In Spring 1886 St Jude’s Institute FC played local rivals Christ Church Rangers in a friendly. After the match, George Wodehouse, a founder member of Christ Church Rangers, suggested on the advice of a friend that the two clubs should merge. He felt that a combined team would be much stronger than either team separately. This idea was put to both clubs and a merger was agreed. However, when the newly combined team played under the name of St Jude’s Institute and used the Institute as its headquarters, many of the Christ Church players claimed they had been victims of a take-over and they walked out angrily. Their response was to set up a rival club called Paddington FC.
It was important that the few remaining members of Christ Church Rangers should feel fully included in the union and to achieve this, a new name acceptable to everyone had to be found. It was E.D. Robertson who came up with the perfect compromise. He suggested that as almost all the players lived on the Queen’s Park estate, the name of the estate should be incorporated into the club’s title and that it should be coupled with the word ‘Rangers’ to show continuity with the former ‘Christ Church Rangers FC’. It was an inspired choice and was duly adopted. Just as Sidney Bott had supported the launch of St Jude’s Institute, so, too, did he show his support for the new Queen’s Park Rangers club by allowing St Jude’s Institute to be used as its headquarters.
Early Influence of Charles Gordon Young:
In 1886 another St Jude’s clergyman, the 25-year-old curate, Charles Gordon Young, became actively involved in the fledgling club’s affairs and exerted a powerful influence upon it.
Charles Young was born in the small Yorkshire village of Oughibridge near Sheffield on 4th April 1861. His father, Edward, was originally a brick maker but later became a successful mining engineer. By 1881, the family had left Yorkshire and was living in Camberwell, Surrey, at which time Charles was working as a clerk to the surveyor of taxes. But he felt called to the Church of England ministry and in 1883 he entered the London College of Divinity to train as a clergyman. Three years later, he was ordained and took up his first post as curate, working for Sidney Bott, Vicar of St Jude’s Church next to the Queen’s Park estate. 1886 was an important year for Young. Not only was he appointed a curate of St Jude’s Church, but he was also married there on 21st December to Mary Bishop of East Dulwich, daughter of George Bishop, heraldic printer to Queen Victoria.
Young was almost certainly given responsibility for St Jude’s Institute which Sidney Bott had opened as a mission hall on the Queen’s Park Estate in 1884. Prior to his marriage, Young lived in Ilbert Street conveniently close to the Institute. It was there that he met the Queen’s Park Rangers players.
He was invited to join the club at the start of the 1886-87 season and quickly made his presence felt as a goal-scoring striker. But more importantly he was a leader who was able to fuse the two factions of the club together in a spirit of unity. Having had no previous involvement with either St Jude’s Institute FC or Christ Church Rangers, he was seen to be wholly neutral. His calming presence at committee meetings and on the field became a stabilising factor at the club at a crucial stage in its development. There is no doubt that in his two years as a curate of St Jude’s Church his steadying influence helped lay the foundation for QPR’s success in future years. His departure from St Jude’s in 1888 to become rector of Chipstead, near Redhill, in Surry, must have caused great sadness among the QPR players. They were losing a very good friend indeed.
(Peter is of course the author of the superb book ‘Thank God For Football’ which deals with the formation of our club, and various others, and how they all evolved from the Church. His research unearthed a lot of new information and I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Also available is the illustrated companion which was launched last year at Liverpool Cathedral. My thanks to Peter for the above article and for all that he has done towards documenting the very earliest days of our club. St Jude’s Church was situated in Lancefield Street, W10 and the above postcard is from my collection – Steve Russell)