badminton League and held for the next ten years at the Ebbisham B.C., Epsom. Last season a further move occurred with the transfer to the excellent courts at Wimbledon, thus returning to the London Area.

Fifty and sixty years ago there were very few tournaments held at all; the game was still fairly young in its competitive aspect, and most of the organised play, enjoyed by even the leading players was that provided by inter-club matches. There was, however, a considerable demand for competitive play, there were indeed a few prominent personalities of the day who went so far as to represent two or even three leading clubs as often as possible. Indeed, one well known and very lovable character was even on the committee of three clubs and no doubt saw to it – he was for years match secretary of one – that there as little clashing of fixtures as possible. He wanted all the matches he could get!

 After the above article was written we find that from 1964-1970 the venue was the National Sports Centre, in 1971 Cazenove B.C. and from 1972 to 1974 Redbridge Sports Centre. Following the winding up of the League these cups were passed to the Wimbledon Squash and B.C. for safe keeping in 1992, and as they have never been used again they have now been passed to the National Badminton Museum.

Also received was a list of winners, and the first mixed doubles winners instituted in 1909/10 were F.Chesterton and Miss M. Larminie (Mrs Tragett); Men’s Doubles and Ladies’ Doubles were instituted in 1913/14 the first winners being Sir George Thomas and A.F. Engelbach and Mrs Tragett and Miss Hogarth. Men’s Singles were included in 1919/20 with Sir George Thomas the first Champion, Ladies Singles followed in 1920/21 with Miss K. McKane the first champion.   Most of the best players of that era were there!

The National Badminton Museum would like to record their thanks to Graham Habbin, Friend of the National Badminton Museum for making arrangements for the trophies to be passed to the museum, and his extensive research on the event recorded here.