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With a characteristic flourish, he presented a "Challenge Belt" for a Mile Steeplechase and a "Handicapper's Cup" for a 440 yards race.Characteristically, he soon demanded that the cup should be renamed "Mr.
Charles Larrette, who had been living and competing in South Wales for some time, was impressed and SLH was founded the day after Boxing Day 1871, at a meeting attended by three ex-members of PAAC. was formed on 27th December, 1871 at a meeting in the Vivian Hotel, at 34 Philip Road (now known as Philip Walk), Peckham Rye, SE15.Briefly prominent amongst PAAC's members was the dynamic Mr. Smith, who became their handicapper in October 1871.Similar meetings were sometimes organised by clubs whose primary interest lay in other sports such as rowing, cricket, rugby football or association football (soccer).For many years prior to 1850, athletics sports had been performed by what we would now call amateurs and professionals.It so happened that at a banquet in "The King's Head", Roehampton, following a prestigious cross country challenge match between Thames Hare & Hounds and "All Comers" at Roehampton on October 28th 1871, Ernest Smith approached the 25 year-old Uppingham School alumnus, Charles Henry Larrette (b. 9/5/1913), who had run well in the race for the "All-Comers" that afternoon.
Smith unfolded his plan to found a new club "South London Harriers".
At this time, sports meetings with running, jumping and throwing events were not uncommon in schools, university colleges and even military establishments.
Such meetings had been held at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst from as early as around 1812, at Eton College from 1837 and at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich (from 1849 until 1853).
Each village and town had its own forms of ball games, running races, jumping, throwing, fighting and animal sports, which owed much to the fact that for centuries most people of one part of the country knew next to nothing of the other parts.
Travel was so difficult in a group of offshore islands with a temperate climate (the British Isles), naturally receiving more than its share of rain, which rendered the highways impassable for much of the year in the days when only a privileged few could afford to travel on horseback, whilst the members of the limited middle classes had to suffer much discomfort in the un-sprung wagons and later the un-sprung windowless coaches of the times.
Within a month or so, PAAC had lost five of their total twenty members to SLH, who soon overtook our rivals with 63 active members by the first SLH AGM in April 1872, and quickly developed into a major force in the land.