The letter goes on to describe varied and interesting scenes on the ice, all showing that races caused tremendous interest and enthusiasm, and that throughout the period from 1812 - 1813, when Sedgwick tells us that he burned his gun case and some of his chairs in his rooms in Cambridge, for fuel, up to 1847/8 and leaves us in no doubt that the British public had already become skating minded.
The first authentic Skating Club in the world was the Edinburgh Skating Club, founded certainly before 1784, and, tradition has it, as early as 1642. It is undoubtedly the oldest club, and according to Strutt he metropolis of Scotland has produced more instances of elegant skaters than perhaps any other country. The test for admission to the club in 1784 was to skate a complete circle on either foot, and jump over first one, then two, then three hats. The oldest American club was the Philadelphia S.C. founded in 1849. New York followed in 1863. Frankfurt was the first German club, started in 1861, Vienna followed in 1867 and Troppau in 1868. The Cercie des Patineurs came into being in Paris in 1865. In 1830 The Skating Club, London, started, and functioned in the grounds of the Royal Toxophilite Society in Regents Park and where, until as late as the First World War the costume de rigueur was a top hat and morning or frock coat. The Figure-Skating Club started in 1898, this being the break away of those who considered the Victorian English Style obsolete the revolt being led by the late Edgar Syers whose wife, the inimitable Madge Syers, won the first two competitions of the International Skating Union for the ladies Championship of the World.
So much for a brief summary of the origin of skating and its early history before the days of the
covered rink, and before orderly minds began to shape the things to come.
Origins of Skating
Part 10
7th February 1919
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