QPR History in 125 years
The Queen’s Park Rangers story began in 1885 on a newly built residential estate in West London.
QPR was the result of an amalgamation of two local youth club teams – St. Jude’s Institute (formed in 1884) and Christchurch Rangers (formed in 1882). The merger took place in 1885.
Edward Bottle was headmaster of St Jude’s, the Droop Street board school, when the boys football club was formed by Jack McDonald and Fred Weller supported by the Reverend Gordon Young.
The Christchurch boys club team was formed by George Wodehouse, senior.
The Wodehouse family maintained their connections with Queen’s Park Rangers for more than 60 years with both George Wodehouse, senior, and his son being players and directors of the club.
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Mr Wodehouse, senior, played in a match aginst St Jude’s, and was watched by a friend, who suggested a merger between the clubs would be a good idea.
The idea became a reality a few weeks later when some of the Christchurch Rangers members joined St Jude’s.
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The new name of Queen’s Park Rangers, suggested by E.D Robertson, was chosen as the members were based in the Queen’s Park district of West London. The surviving members of the Christchurch club continued playing under the name of Paddington.
The colours adopted by QPR were Oxford and Cambridge blue halved shirts and their matches were played on a piece of ground owned by Welford’s Dairy, known as Welford’s Fields, behind the Case is Altered, public house to the south of Kensal Rise station. Rent for the ground was only �8 per annum.
Gordon Macey, the official historian for QPR, said: “In those days they were a local amateur side and they played Brondesbury, Kensal Rise and, I believe, they were at Harvist Road.”
The club’s assets were the four uprights posts and the two lengths of tape to form the crossbar. These were carried to and from the club’s headquarters on match days.
The shorts were provided by a supporter who owned riding stables in Maida Vale. All the players wore riding pants in their first match.
Then there was a move to the London Scottish ground, Brondesbury, in 1888 – for a yearly rental of �20 – and a temporary stay at Barn Elms, in Brondesbury.
Next door was the Kilburn Cricket Club in Harvist Road.
Mr Macey said: “More often than not they upset the neighbours, but another time the landlord put the rent up and the club could not afford to pay it.
“The longest stay was at the agricultural showground in Park Royal at what was originally grounds near the Guinness brewery. Most people have ended up their search with something close to Coronation Road.”
In the transition from amateur to professional status, the team played on 18 different home grounds.
Finally, the club finally turned professional in December 1898.