The History of All England Championships
From the beginning - to Thomas Cup, Uber Cup - to the All England Badminton Championships
Who really invented the game badminton nobody knows. Through time a lot of people have been giving their opinion.
Originally the sport was performed outside and the Duke Beaufort more or less is synonymous with badminton 'just' for the fact that he owned a great house - Badminton House - in the village Badminton, in Glouschester county. Beaufort was to entertain officers on leave fro India and one day when it was raining - he moved the game inside the house, to the hall.
A grandchild of Beaufort expresses it this way. He is convinced that his family developed the sport of badminton the way it is known today! In Guiness book of badminton (by Pat Davis), p. 8 he says:
At first, their aim was to keep the shuttlecock in the air for as long as possible, but the rules became more and more sophisticated as their skills grew, and eventually between them they had invented the game of badminton".
1873 or 1879 - it doesn't really matter! Fact is the rules were written down and revised twice - first in 1887, then in 1890. It is also a fact that these rules are the basis of the rules used today. The clubs, especially those formed in southern England, at the end of the 19th Century each had their own interpretation of the rules. Chaos was everyday life and in 1883 at a meeting in Southsea, Hampshire, 14 of the clubs agreed to formalize the rules.
That led to the foundation of the Badminton Association of England. (BAofE).
The first badminton tournament was held in Guildford in 1898 and became a forerunner of badminton tournaments as we know them today.
After the obvious success in 1899 the game spread rapidly - primarily in the english speaking part of the world. That indirectly led to the foundation of the International Badminton Federation (IBF) in 1934.
English players dominated the sport of badminton in the first half of the 20th century but more nations started to interfere and the competition grew. In 1940 Sir George Alan Thomas came up with the idea of making a tournament for men - known as Thomas Cup. Due to the outbreak of World War II Thomas Cup was postponed to 1948.
The women wanted a similar tournament and with New Zealand as bringing the idea up and Mrs. Betty Uber donating the trophy Uber Cup took place for the first time in 1957.
All England ChampionshipsThe All England Championships are referred to as "The unofficial World Championships" and was for quite a long time considered the most prestigious of all tournaments. The tournament has been prestigious since 4 April 1899 when held for the first time and still is! In fact - for the first 3 years - from 1899-1901 the tournament was referred to as "The Open English Championships". Since 1902 the official name of the tournament changed to "The All England Championships".
For many years Wembley Arena in London was synonymous with All England Badminton Championships and you might think the tournament was always held here.
That is not the case:
Originally published as part of the All England 2000 coverage. A few outdated links has been changed/deleted here.
All England Specials: