Originally badminton was played both indoors and outdoors but it was known under a different name, however, in the early days of West Park Pavilion, then known as the “tin hut” or “tin house”, because it was constructed of corrugated iron, badminton was played with great enthusiasm on three courts brilliantly lit with gas light. It is reported that players found the game a great challenge because to play it well required skill, resource and a great deal of stamina.
There were two major clubs, and each year members played for the President’s cup given by such members as Messrs Sharp, Peel-Yates, Le Masurier and Gilson. Among the personalities then playing were Captain and Mrs Bolton, Miss Falle, Doctor Champion, Miss Fowler, Mrs Pogson, Miss Olive Corbel (who later became Mrs Labey), Mrs H Amy, Miss B Ashpitel and Mr Ashpitel, Miss S and Miss R Le Maistre and the twins Dallain.
In around 1930 they moved to the Plaza Ballroom on condition that they played on over-carpet (drugget) and they stayed at this location for approximately four years during which the number of clubs increased and the Wellington Badminton Club was formed which also had a large bridge section. During this short period the only inter-island match played was known as the Inter-Olympiad which was played on one court only.
It was around this time that a certain MR E H Gilson thought that badminton should have a home of its own and in 1934 a purpose built badminton hall was opened in Roussel Street, St Helier with three courts, changing rooms, a kitchen and tea room. At the time of the opening there were four clubs, known as The Caesarean, The Wellington, The Jersey and The Sunday Badminton Clubs.
At the same time Mr Gilson, who was then President of the Jersey Badminton Association, had discussions with a Mr Laine, President of the Guernsey Badminton Association which lead to the annual inter-insular match between the to Islands being played for the Gilson Cup. Invariably, in the early days it was won by the host Island.
It is believed that the first inter-club league was established in 1936.
The Association also had an Annual Open Tournament which it still holds today but in those days very few visitors competed other than those from Guernsey. However, in 1938 Mr Basil Jones, a former Welsh international undertook a season coaching in the Island and he brought over a Mr K G Livingstone, an English international who won the men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles titles. Since those early days several international players have competed and won titles in the Jersey Open.
In those days we are told that the local personalities were Misses Le Maistre, Messrs P Padgett, J R Arthur, H Arthur, F Corbel, Mrs Labey, Mrs Amy, Mrs S Hole, Mrs Boalch, Miss Ashpitel, Miss D Holmes and Messers R Percival, Robinson, R Arthur and a certain Mr H T O Day, the Associations Secretary whilst at the Plaza and Rousell Street up until 1934/35, whose bedroom we are led to believe always resembled a badminton racket repair shop!
In June 1940 the hall was closed for the duration of the Occupation and the official papers were handed over to the president.
However, in 1946 the secretary, with the assistance of Mr Gilson, well and truly got badminton going again with a full team of internationals providing an outstanding exhibition. This was followed by a team from the United Banks (UK) visiting the Island and every year since then English and Overseas players have visited.
In 1947 a second inter-insular match with Guernsey was first played between the Islands second teams and Mr K G Livingstone presented a perpetual shield known as The RSL Shield on behalf of Reinforced Shuttlecocks Limited. Other inter club matches between Jersey and Guernsey clubs were also played.
Jersey and Guernsey still compete, on an annual basis, to this day for The Gilson Cup and The RSL Shield.
Over the years the sport, in Jersey, has developed and there have been many personalities along the way, far too many to mention and the local leagues, inter-insular matches and tournaments still continue to the current time.
However, there have also been numerous additions to what is now a very comprehensive diary of events in the Associations annual calendar, events for both Juniors and Seniors of all ability.
At the beginning of the 1988/89 season Jersey started competing in the National Inter County Championships and over the years this has proved to be a vital element in the development of the sport in Jersey. It has provided many players with the opportunity of regular competition against overseas players. Another great opportunity for local players arose in 1985 with the first ever Island Games were held in the Isle of Man. Since then Jersey have competed at every Island Games, which are held every two years, with the exception of Rhodes in 2007 when badminton was excluded. The Association has enjoyed enormous success and again many players have experienced the opportunity of playing against overseas players and indeed travelling to many different Islands. In 1998 Jersey sent players to the Commonwealth Games for the first time and the Island has since been represented at each Commonwealth Games held since.
The start of the 1994/95 season heralded a significant turning point in the history of the Association as it moved to a new purpose built 5 court facility at La Pouqelaye, St Helier. The superb hall was funded jointly by the Association and the States Of Jersey and would not have been possible if it were not for the earlier generosity of Mr Gilson, so many years earlier.
Today the Association continues to strive to develop and promote the sport of badminton Jersey. There are many events and competitions held throughout the season, including those established a long tome ago, such as The Jersey Open, The Gilson Cup and The RSL Shield.
The Association is extremely proud, in recent years, to have produced a number of Junior English National Champions, Junior English Internationals, Senior English Internationals and a Senior English National Champion!!!