In 1911, there was no national governing body for the sport, and the Club became closely involved over the next few years in laying the foundations for the game and agreeing standards for the size of the court and the specifications of the ball, as well as initiating inter club matches and tournaments.
In 1924, the first international match (England v America) was played at Pall Mall. The Amateur Championships started at around the same time and several of the Club squash members were on the organising committee. As the game increased in popularity it became clear that a more formal administrative structure was needed, and in 1928 the Squash Rackets Association (SRA)was established. For the first 20 years of its existence, its base was the Pall Mall clubhouse and its secretary was the Club’s secretary.
In 1926 the Club set up the Junior (Under-19 years) Amateur Championship which was to be played at Pall Mall and was organised by the Club until the Squash Rackets Association took it on in the 1970s. The winner of the Junior Amateur Championship, which is still rated as one of the top world junior tournaments today, receives the Drysdale Cup. This trophy was purchased by squash playing members of the Club in memory of Dr Theodore Drysdale, a well-known Club player who represented England. The Cup is still owned by the Club and is presented to the winner by a Pall Mall squash committee member. Today the tournament forms part of the British Junior Open Squash Championships, an event which this year (2020) attracted around 800 competitors with 56 different countries represented.
It is hardly surprising that the Club became known as ‘the home of squash’. In the years leading up to the Second World War, the Club retained its position as a leader in the game with many distinguished players, as well as an ever increasing number of club level players.
In 1935, the Club’s Fencing Salle was converted into a standard sized court increasing the number of courts to four, however the original three courts were one foot narrower having been built before any standards existed.
In 1950, the American game (which used a harder ball and had different court dimensions) was thought to be increasing in popularity and, as a result, the Committee at the time decided to replace the original three courts with two standard ones and one court built to American dimensions – the only one of its type in London. Finally, in 2004, the re-development of the sports area enabled the court 4 space to be widened and fitted with a movable side wall to accommodate either doubles or single play.
Since the 1950s squash has continued to flourish at the Club with several hundred members playing. There are now ten different annual competitions covering both singles and doubles and attracting over 500 entries, culminating in a finals night and dinner in March attended by over 200 members.
The Club is believed to have the largest internal squash league in the world with over 250 members competing in over 50 leagues at Pall Mall and a further 200 members on the waiting to take part. Woodcote Park also hosts an internal league with a further 40 members participating.