History of Windsor Judo Club 1950-2000
John Squires is believed to have started the Windsorian Judo Club for boys at Windsor Grammar School in 1948. John Squires and Eric Cartwright formed a senior class in 1950, which was the beginning of Windsor Judo Club.
Eric Cartwright had practiced judo in the Army in 1946 and when he returned home there were no judo clubs in the area. After a few years he saw some photographs in the local paper of a judo display given by the boys of Windsor Grammar School who were members of the newly formed Windsorian Judo Club. Eric contacted their instructor John Squires and after a couple of meetings it was agreed that an adult section would be formed with John taking on the role of instructor and Eric taking on the role of organizer. An advertisement was placed in the local paper to which there was a good response. Fifteen players were accepted, a waiting list was created and the first WJC class was held at Windsor Grammar school.
The intention of Eric Cartwright and John Squires was always that the newly formed senior class would be a separate entity from the Windsorian Judo Club at the Grammar School. This was demonstrated by the senior class obtaining separate premises from the junior Windsorian Judo Club. The Windsor Judo Club also produced its own club badge that was similar in design to the Windsorian badge but a different colour scheme.
To put the formation date of WJC in context it was two years after the formation of the BJA and ten years before the formation of the BJC. The first judo club in the UK and Europe was the Budokwai and it opened in 1918, thirty-two years earlier than Windsor Judo Club.
The first Windsor Judo Club grading took place in 1951 and it was also the year that the club’s longest serving member Harry Chapman joined. Two noteworthy visitors to Windsor during the early 1950′s were Matsutaro O’Tani and Bill Stopps. Mr O’Tani later became one of the founders of the British Judo Council and Bill Stopps joined the club a few years later in 1957. Ernie Wooster was also a club member in the 1950′s and along with Harry Chapman and Bill Stopps all three continued as active judo players and WJC members until the 1980′s.
Windsor Judo Club was using the Conservative Club in Windsor as its dojo in the late 50′s and into the 60′s. During this time, the judo club had some competition successes reaching the final of the Northern Home Counties competition and it won the I A Howard competition in 1956. WJC also competed in a Berks and Bucks area league with every club contesting against each other in a home and away fixture. Unfortunately the league only lasted one or two years and WJC’s final position is not known.
The sixties and seventies are decades about which little is known of the activities of WJC. Some of the members during this period in addition to Messrs Chapman, Stopps and Wooster were Bill Carter, Brian Cox, Jim Morton and Brian Rockett.
In the early eighties WJC moved to its present home at the New Windsor Community Association. Harry Chapman, Bill Stopps and Ernie Wooster were still practicing judo and also continued as key figures concerned with running the club. Other coaches and hard workers behind the scenes at this time were Les Foad, John Morton and Stan Rawlings.
Windsor Judo Club had always been a British Judo Association (BJA) club since it was formed but in the mid eighties it left the BJA and joined the British Judo Council (BJC). The club was experiencing difficulties getting a BJA examiner to attend and conduct gradings, and when an examiner did attend the opinion of those present was that the grading was conducted in a less than satisfactory manner and the fees were too high. The advantage of transferring to the BJC was that Bill Stopps a Windsor Judo Club member was able to conduct gradings under the BJC system.
In the late 1980′s Harry Chapman and Bill Stopps (the last club members remaining from the 1950′s) retired from an active role within WJC. A committee had run the Club for many years but in reality, it belonged jointly to Harry and Bill and they appointed Trevor Collins as their successor.
In the early nineties Ian Thompson came to WJC and took senior sessions on a Monday and Wednesday evening while senior sessions on a Friday was taken by Nick Fletcher. Junior judo was taken mainly by Trevor Collins who was assisted at various times by Roy Flower, Jenny Sexton, Pete Skinner and Nick Ward. Other regulars at WJC were the Farringdon trio of Charles Ashby, Mark Maidment and Mark Tarring.
In 1995 WJC held its first annual competition which was initially for juniors but in 1998 a senior category was introduced and it is now an event that attracts approximately 120 competitors. Another popular activity was a sponsored throw across Windsor Bridge and although many people helped to run the club in the mid nineties one of the most enthusiastic members was Nick Ward.
During 1998 and 1999 there were many visitors to the club including Roy Inman 7th Dan and Ian Rose who has won World and European Championships for the Blind and Partially Sighted.
