Last Updated on 27 May 2020
When winters were cold enough Wimbledon Skating Club used frozen ponds on Wimbledon Common and Putney Heath and also Wimbledon Park lake. Revd Dr Edward Huntingford (1820 –1905), headmaster of Eagle House School, founded the Club in 1871 and was its first President. Merged with the London Skating Club in 1929, it became The Skating Club, Wimbledon and, in 1932, The Royal Skating Club. Today at its home at Guildford Spectrum it still practices the ‘English Style’ of figure skating.
Thanks to a generous donation by Margaret Smart, the Museum purchased a rare Wimbledon Skating Club member’s badge, now on display with a postcard informing members about skating conditions given by Nicole Spain. The silver badge’s design and ‘1871’ date suggest that it is an original membership badge, described as a ‘silver medal’ by Monier Williams, Pidgeon & Dryden in Figure Skating Simple and Combined, 1892.
We also acquired a small collection of photographs and a monocle that once belonged to Brandon Thomas (1848 –1914), an actor, director and playwright, best known for his play Charley’s Aunt. These eventually passed to his son Jervan (1898 – 1977) also an actor, director and playwright, who spent his later years living in Wimbledon, and finally to Patricia Finch who kindly gave them to us. Charley’s Aunt from 1912 and, later, Jervan Brandon-Thomas feature in Wimbledon Theatre programmes in our Collections.
Brandon Thomas used two monocles, one or the other worn all the time, even when swimming. Charley’s Aunt was hugely successful, breaking all records at the time, and famous around the world. A quirky character, Thomas is subject of an engaging biography, Charley’s Aunt’s Father, by his son Jervan.
More about these objects can be discovered in the Museum.
Written by Pamela Greenwood