Reference number
  • S/006
Level
  • Collection
Date(s)
  • 1903-2010
Extent and medium
  • 50 linear metres
Description
  • ┆This large collection includes minutes, administrative papers, club ephemera such as regulations, circulars, newsletters and dinner menus, notebooks, travel or expedition diaries, photographs, maps, artworks including lithographs, paintings and drawings, artefacts including trophies, badges, pins, medals, clothing, skis ski-poles, show-shoes and boots. The archives are complemented by the Arnold Lunn Library, a large number of books and journals relating to skiing, mountaineering and other winter sports.
Administrative history
  • ┆**Ski Club of Great Britain 1903 – 1925** _Formation_ The Ski Club of Great Britain (SCGB) was formed over dinner at the Café Royal, London, on 6th May 1903. A group of fourteen men with a common interesting in skiing resolved to form a members club for the enjoyment and promotion of skiing. E.C. Richardson was appointed the first Club Secretary and together with E. Syers and E.H. Wroughton constituted the first committee. The first rules of the Club were modelled on those of the Figure Skating Club, with which Edgar Syers was connected. As the first British ski club, SCGB established itself as the leading British organisation for skiing, in effect the sport’s governing body. It created different classes of ski tests which examined skiing ability and awarded a qualification which became recognised as level of achievement in skiing. In 1904 a system of affiliation was set up whereby other ski clubs could affiliate to SCGB and receive benefits such as representation at annual general meetings, appointment as judges for SCGB ski tests and copies of SCGB publications at the same rate as SCGB members. The first Year Book of the Ski Club of Great Britain was published in 1905. The Club held dinners, organised lectures and began to create a library dedicated to skiing and mountaineering. By 1905 SCGB had 121 individual members. In 1910 – 1911 controversy over the status of Lady Members saw Club members take strong stances on both sides of the question. The debate caused considerable bad feeling and, coupled with other sources of discontent such as the testing of members’ skiing abilities, produced an atmosphere of dissension amongst SCGB members. _National Ski Union and British Ski Association_ It was in the context of this dissension that two new, rival, ski organisations emerged in 1912: the National Ski Union and the British Ski Association. Both sought to offer an alternative to SCGB and to challenge its dominance. Each organisation drew up a constitution and rules, recruited members, held meetings and communicated with its members via circulars. From 1912 the Year Book of the Ski Club of Great Britain became the Year Book of the Ski Club of Great Britain and the National Ski Union, while the British Ski Association published its own Bulletin beginning in 1923. _Federal Council of British Ski Clubs_ With several different ski organisations now offering a range of ski tests and competitions there was no central regulation of the sport. Moreover, no single organisation represented British skiing interests. Early in 1914 the Federal Council of British Ski Clubs was set up to provide the oversight, authority and control which was lacking. Represented on the Federal Council were the Ski Club of Great Britain, the National Ski Union, the British Ski Association, the Scottish Ski Club, the North of England Ski Club and the Davos English Ski Club. The Federal Council assumed responsibility for the establishment and holding of skiing tests, the appointment of test judges, representation at international congresses, the holding of British Ski Championships and the determination of questions relating to amateur and professional status in skiing. _The First World War_ The Federal Council of British Ski Clubs, the National Ski Union and the British Ski Association had not been long formed before their activities were suspended by World War I. The Ski Club of Great Britain too suspended operations from 1915 until 1919. During the period of suspension, no meetings were held and no minutes were recorded. _Merger and Amalgamation_ Although both the National Ski Union and the British Ski Association resumed activities in 1919 it was not long before discussion arose regarding their future. In 1921 the National Ski Union sent a circular to its members proposing a merger with the Ski Club of Great Britain and the British Ski Association began considering amalgamation with SCGB not long afterwards. The National Ski Union held its final committee meeting in April 1922. The organisation was absorbed into the Ski Club of Great Britain and all its assets and liabilities, including books, records and trophies, were taken over by SCGB. Members of the National Ski Union were automatically admitted as members of SCGB. By 1924 the British Ski Association and the Ski Club of Great Britain had both realised that by working together they could avoid overlapping activity, reduce expenses, increase efficiency and share financial