1887 • The inaugural meeting and the drawing up of a constitution
A room was engaged at “The King’s Arms”, Ranelagh Road, Pimlico, and the proposition discussed at length. There are no records of that inaugural meeting but it is estimated to have been held on Friday, 7th October 1887. Those present are believed to be A.H.N. Edwards, J.H. Martyn, T.Gee, C. Kirby, E. Hopkins, G. Thatcher, W.R. Weller, A. Hall, and H.G. Carter. The decision to form the club and appoint A.H.N. Edwards as Honorary Secretary and J.H. Martyn as Club Captain was little more than a formality. So too was the question of headquarters. The proprietor of “The Kings Arms”, Nick Pethick, had already indicated to Edwards that it would be in order for the new club to adopt his public house as its headquarters and use the premises in the evening for training purposes.
The formation of a committee proceeded with little difficulty but most discussion at the meeting was reserved for the question of name, badge, motto and colours. Whether all were settled there and then is not known.
The club was to be known as the “Belgrave Harriers” in spite of the fact that its headquarters were firmly entrenched in Pimlico. The demarcation line between Belgravia and Pimlico was drawn to suit the social pretensions of the individual. Southern Belgravia to one person was North Pimlico to another. The social status was clear to all and this may have played some part in the decision to adopt the name Belgrave Harriers but it is also probable that by using this name the members thought that the club would be identified with a much larger area of the metropolis. Indeed it was an area which included Buckingham Palace itself. Although some of those present had wanted to adopt the name Pimlico Harriers, it was finally agreed otherwise.
As far as the badge was concerned there was unanimity. Both Belgravia and Pimlico came within the City of Westminster whose coat of arms featured the portcullis with chains. It was agreed that an amended portcullis would be the focal point of the Belgrave badge with the upper part of the City’s coat of arms being replaced by crossed keys, the initials B.H. and the date 1887. The scrolled motto beneath the badge would read “Semper Paratus” (Always Ready). It is possible that these embellishments to the portcullis design evolved over a period of two years or so because Martyn could not recall the crossed keys being agreed; and the earliest photographs showing a badge are dated 1889.
The choice of colours was “Dark and Light Blue”. No one seems to have recalled whether there was any particular reason for this choice. Whatever the reasons, the colours were retained for sixteen years, when for the season 1903-1904 they were officially described as “All White, Blue Trimmings”. This change was probably made to regularise a growing tendency to wear colours in trim form only.
A constitution was drawn up at the inaugural meeting and a list of events prepared.
Above: The City of Westminster's coat of arms and the Belgrave badge (the crossed keys were added later).