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Historic England Research Records

The Former Princes Skating Club

Hob Uid: 1521908
Location :
Greater London Authority
City of Westminster
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : TQ2740979607
Summary : The Prince's Skating Club opened on Montpelier Square in Knightsbridge, London, on 7 November 1896. The site is currently (2007) occupied by a terrace of houses.Measuring 210 by 52 feet, the ice rink was, on opening, the second largest in Britain. It was available only to members and intended to be used by the elite British figure skaters. Later in the year the Princes Ice Hockey Club was established here and challenge matches began at the rink in 1897. In 1908, the Olympic figure skating events were held at the club and in May of the following year it was the venue for an entirely different sort of event, the Women's Exhibition. Organised by the Women's Social and Political Union, the Women's Exhibition aimed to raise funds and draw attention to the cause of women's suffrage. In 1914, British Ice Hockey Association was founded at the Prince's Skating Club but in the summer of 1917 the rink closed. The building was later occupied by Daimler Motor Company before being demolished.
More information : The Prince's Skating Club opened on Montpelier Square in Knightsbridge, London, on 7 November 1896. Measuring 210 by 52 feet, the ice rink was then the second largest in Britain after Stockport. It was available only to members and intended to be used by the elite British figure skaters. Later in the year the Princes Ice Hockey Club was established here and challenge matches began at the rink in 1897. A second ice hockey team, the London Canadians, was founded in 1902 and along with Princes, participated in Europe's first ice hockey league. In 1908, the Olympic figure skating events were held here and in March 1910 the first England-Scotland ice hockey match was played at the club. Despite the suspension of games during the First World War, the British Ice Hockey Association was founded here in 1914. In the summer of 1917 the rink closed and the building was later occupied by Daimler Motor Company. It was demolished some time after this. (1)

In her article, Sebba describes the spectacle that was the Women's Exhibition held at the Prince's Ice Skating Rink in 1909. It had been organised by the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) which was the militant organisation within the women's suffrage movement. The purpose of the Exhibition was to raise funds for the WSPU and, according to Sebba, '..to show men that suffragettes were not the dangerous 'shrieking sisterhood' they were painted but were in fact the wives, mothers and sisters they knew..'

The Exhibition ran from 13-26 May, in was held in what was described as '..a vast and cavernous space measuring 250-foot long and 150-foot wide'. Admission was 2/6d on opening day and 1/5d thereafter. The building was decorated in the white, purple and green of the WSPU and music performed by the Aeolian Women's Orchestra and various quartets entertained visitors. There were around fifty stalls selling items such as farm produce, confectionary and local delicacies. There were art stalls, others which sold WSPU merchandise and palmistry tent.

Every day the Exhibition was opened by a different woman who gave a short speech. When visitors arrived they were given a ballot sheet and asked to cast their vote on a question of the day in a mock polling booth. One exhibit which would have made a considerable impression on visitors was a replica second division prison cell, like those in which suffragettes were held. Guided tours were held, and visitors shown the difference in conditions between first division cells where male political prisoners were held and those in the second division that were occupied by suffragettes.

By the end of the two week exhibition, the WSPU had raised £5000 and acquired many new members willing to support the cause of women's suffrage. (2)

A copy of the Women's Exhibition catalogue is held in the archive at the Women's Library in London.

The entrance to the building was on Hill Street. Inside the catalogue, the building's decorations are described in great detail. It depicts how '..on first entering one's eye is drawn to the vista converging towards the further end of the building which is covered by a magnificent canvas having for its centre a group of three beautiful female figures at least twice life size.'

