Introduction

King’s College Lawn Tennis team, 1897
King’s College Lawn Tennis team, 1897 [KCAC/1/3/6/4/1]
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The Amalgamation Club was founded in 1885. As its name suggests, it brought together several existing clubs, as well as one providing space for less athletic forms of recreation, to which I shall return later. The sporting clubs were:

  • Athletics
  • Boat
  • Cricket
  • Football
  • Lacrosse
  • Lawn Tennis

The reason for the coming together of these disparate groups is not clear. There were various benefits though:

Single membership fee

Rather than pay for membership of individual clubs, students paid a single subscription fee. After taking an average of the expenses of each club, a terminal subscription of 30 shillings was determined.

Greater integration into College life

King’s College Cambridge and New College Oxford Rugby teams
King’s College Cambridge [Rugby Football team] vs. New College Oxford, 1906 [KCAC/1/3/6/4/2]
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By increasing the communication between clubs, there must have been a greater sense of the clubs being an integral part of the College. One outward display of this was the wearing of caps, blazers and badges. On 23 January 1888, the Amalgamation Club decided that the Eight and the Cricket team should be allowed to wear badges on their coats and caps. The Association Football team could sport badges on their shirts and caps, and the Rugby Football team could don a velvet cap and tassel. The velvet cap and tassel can be seen in the picture, for example on the person second from the left in the second row. Rupert Brooke also appears, second from the right in the third row.

Management of shared resources

The various clubs within the College often had to share grounds so the Amalgamation Club’s committee were able to act as mediators in any disputes. In 1896, the Amalgamation Club’s Finance Committee discussed the condition of the cricket pitches and damage resulting from the playing of football matches there.

They also had to decide how to manage property shared with other colleges, not least those same cricket grounds, which were shared with Clare College. One important consequence of this was the planning of the new pavilion for those grounds, with the cost to be shared by both colleges, as proposed in a meeting on 10 December 1888.

It wasn’t only property which was shared with other colleges. In some cases, clubs comprised members from more than one college, for example the Athletics Club was partnered with the Third Trinity.

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