Death of Lambs Imminent
Lambs Squash Club in the City of London is to close
Lambs Squash Club in the City of London is to close in a move that will shock the squash community. The club has come to fulfil a central role in the sport providing the main squash exhibition venue in London, the main centre for sport in the City and a London centre for professional players to train, met and play at.
The centre is owned by Mike Corby who is president of the English governing body of the sport, England Squash. It is believed that the club will be pulled down early next year to make way for a nine story apartment building.
Corby’s decision to sell is reportedly due to a turn down in business that has affected the whole fitness industry. He has said it is not feasible to keep the club open and has sold it to the Native Land company.
The club has nine squash courts but more importantly a 200 seat exhibition court with two adjacent glass back courts with additional seating for 50 each making it a popular venue for events in the world capital of squash.
There is much consternation at the announcement and members of the club are organising a protest. However the problem transcends members’ interests. There is not an alternative club in London with a large number of courts with purpose built exhibition facilities. The reverberations of this club death can be expected to be felt internationally. London, will struggle to hold onto its position as the sport’s world capital without a central London venue and without that the sport will be poorer.
Squash is one of the favourite sports of the City of London, the world’s financial and commodity trading hub. This is where the sport interfaces with the international financial business community. This month the ISS Canary Wharf Classic was held in the City, in May the Brit Insurance Super Series Finals will be held at the Broadgate Arena – a tube stop or two away from Lambs and it is possible the British Open will return to London. Lambs could be excepted to have some role in all of these events. The interaction through Lambs which allowed for players, promoters and sponsors to met and in some cases to do business will no longer exist.
Squash through its traditions in the public schools, gentlemen’s clubs and through traditional London based competitions has maintained a strong following with City gentleman – it provides an ideal break from the pressures of the working day with the a quick game at lunch time or after work before going home and perhaps a brief business meeting.
The problem with the demise of the club is that the state of the game in London and England does not provide an alternative.
Members at Lambs club are up in arms at its planned closure and a campaign to save the club has been launched. They may be able to raise some pressure as the sport’s bid for Olympic recognition and the London’s bid for the 2012 Olympics cannot be assisted by such a high profile closure. The decision though looks as if it will be Corby’s alone.
A dedicated web site has been set up to co-ordinate the protest.
Save Lambs Squash Club