Slice 2
History of the Eton Fives Association

The starting point is November 1923. On Wednesday 7th November, there appeared in The Times a small paragraph which read “A Fives Association has been formed to popularise the game and organise the club matches on the lines of the Bath Club Squash Rackets Club.” The Chairman was (Sir) Lionel Alexander, the Hon. Secretary was Mr CMW Prior and among those on the Committee were Lord Kinnaird and Mr EB Noel. Three weeks later, on 27 November 1923, there was a further notice of which the full text was as follows:

“It has been decided to form an Eton Fives Association of Old Boys Clubs and other organisations which play the game. Among its objects will be the increasing of facilities and the arrangement of inter club matches." The Association received approval of the Head Master of Eton and the temporary Hon Sec was Mr CMW Prior.

The first meeting on 7th November refers to a “Fives Association”, implying that it included Eton, Rugby and Winchester Fives, especially as one of the committee members, Mr EB Noel, was from Winchester. This umbrella organisation is confirmed in the reports of 1924. The second meeting states specifically that its purpose was to form an “Eton Fives Association.” No officers seem to have been elected, and Mr Prior was acting as the secretary for both organisations.

Confirmation of the “Fives Association” appeared on Wednesday 22nd October 1924. The officers elected included Sir Lionel Alexander as Chairman. He did not chair the meeting because he was away electioneering. In his place, Mr R Straus presided. Mr EB Noel became temporary acting Secretary. The Treasurer seems to have been Mr CHK Marten, who was then Lower Master at Eton.

At this meeting it was agreed that the Fives Association would be affiliated to the Tennis and Rackets Association.

The general position seems to be that in November 1923 an overall Fives Association was established to act as an umbrella organisation for the three versions of fives. Within that Fives Association, Eton, Rugby and Winchester Fives would have their own sub committees which would be responsible for running their own affairs. As far as Eton Fives was concerned, it would seem that R Straus and CHK Marten were among the original members of the sub committee, with Lords Kinnaird and Wodehouse.

The Eton Fives Association, following the notice of intent in November 1923, dates from the meeting of 24th October 1924 (which specifically had the backing of the Head Masters of Eton and Harrow), and that it was called the ‘Fives Association’ until the Rugby Fives Association was set up in 1927, and then became the Eton Fives Association. This is supported by a copy of the letter that Lionel Alexander, as Chairman of the Fives Association, sent out to all interested fives players inviting them to the meeting on 24th October 1924.

The official Minutes of Association begin in 1934. DG Egerton records in 1934 in his book "Eton and Rugby Fives" that after the First World War "its revival was rapid and the next few years showed the birth of a new and keener set of Fives players, people who were not content to have finished their Fives-playing days when they left school. The formation of the Old Boys' Fives clubs did much to satisfy their needs." We know from the same record that in 1924 Lord Kinnaird presented a Challenge Cup to be competed for by the Old Boys' Clubs and in 1931 the Kinnaird Cup regulations were revised. The Public Schools' Handicaps first took place at the Queen's Club in 1929.

The time in office of the Patrons is remarkable and RG de Quetteville devoted over thirty years and a great deal of energy to EFA affairs. AT Barber's record is also there for all to see: thirty-five years as Chairman and President. PC Curtis first appears in Committee Minutes in 1947 and served in almost all offices until 2002: a formidable and as yet unequalled record.


1934-38: Lord Kinnaird

2013-: Sir Ian Davis

1934-65: RG de Quetteville

1966-71: Sir Alec Douglas-Home

1972-84: AT Barber

1985-91: PC Curtis

2001-06: JDC Vargas
2010-17: RPF Barber

2017-: RNL Black


1983-93: FB Hooper

1983-00: MJ Shortland-Jones

1993-: GD Stringer

1993-: JDC Vargas
1997-: RNL Black
2000-: RM Knight
2004-: D Whitehead
2010-: MR Fenn
2013-: PStJ Worth
2014-: KR Hughes

2016-: AR Wagg

2016-: RSR Pattison

2017-: RPF Barber

2017-18: A Baden Fuller

2020-: RA Dennis


1924-33: Sir Lionel Alexander

1934-47: RG de Quetteville

1986-90: JDC Vargas
1991-95: RNL Black
2003-10: RPF Barber
2010-13: PStJ Worth
2013-17: RNL Black

2017-: CJ Davies

Hon Secretaries

1924: CMW Prior

1924: EB Noel

1969-74: GD Stringer
1979-89: RM Knight
1990-94: MP Powell
1995: MP Powell
1999-09: MR Fenn
2009-: GJ Hoskins

Hon Treasurers

1924-33: CHK Marten

1934: GR McConnell

1934-38: TG Lund

1947-51: PC Curtis

1952-71: BD Barton

1972-79: RMG Turnbull

1980-84: AV Sutton

1985-95: RMG Turnbull

1995-: MP Powell