and administrative requirements such as an office and a library. It was proposed that one new ski club be formed from the amalgamation of the Ski Club of Great Britain and the British Ski Association. By combining memberships, this new club would represent nearly all British skiers and could therefore serve as a governing body for British skiing, eliminating the need for the Federal Council of British Ski Clubs. On 1st October 1925 the British Ski Association and the Ski Club of Great Britain amalgamated and a new organisation was created. A joint committee consisting of members of both former organisations was appointed. Following a resolution passed by the Federal Council of British Ski Clubs in June 1925, the Council was wound up and its functions ceded to the new amalgamated organisation along with its assets and liabilities. Confusingly, the new organisation was named “the (new) Ski Club of Great Britain”. **Ski Club of Great Britain 1925 – present** The new ski club combined the expertise and the energies of the key figures in British skiing at the time and quickly became the leading British ski club, with by far the largest membership. The Club played an influential role in the development of ski technique, instruction, testing, touring and competition. Through the publication of articles on the latest developments in the sport in its Year Book, the affiliation of ski clubs from around the world and representation on the international governing body, the International Ski Federation, the Club gained a worldwide reputation. In the late 1920s the Club began issuing snow and weather reports which were printed in national newspapers. From 1928 onwards Ski Club Representatives organised touring parties - holidays in which members were taught to ski and entertained in the evenings - which remain an important part of the Club’s offering to this day. In 1929 the first Pery Medal was awarded, instituted by former Club President the Hon. E.C. Pery for notable contributions to skiing. By 1936, SCGB had 6,000 individual members and 42 affiliated clubs including 3 in Canada, 3 in Australia, 4 in New Zealand and 1 in India. _Organisational Structure_ The creation of a new organisation was an opportunity to devise an executive and administrative structure to reflect the main functions and activities of the Club. The Council held executive powers and fulfilled the functions of the former Federal Council of British Ski Clubs as the governing body for British skiing. Committees were set up to focus on different aspects of the Club’s interests and report to the Council in an advisory capacity. The Committee names alone indicate the innovations, developments and activities with which the Club concerned itself: the Ski Mountaineering and Touring Committee; the First Class Test Committee; the Ski Jumping Committee; the Long-Distance Racing Committee; the Accident Prevention Committee; the British Ski Teams Committee; and the long-standing Winter Arrangements Committee which began in 1927 and continued to deal with the Club’s overseas activities throughout the course of the twentieth century. _The Rule of Amateurism_ In common with many other sports, the definition and protection of amateurism was written into the Club rules and arbitrated by the Council. Members could apply to the Council for ‘sanction’ to undertake and receive payment for skiing-related activities without forfeiting their amateur status. Definitions of professionalism changed and were vigorously debated over the years. The rule was removed in 1966. _British Ski Jumping Club and British Langlauf Club_ A number of the smaller ski clubs which had flourished at the beginning of the twentieth century ceased to exist as interest turned to the development of downhill skiing and races such as slalom. In 1937 the British Ski Jumping Club and the British Langlauf Club were wound up and their respective functions and assets transferred to the Ski Club of Great Britain. _The Second World War_ Whereas throughout World War I the Ski Club of Great Britain had suspended its activities, held no meetings and recorded no minutes, during World War II a caretaker administration was put in place. A small group of Council members formed an Emergency Committee which fulfilled the functions of the Council in wartime, acting as a temporary governing body while Club activities were reduced or ceased. Publication of the Year Book continued. Council meetings resumed in June 1944. _Demerger and National Ski Federation of Great Britain_ In 1962-63 SCGB began to reflect on its role as the governing body of British skiing and to question whether it could continue to carry out the functions it had acquired from the Federal Council of British Ski Clubs in 1925. Council discussions identified two main issues: firstly, that the sport of skiing had grown considerably and Club membership did not now represent the majority of British skiers as it had in the past; and, secondly, that, this being the case, the Club should not continue to bear the financial cost of national responsibility for the sport. The separation of national and