As well as the various stalls and the replica prison cells, there was an exhibition of around 800 photographs organised by the suffrage group known as the Y.H.B. The photos were of scenes such as WSPU processions, public meetings, by-elections and the release of suffragettes from Holloway prison. (3)

Please see this source for further details of the Women's Exhibition held in 1909, including a photograph of the prison cell exhibit. (4)

Please see TQ2740979607 on OS maps dated 1916. The Prince's Skating Club is marked as occupying this location. Hill Street runs along the eastern side of the building. (5)

Please see TQ2740979607 on OS maps dated 2007 (MasterMap). There is a terrace of houses now on this site, located on Trevor Place. (6)

Comparing OS Maps dated to 1916 and 2007, Hill Street has been renamed Trevor Place at some stage. (7)

This is a photograph of a stand at the Women's Exhibition of 1909. The photograph is in the collection at the Museum of London and is ID no. MoL_IN1377. To see the image, click on the link in the list of sources. (8)

This is a photograph of a stand at the Women's Exhibition of 1909. The photograph is in the collection at the Museum of London and is ID no. MoL_IN116. To see the image, click on the link in the list of sources. (9)

This is a photograph of the mock prison cell at the Women's Exhibition of 1909. The photograph is in the collection at the Museum of London and is ID no. MoL_IN115. To see the image, click on the link in the list of sources. (10)

This is an image of an enamelled brooch that was possibly sold by the Chelsea branch of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) at the Women's Exhibition in 1909. It is in the WSPU colours white, green and purple and bears the slogan 'Votes for Women'. The brooch is in the collection at the Museum of London and has ID no. MoL_96.14. To see the image, click on the link in the list of sources. (11)

This is a photogaph of a china teapot, cup and saucer decorated with the 'angel of freedom' logo designed by Sylvia Pankhurst of the WSPU. These items form part of a tea service that was made especially for sale at the Women's Exhibition of 1909. They are in the collection at the Museum of London and had ID no. MoL_81.113/8. To see the photograph of the objects, click on the link in the list of sources. (12)

1908 Olympic Figure Skating held here. Florence Syers (known as 'Madge') won Gold in the ladies' single figure skating at the Olympics and a bronze in the pairs with husband Edgar. (13)



Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Wikipedia. (2010). Prince's Skating Club [accessed 28-JUL-2010]
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Source Number : 2
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Sebba, Anne. 'The Women's Exhibition of 1909' , STELLA- The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, 26-APR-2009, available online at [accessed 28-JUL-2010]
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Source Number : 11
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Museum of London et al. (2005). Exploring 20th Century London [accessed 05-MAY-2010]
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Source Number : 12
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Museum of London et al. (2005). Exploring 20th Century London [accessed 05-MAY-2010]
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Source Number : 13
Source : The British Olympics: Britain's Olympic Heritage, 1612 - 2012
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Page(s) : 112
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Source Number : 3
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : National Women's Social and Political Union, 'The Women's exhibition 1909: Prince's skating rink, Knightsbridge, London May 13th to 26th : programme', available at the Women's Library, classmark: 324.6230941 WOM
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Source Number : 4
Source : Spectacular Confessions: Autobiography, Performative Activism and the Sites of Suffrage, 1905-1938
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Page(s) : 42-44
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Source Number : 5
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 1916, 1:2500
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Source Number : 6
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 2007 (MasterMap), 1:2500
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Source Number : 7
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Recorder's comments, Kathryn Hay, 28-JUL-2010
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Source Number : 8
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Museum of London et al. (2005). Exploring 20th Century London [accessed 05-AUG-2010]
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Source Number : 9
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Museum of London et al. (2005). Exploring 20th Century London [accessed 05-AUG-2010]
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Source Number : 10
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Museum of London et al. (2005). Exploring 20th Century London [accessed 05-AUG-2010]
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Victorian
Display Date : Opened 1896
Monument End Date : 1896
Monument Start Date : 1896
Monument Type : Skating Rink
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : After 1917
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1917
Monument Type : Motor Vehicle Showroom
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Demolished some time after 1917
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1917
Monument Type : Motor Vehicle Showroom
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : 1909
Monument End Date : 1909
Monument Start Date : 1909
Monument Type : Exhibition Hall
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : Rink closed 1917
Monument End Date : 1917
Monument Start Date : 1917
Monument Type : Skating Rink
Evidence : Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 27 NE 462
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :