The Queen’s Park Rangers story began in 1882 in a newly built residential estate of West London. Queen’s Park Rangers were the amalgamation of two local youth club teams, St. Jude’s Institute and Christchurch Rangers. The very simple reason they were called Queen’s Park Rangers was that most of the players in the team came from the District of Queen’s Park.
Although the merger took place in 1886 the two local clubs were both formed in 1882. St. Jude’s having its origin with the boys of Droop Street Board School formed by Jack McDonald and Fred Weller supported by the Rev. Gordon Young, and the Christchurch Boys club team formed by George Wodehouse senior.
Queen’s Park Wanderers would have been an apt name for QPR. They also are of a rare band of teams in the League whose name does not obviously define their location. No mention of this club with their wonderful hooped shirts can be complete without a reference to their ground saga.
In total QPR have changed grounds more often than any other League club, a staggering seventeen times, thirteen different venues, not even taking into account the temporary use of Stamford Bridge in 1915 and Highbury in 1930.
The club’s first ‘proper’ pitch was on a patch of wasteland near Harvist Road and adjacent to the site that was later destined to become the Kensal Rise Athletic Ground. Shortly afterwards they moved to a venue at Welford’s Field at the princely cost of £8 per annum. In 1888 they rented the London Scottish ground at Brondesbury for £20 and this was also the year in which they first started charging admission from the spectators. In the year of 1888/89 the playing pitch became totally unplayable.
Between 1890 and 1892 they went through four other grounds which were Home Farm, Kensal Rise Green, The Gun Club at Wormwood Scrubs and Kilburn Cricket Ground. There was a temporary home ground of Barn Elms in early 1891. In 1896 QPR moved yet again, this time to Kensal Rise Athletic Stadium, initially known as the National Athletics Ground, and charged all adults 6d for admission.
On December 28th 1898 QPR turned professional to mainly stop all their players going to other clubs.
Running a professional team became a struggle and when in 1901 the landlord of The Athletic Stadium won his case in the Appeal Court to terminate the club’s lease, yet another home venue had to be sought. A suitable site was found at St. Quintin’s Avenue in 1901. Players had to change in a public house and walk to the pitch. The inhabitants of the area complained that QPR were lowering the tone of the neighbourhood and in 1902 the team moved back to Kensal Rise.
In 1904/05 QPR could not afford a large increase on the rent and had to move to another ground, this time to the Agricultural Showground at Park Royal. A new move was prompted in 1907/08 to another ground at Park Royal, capable of holding 60,000 spectators. But for the First World War, the club may well have permanentley settled at the Park Royal Ground. However the enclosure was taken over by the Army, and at the end of the 1914/15 season matches were played at Stamford Bridge and Kensal Rise. Mind you, because of a coal strike, QPR had also played a few matches at White City in 1912.….
During the First World War QPR also played their fixtures at Harvest Road, In 1917 Harvest Road was used as allotments, and QPR took over the ground of the amateur club Shepherd’s Bush who played at Loftus Road. By the dawn of the 1930’s QPR had become a well supported Third Division South Club and after fourteen years at Loftus Road the Board decided on yet another move, this time to the adjacent White City Stadium.
QPR moved back to Loftus Road, home sweet home, in 1933/34 having made a loss of £7,000.
The club’s use of White City was to prove to be their last ground, but not their last move, for during the 1962/63 season the same venue was tried again for a few months. Relatively small crowds forced them back to Loftus Road, this time for good…..The boys of former St Jude’s, patron saint of the lost causes, are no longer lost.
In the early days the club adopted Oxford and Cambridge blue halved shirts. In 1892 QPR changed their playing colours to green and white hoops. They were first used against local rivals Paddington, the offspring of Christchurch Rangers, and joined the West London league. The hoops became blue in 1926 as green was considered unlucky.
In 1953 again a change of strip was tried, but the all-silk outfit of white shirts and blue shorts failed to lift the gloom. By the 1960’s the blue hoops were re-introduced, this time to stay, albeit in various trimmings, for example in 1990 when Rangers sported a unique collar with a built-in blue panel.
Rangers are nicknamed The Superhoops in favour of Rangers. In the past they were simply known as the ‘R’ s. Not a very imaginative name.
The first official club emblem was a reproduction from the shield of the former Metropolitan Borough of Hammersmith’s arms. The items depicted on the badge are taken from the local history of the area. The cross-crosslets represent the arms of the 17th century noble Edward Latymer, who, in 1626 left money in his will for the education of poor boys. The three horseshoes are taken from the family crest of Sir Nicholas Crisp (1598-1665), who contributed bricks and funds for the parish church. The shelfish, a scallop, was adopted from the arms of George Pring, a surgeon at Hammersmith Hospital in the early 19th century, who was responsible for prototype work on a suspension bridge. Many of his ideas were adopted when the Hammersmith Bridge was built.
The start of the 1972/73 season saw the introduction of a blue and white hooped shield with what looks like the outline of a ball, depicting QPR in plain letters. The reason given at the time for the Rangers changing from the coat of arms of Hammersmith to the shield with the ball, was that it was felt that the three horseshoes being upside down on the original badge was bad luck. Strange when you think that the clubs only major success, the league cup in 1967, came with the ‘unlucky’ badge!
The ball and shield version disappeared sometime during the 1984/85 season to make way for a crest howing the letters QPR elegantly intertwined, with the addition “football club”. Uuhh? This addition disappeared by 1988. The current format with “1882 and Loftus Road” arrived sometime in the mid 1990’s. Had they included all their previous grounds, this badge would have been a completely different affair. Or at least significantly bigger.