In 1893 Major S.S. Dolby, Hon Secretary of the Southsea Badminton Club, wrote to all known badminton clubs, and also put a notice in 'The Field', that "A meeting is to be held at Dunbar, Waverley Grove, Southsea near Portsmouth at 2:00pm on September 13th, 1893 for the purpose of forming a Badminton Association". The meeting duly framed and approved rules both for the Association and for the game. Thus the Badminton Association (of England) was founded.
It was therefore appropriate that badminton was a popular sport in the city and surrounding district in the future decades. In 1956-1957 the Portsmouth and District Badminton Society produced a Handbook of Fixtures and Rules costing an incredible 'old sixpence'. Over the period from 1956-1995 over 85 Clubs took part in the leagues. The list includes Clubs from the Services, Further Education and Schools, Churches, Community Centres, Industrial Companies, Finance Institutions and even I.O.W. teams. At the same time there was a strong Churches Section running with three leagues. For a number of years the P.B.A., H.B.A., and the Churches Leagues operated alongside each other and it was not uncommon for players to be involved in at least two if not all three Leagues.
There were 30 Clubs involved in different seasons in 1956/57 rising to 45 in 1965 but the number had diminished to 32 in 1992/3 and eventually with smaller numbers Portsmouth B.A. merged with Havant B.A. in 1995, forming the PHBA.
The merger took place in 1995 thus becoming the Portsmouth and Havant Badminton Association (PHBA) comprising 14 clubs in 2005.
There are many reasons for the collapse of so many Clubs. Companies no longer provided the facilities or finances for the running of an expensive social event for their employees. The Services were often posted away or war intervened and teams were not available. At one stage schools were closed in the evenings until the growth of sports halls provided a more efficient way of spending time as opposed to a church hall with one court for two hours. Thus clubs moved away from the single court halls to the new leisure centres and sports halls. Although there are now less clubs they have become larger with more members to enable them to pay the court fees that were once negligible or possibly amounted to donations to the church and smaller halls. Some players moved away from the club 'pegboard' and hired a sports hall court for four of them to play for an hour. The greater use of feathered shuttles added to the costs. There has been a greater choice of alternative sports for youngsters in recent years. Inactivity and changing interests could be other reasons for dwindling numbers in badminton.
At present there are at least four very active Junior Coaching Sessions in the area providing young players for the future; these are listed on the PHBA web site, under 'Coaching'.
Starting a 'Combo' (4 pairs) match at 6.30pm at a Church (now demolished) on one court and completing the last game at 12.40am. One player's wife had called the police to check if there had been an accident before he eventually arrived home at 1.00am.
Playing at Bedhampton Methodist Church where the back line of the court was 18"(45cm) up the stage front.
Avoiding crashing into the grand piano encroaching over the corner of the court at Drayton Methodist's hall.
A player had to be careful retrieving the shuttle with a pillar encroaching onto the corner service line in a Fareham Hall.
Deverell Hall in Waterlooville with its ultra low wooden beams, the home side had definitely mastered the occasional High Service through the timbers. There were more lets than with Right Move and the usual late finish.
The docking of 2 points for a match card arriving 18 hours late in the Portsmouth League - lesson learned.
Security measures at both the Royal Dockyard and Swanwick Air Traffic Control where teams had to arrive together on time to be allowed to enter the establishment.
Playing Tudor Crescent BC in a match with 50% lights during a nationwide reduction in electricity at the CGB Centre in Cosham.
Playing at the Dockyard in the old double rope-making shop or 'gym' built in 1771 with undulating floors after years of wear.
The Churches League was by far the best for hospitality with tea, sandwiches, sausage rolls, cakes and flapjacks being the norm!
Any additions to the above gratefully welcomed.
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