club activities was proposed. A new organisation was created by the demerger of the functions of the erstwhile Federal Council of British Ski Clubs including responsibility for national and international competitive skiing, promotion of the sport and representation of the sport to statutory bodies both in Britain and abroad. The National Ski Federation of Great Britain held its inaugural meeting in March 1964 and shared offices with SCGB until the 1980s. Following restructuring and several name changes, the organisation is now known as GB Snowsport. The British Ski Racing, Artificial Slopes and Ski Instruction Committees of SCGB were abolished in 1964 as these activities fell within the scope of the new organisation. _British Grass Ski Congress_ In July 1970 a Grass Ski Committee was set up to attract new members to the Club by organising grass skiing activities in Britain. An increase in the popularity of the sport led to the success of the Committee and to its reputation as the leading national organisational entity for grass skiing. In 1978 the Committee was reconstituted into a separate organisation, initially called the British Grass Ski Association. The organisation continued to use the secretariat and offices of the Ski Club of Great Britain. In April 1979 the financial assets of the former Committee were transferred to the new organisation. By 1981 the organisation had changed its name to the British Grass Ski Congress. The Ski Club of Great Britain discontinued its support for the Congress on 31 December 1982. _Ski Survey and Ski + Board_ In 1972 the long-running Year Book of the Ski Club of Great Britain was replaced by a members magazine called Ski Survey. This was renamed Ski + Board in 1997. _Ski Club Services Limited and Ski Club Winter Arrangements Limited_ An Extraordinary General Meeting was held on 12 January 1987 at which it was resolved to create two limited companies. Ski Club Winter Arrangements Limited was set up to carry on the activities of the Winter Arrangements Committee which had been organising the Club’s overseas activities since 1927. Ski Club Services Limited was set up to carry on all other trading and service activities of the Club. _Website_ The Club website [www.skiclub.co.uk](https://www.skiclub.co.uk) was launched in winter 1995 and was the first ever wintersports website. _Fresh Tracks_ In 1996 Ski Club of Great Britain purchased the name and trade of Fresh Tracks as a going concern from its parent company Mountain Spirit. Fresh Tracks continues to offer off piste holidays to Club members. _Ski Club of Great Britain Limited_ On 26 October 2001 a new limited company was created to acquire the property and liabilities and to carry out the duties and activities of the existing unincorporated association known as the Ski Club of Great Britain. The transfer of business from Club to company took place in November 2001. _Ski Club TV and YouTube Channel_ In 2006 an internet television channel called Ski Club TV was launched, the first to be dedicated to snowsports. In 2008 the Club created a channel on YouTube which now hosts all its video content. **Registered offices:** 1903 – 1910 Members met at restaurants or at committee members’ rooms or offices 1910 – c. 1919 Caxton House, Westminster, London 1919 – 1924 36 Victoria Street, London 1924 – 1926 4 Charles Street, London 1926 – 1929 Chandos House, London 1929 – 1935 14 Great Smith Street, London 1935 – 1952 Hobart Place, London 1952 - 1997 118 Eaton Square, London 1997 – 2018 The White House, 57-63 Church Road, Wimbledon, London 2018 – present Connect House, 113-137 Alexandra Road, Wimbledon, London **Sources of information:** * Documents in the Ski Club of Great Britain archive * Information filed with Companies House for _Ski Club Services Limited (Company Number 02099519), Ski Club Winter Arrangements Limited (Company Number 02099115)_ and _Ski Club of Great Britain Limited (Company Number 04312167)_ * 'History' page on Ski Club of Great Britain website: [https://www.skiclub.co.uk/about-the-ski-club/history-of-the-ski-club](https://www.skiclub.co.uk/about-the-ski-club/history-of-the-ski-club) \[accessed 17 April 2020\] * 'The Pery Medal' page on Ski Club of Great Britain website: [https://www.skiclub.co.uk/news-and-events/inspire-awards/the-pery-medal](https://www.skiclub.co.uk/news-and-events/inspire-awards/the-pery-medal) \[accessed 17 April 2020\] * Ski Club of Great Britain channel on YouTube: [https://www.youtube.com/user/TheSnowcast](https://www.youtube.com/user/TheSnowcast) \[accessed 17 April 2020\]
Access status
  • Open
Conditions governing access
  • Open and available for research. Some records may be closed under GDPR regulations protecting the privacy of individuals.
Conditions governing reproduction
  • Copies may be made for private research purposes only and within copyright legislation.
Language/scripts of material
  • English
  • German
  • French
  • Catalan
  • Italian
  • Polish
  • Spanish
  • Norwegian
  • Swedish
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
  • Deposited with Special Collections by the Club, December 2017.