Sports in London

Looking into sports in Victorian London shows some incite into how society as a whole was changing. It appeared many sports took place as part of clubs or competitions for various sports such as pigeon shooting were hosted by clubs. Often times, these clubs were almost like private societies, which sometimes only the wealthy could afford to be a part of. “Pigeon-shooting matches at the gun clubs in different parts of London were at one time fertile sources of protest from the humane” (Sims). This shows two aspects of London sports. Both the aspect that to play some had to be members of some sort of club and the aspect of some sports being very violent show an animalistic desire in some members of Victorian society. Private clubs for sports such as golf or shooting give birth to the idea of the modern country club, where members can go to play sports privately without the bothers of those who cannot afford a membership to such a club. Looking at the list of golf clubs and courses, some appear to be open to the public as long as they can afford it. Still, some make note of requirements such as having a “member’s introduction” (Dickens Jr. et. al). The popularity of activities such as hunting, shooting and wrestling also show a more disgruntled attitude during the Victorian age. Still aspects of this seem similar to how they are perceived today. Golf is still seen as a sport for the wealthy who can afford to play it in a private club format. Even wrestling is very similar to how it is today, although professional wrestling of London appears to be much less staged than it is today. Wrestling is described as “much-advertised champions meet on stage and wrestle in various styles-the Graeco-Roman, catch-as-catch-can, etc.-as part of the performance” (Sims). This sounds awfully similar to WWE matches where contestants will have cage-matches or tag team matches, but there is no mention of wrestling being seen more as a form of theatre, which it is today. Some sports show exclusivity, some show a rougher nature of the people and some show both aspects.


Works Cited


Dickens Jr., Charles. “Victorian London – Entertainment and Recreation – Sport – Golf.” Victorian London – Entertainment and Recreation – Sport – Golf. Dictionary of Victorian London, 1908. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.

Sims, George R. “Victorian London – Entertainment and Recreation – Sport – ‘Some London Contests'” Victorian London – Entertainment and Recreation – Sport – ‘Some London Contests’ Dictionary of Victorian London, 1902. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.

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