Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Sport - Archery

    In 1781 the remains of the "Old Finsbury Archers" established the Toxophilite Society ... The Society in 1850 consisted of 100 members; terms, 5l., annually, entrance fee 5l., and other expenses: they possess the original silver badge of the old Finsbury Archers. They meet every Friday during the Spring and Summer; the shooting is at 60, 80 and 100 yards; and many prizes are shot for during the season; Prince Albert was patron.
    The most numerous Society of this kind is, however, "The Royal Company of Archers, the Queen's body-guard of Scotland", whose captain-general, the Duke of Buccleuch, rode in the coronation procession of Queen Victoria.
    In 1849, the Society of Cantelows Archers was established; their shooting ground is at Camden-square, Camden New Town; the prize, a large silver medal. There was a fine display of Archery at the Fete of the Scottish Society of London, in Holland Park, Kensington, June 20,21, 1849, when 300l. worth of prize plate was shot for.

John Timbs, Curiosities of London, 1867 edition

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Archery.óThe members of the Royal Toxophilite Society may be considered the representative supporters of this ancient national sport in London. The society, which is under the patronage of the Prince of Wales, and numbers over a hundred members, has occupied since 1832 pretty grounds in the Inner Circle of the Regentís-park, in which stands Archersí Hall where the hon. secretary may be addressed. The society was founded so far back as 1781 by Sir Ashton Lever, and represents the ancient society of Finsbury Archers and the Archersí Company of the Honourable Artillery Company. It possesses a large silver shield, presented to the Archersí Cornpany by Catherine of Braganza, and several prize arrows of the same and even earlier periods. Members are elected by ballot. There are no lady members, but ladies may use the grounds under certain conditions. The subscription for town members is £5 5s. For town members there is no entrance fee. The rules provide that country members shall pay an entrance fee of £1 1s., and an annual subscription of £2 2s. The annual general meeting takes place on the first Friday in May. The London Skating Club established a rink in the gardens in 1869, and pay the society an annual rent. The rink may be flooded at any time between the 15th November and the 1st March; members of the society having the privilege of skating on the rink, and of inviting their friends to look on.
Members of the society may also, on certain conditions, become members of the Skating Club without entrance fee. The freedom of the Royal Toxophilite Society has been granted to the following country societies: the Royal Company of Archers, the Woodmen of Arden, the West Berks Archers. The National Archery Meeting takes place every summer in the archery grounds of the Crystal Palace, when valuable prizes are shot for by ladies and gentlemen, and a very pretty sight is afforded to the numerous spectators.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879

see also A.R.Bennett in London and Londoners - click here