In the year 2000 Windsor Judo Club will be 50 years old. It is operating from the New Windsor Community Association in Hanover Way. The judo practiced is best described as recreational and of club standard. Recent visitors including experienced Dan grades have enjoyed a friendly but hard training session.
Dojos past and present
Windsor judo club has survived and flourished in one way or another since the late 1940’s; in an attempt to preserve the history of the club, we have documented its previous incarnations here. The site authors would be very grateful for an photographs of these early training halls in order to liven up the page.Windsor Grammar School This was the venue for Windsor Judo Club’s first session. The school was only a temporary home and it was used because John Squires the first instructor at the club was a teacher at Windsor Grammar during the 1940′s and 1950′s.The Star and Garter The gymnasium at The Star and Garter in Peascod Street, Windsor, was secured as a dojo for WJC. Mats had to be found, a set of army biscuits (a mattress about 3 foot square) were purchased and Eric Cartwright obtained a canvas cover from his neighbours who had a business supplying shop awnings. This dojo was subsequently demolished to make way for a car park.The Star and Garter Gymnasium was shared with a boxing club and judo training was sometimes interrupted when famous boxers were training there. These included Sugar Ray Robinson (World Welter and Middleweight Champion 1946-60) and Archie Moore (World Light Heavy Weight Champion 1952-62).The Old Windsor Memorial Hall This dojo was difficult to get to unless people had their own transport. Not many did in those days and consequently the club did not stay very long.Bachelorsacre Premises were obtained in a former army but on Bachelors Acre which was an ideal facility. Although it was shared with a rifle club the mats were left down as the rifle club shot from end to end. Efforts were made by the judo club to purchase the site but unfortunately it was sold to The Castle Hotel for development.Windsor Conservative Club New premises were found in the Conservative Club and although precise dates are not known it has been confirmed that Windsor Judo Club was using this venue as a dojo in 1957. The dojo was in the main hall and this was another facility where mats had to be lifted and put away at the end of each training session. When the bar was extended into the main hall which was used for judo, a Health Inspector stated that dust from the judo mats was unsuitable for a bar area and the judo club was asked to leave.Combermere Barracks Some Windsor Judo Club members who were in the Army gained permission for the club to use the Gymnasium in Combermere Barracks. This was another ideal judo facility and WJC gained some new members from the Army and everyone got on well. Unfortunately this was a time when security checks were at there peak due to the problems in Northern Ireland and entry arrangements into the barracks were not appropriate for a civilian judo club with occasional visitors.Old Imperial Services ChapelJohn Clements a club member who was a police officer obtained permission for Windsor Judo Club to use the Old Imperial Services Chapel in Alma Road and through Councillor Tim Ackland, a lease was negotiated. Extensive work was required before the chapel could be used. This included replacing floor joists, laying mains electricity and water, replacing window frames, removal of a stage inside the chapel and complete interior decoration. While WJC was based at the Chapel it was well attended and although it was a listed building the club had to move as the local council required the site for building. The Hut This is the dojo that was never used. Brian Cox who was a builder obtained two pre-fabricated huts for £600 and members were enthusiastic about the prospect of WJC owning its own premises. Carolyn Blackman and Brian Rockett arranged for juniors to collect old newspapers to sell on to a paper mill and a sponsored run for seniors and juniors was held. Pledges for donations and loans were received and the Sports Council offered a 50% grant. Drawings, plans and estimates were submitted and the council agreed to provide a plot of land. Senior members gave up their time and under the guidance of Brian Cox they dismantled and labelled the pre-fabricated huts that were stored in the Chapel. Harry Chapman and Ernie Wooster attended many meetings with various council departments and all the sites proposed by WJC were rejected. It became clear that the councils intention was for Windsor Judo Club to join the NWCA. The huts were sold to a local tennis club. New Windsor Community Association There where several meetings between WJC and NWCA before an agreed constitution was signed on the 27 July 1981. The Sports Council gave a grant and from this new mats were purchased. The dojo in Hanover Way is still the home of Windsor Judo Club as it has been since 1981. It is an excellent facility that includes a purpose built dojo with a permanent mat area and unlike some of the previous dojos it has heating and changing rooms with showers.