National Badminton Museum has recently acquired a 1840s battledore shuttlecock.
Photos: – Geoff Hinder. Click on images to enlarge
The battledore shuttlecock has a brown velvet base with a wool trim and 31 goose feathers. It has a diameter 110 mm x 130 mm high, which is about twice as big as a modern shuttle. The shuttlecock weighs 49.43 grams, which is about 10 times heavier than a modern shuttle. In the inside of the base it is stamped ‘PLOMBE’, we believe the shuttlecock was made in France.
The game of ‘battledore and shuttlecock’ dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The roots of the game have been reported to go back to ancient times in China and other Asian countries. The game was played with rackets, battledores and even wooden paddles. ‘Battledore and shuttlecock ‘was played without a net and without the boundary lines of a court. If a single player played, they would hit the shuttle in the air counting the number of times they could do this without it falling on the floor. If two or more players played they would hit the shuttlecock back and forth to each other, it was usually a cooperative rather than a competitive game, the players purposely hit the shuttlecock towards rather than away from each other, their goal was to have as long a rally as possible keeping the shuttlecock up in the air and counting the number of consecutive successful strokes in each rally. The present-day game of badminton developed from this much older game of ‘battledore and shuttlecock’. Badminton was being played in at least 1863 and maybe a few years before that.
This shuttlecock and many more can be seen at the National Badminton Museum, National Badminton Centre, Bradwell Road, Loughton Lodge, MILTON KEYNES MK8 9LA
Visitors are welcome to look around the Museum unescorted at any time – the National Badminton Centre is normally open 9am to 8pm every day.
National Badminton Centre
For more information and to book a room go to: – Badminton England website – https://www.badmintonengland.co.uk – National Badminton Centre – National Badminton Centre Hotel.
Shuttle display case at the National Badminton Museum, Milton Keynes.