Torbay has a rich history of competitive badminton stretching back at least to the 1890’s when players from Torbay were instrumental in the formation of what is now Badminton England. Two local players were elected onto the very first committee that helped form England’s first badminton association; Mr A Southey (Teignmouth) and Mr C E Robinson (Torquay).
Once ‘The Badminton Association’ was established our local clubs such as Torquay, Paignton and Teignmouth were among the first to become members and move the association forward.
It should not be surprising then that the four finalists in the first ever All England Women’s Doubles Final played in 1899, came from Devon. The winners were Muriel Lucas and Miss Graeme (Teignmouth Badminton Club). The unlucky losers were Ethel Warneford Thomson and Miss I Theobald (Budleigh Salterton Badminton Club). Ethel Warneford is also a former Wimbledon Tennis Champion.
Another influential figure in the early rise of the game was G.W. Vidal (Torrington). His influence helped carry badminton from an amatuer to professional status. International matches, the first purpose built venues and modern laws of the game are all influenced by Vidal. You can read a full article on G.W. Vidal here.
If you have any history relating to the formation of the Torbay District Badminton Association, or have any historical records for the league, please contact us and let us know, we would love to hear from you.