The first record of Table Badminton that we can trace appeared in the Lawn Tennis and Badminton magazine, in March 1901 – “Whiff Whaff or Table Badminton is to appear shortly. That the game will prove immensely popular there is not the slightest doubt, indeed, considering what an excellent game table tennis is, it is surprising Badminton has not been adapted to the table before now” How wrong they were to be.
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It was in the 1930s that this new game was being advertised in the Badminton Gazette as something to do while you wait to get on the court. In 1935 a book was produced by E.E.Natali with foreword by Jack Hobbs the well-known cricketer who was later knighted. We found inside our copy of this book a letter from St James’s Palace addressed to Mr. Natali, dated October 15 1935, and signed by the Assistant Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, thanking him for sending a handbook on Table Badminton and recording that his Royal Highness was interested in the game which he thinks should be a good one.
The National Badminton Museum has two sets of the game in their collection of memorabilia, one in a cardboard box, labeled, Arena Table Badminton, Empire Model, 25 shillings (£1.25p) containing two racquets, two net posts, net and marking tape, shuttles and a book of laws. The second Table Badminton set is boxed in a leatherette traveling case with the same contents, but the racquets are of better quality, described as Arena Table Badminton priced at 45 shillings (£2.25p).
Table Badminton shuttlecocks have 10 to 12 feathers with a 2.5ins (6.5cm) feather spread and a height of 2.25ins (5.7cm ), they are roughly half the size and weight of a modern badminton shuttle.
One of the major problems with the development of the game was being able to produce a shuttlecock that could be hit hard and did not fly out of bounds.
The table or playing surface would have been 2ft. 6ins (0.76m) above the floor with a playing surface of 5ft. (1.5m) x 9ft. (2.7m). The net was 6ins. (15cm) in depth and the top of the net was 13.5ins. (34cm ) above the playing surface. Table Badminton racquets would not have exceeded 22ins. (56cm) in length, with a circular head of 7.5ins. (19cm) in diameter. The Table Badminton racquet is slightly smaller than a badminton racket. Games were played to 21 points, with the service changing sides every five points.
Table badminton racquet with a modern badminton racket.
The Arena Table Badminton sets were advertised in the Badminton Gazette from November 1935 to April 1937.
Table Badminton sets were manufactured under license from Table Badminton Ltd. by British Music & Tennis Strings Ltd. London.
A small piece of badminton history that was expected to take off and flourish, but in fact came and went very quickly.
Photos: – Geoff Hinder Click on images to enlarge
Visit 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.
1899 – 2024
125th Anniversary Championships
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Tuesday 12 March to Sunday 17 March 2024
Utilita Arena, Birmingham.
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