The purpose of the Badminton Museum of Ireland is to preserve the great heritage of Irish Badminton and to make the general badminton public aware of it.
Probably the right time to start a museum for a sports organisation is about 50 years after the organisation came into being and is well established. At that stage there will still be people around who hold interesting archival material and who have personal reminiscences which can be useful. As time goes on the danger of losing their contributions increases.
Starting an Irish badminton museum 110 years into the life of the Irish Badminton Union, as it was originally called, certainly means some of the earliest items of historical interest may have been lost. Archival material accumulated by one person may well be retained by the following generation but on their demise the next generation may well junk their grandparents’ effects
A case in point. A recent enquiry from Australia to the Badminton Association of England was directed by their Museum to Badminton Museum Ireland. It came from the niece of Olive Wilson. Olive was probably the best female player to come from Northern Ireland. She played 16 times for Ireland between 1923 and 1939 and was at her best in the 1930s. Olive never married and died young, in 1948, of TB. BMI, scenting the possibility of some treasure trove, enquired about possible memorabilia. Apparently Olive’s various trophies and memorabilia were stored in boxes after her death and retained by her mother. Because of the disturbed state of Northern Ireland the enquirer emigrated to Australia in 1970. Her mother died in 1988 and one of the enquirer’s sisters cleared out the house and disposed of all of Olive’s trophies and memorabilia!
Luckily for Irish badminton, its early history is well documented. First, there is Massey’s book of 1911, which we have already quoted. Then, The Badminton Gazette, the journal of the Badminton Association as it then was, and on whose Committee the IBU was represented, regularly reported on Irish affairs from 1909 (possibly earlier) right up to the 1960s. A section, The Irish Scene, was contributed to by various well-known Irish players over the years. There are, however, some early figures of prominence about whom we would like to know more.
In this issue the Gallery shows the formal hitting of the first shuttle at Terenure Centre. It would be nice to have details of the unnamed players. Curator feels that he can recognise at least one of the players. Could anyone who knows the players contact Curator through the website.
There is an interesting article under Historical. Note the size of the Irish Selection Committee and that two of Ireland’s top players were on the selection committee in the previous season. No conflicts of interest because of their automatic status and their experience would be of great benefit to the discussions on the team being selected. Contrast the position of Badminton in the West with the thriving position in Kerry.
Dick O’Rafferty, Curator, Badminton Museum of Ireland