LAMBS Squash Club    Wimbledon of Squash - Centre of Excellence in Olympic 2012 capital 1 Lamb's Passage, Islington, London, EC1Y 8LE
    Saved Lambs             

      Campaigns by Lambs Squash Club members to save the Wimbledon of Squash from redevelopment retaining  it as a  centre of Squash excellence.   Launched Easter 2005

    Campaign to save the Wimbledon of Squash WAS backed by:
    Rt Hon Richard Caborn  Minister for Sport Rt Hon Emily Thornberry MP Islington South & Finsbury Chris Smith Chair of the London Cultural Consortium   Baroness Hamwee  Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Regional and Local Government, House of Lords   Matthew Delaney, Regional Director  Sport England Nick Rider Chief Executive England Squash Several thousand squash players and supporters worldwide

Why save Lambs?

The 9 court facility in central London has been a centre of excellence for more than 25 years. Today a developer backed by the Duke of Buccleuch Scotland’s wealthiest landlord wants to turn it into a pedestrian 9 storey block of flats, depriving the local community of a strategic facility which can never be replaced. Squash ranks among the UK's top 10 priority sports. British players hold more Squash world titles and rankings than in any other sport. Government planning policy (PPG17) protects facilities that are not surplus to requirement. Lambs has more than 1100 members, some 50 leagues, two county teams, a vibrant squash ladder,   and a thriving player and social community in the heart of the City. Some Islington planning officers think the Duke's flats are more important. We don’t.  Nor do local councillors. So we're fighting to stop the Duke.
Backing us are key national and local figures and bodies.   Join in if you care about the future of Squash in this country

  Please forward your latest league boxes - help keep the mailing list up to date! Many thanks


World class players such as Peter Nicol regularly  use Lambs


    a. We still hope to fund a new site despite the rollercoaster ride to date and will advise any progress.

    b Meanwhile see the Time news magazine farewell to Lambs piece here 

    Below are some of what you told us what you want from A NEW HOME FOR LAMBS
    (Many thanks to Sean Hayden for designing, setting up and paying for the survey - great result)

    Do email us your latest league boxes, help us keep the list up to date.
    Here's my latest league

    The latest leagues are likely to be among the last played at Lambs please forward your league boxes so we can update our email list and ensure as many existing Lambs fans move to the news club as possible
    Here's my latest league


    Things I want at
    the new Lambs Squash Club™:

    2.  Teams entered into leagues

    3.  Sauna!

    4.  Hi, I think the minimum number of squash courts should be 6, in order to generate the critical mass of players required to cater to all standards. I definitely think a huge exhibition court in the centre of London is not essential (uses too much space). I play squash at Lambs after work, but as I live in Tunbridge Wells would not use the club at the weekend as I play down there. I also think you should charge people for courts on top of the monthly subscription (not a huge amount, maybe ?er hour =* ?er person) as people will pay it and in central London you should expect to pay (especially if the courts are new / good condition). I also think if you aspire to build a proper squash club it is important to have a bar where people want to drink after their game (somewhere inviting and overlooking the squash courts, NOT like Lambs) so people don't treat it like a leisure center (ie just play and leave). Finally I think a proper squash club should actively encourage juniors (discounted memberships?) both to create an atmosphere in the club and for the future of the game. Just my humble opinions. Best of luck with it all.

    5.  Helpful staff, changing room that don't get horribly over crowded. Facilities that are well maintained.

    6.  motorbike and bicycle parking, no court fees just membership

    7.  club night team training essential not feeling guilty about monopolising courts all the best Ken.

    8.  Like the current lamb's style v/ much. could do with updated facilities, though

    9.  sports massage ;)

    10.     Creche (for babies and young children) maybe very useful for young mothers.

    12.     I really like lambs as it is - but just for squash - so a new club that follows that formula would be most welcome

    13.     A sauna

    14.     good showers and air conditioned changing rooms

    15.     The main thing for me is the ease of meeting players of a similar standard, so tournaments (non-pro), ladders and club night are essential. A proper gym with free weights, running machines is also important.

    16.     I want it to be a squash club first and foremost. Squash should be the focus, always. Not just another gym that happens to have squash courts.

    17.     Facilities for Junior players. Specialised Junior coaching programme.

    18.     Team squash in local league

    20.     Flexible membership with no tie-ins.

    21.     The quality of the changing room and showers is the next most important thing after the squash courts themselves. They don't need to be fancy, but they should be clean, and spacious. The showers should be reliable (ie not running out of hot water) and powerful.

    22.     Somewhere where it's easy to get a court and competitive league.

    23.     Availability of squash courts.

    24.     enough courts to enable members to get them without major difficulties in the booking and preference to league matches over friendlies by allowing an extra day ahead as per lambs at present.

    25.     Great quality showers and really clean and hygienic changing facilities

    26.     Cleanliness and minimalism. Efficient booking system and penalties for people who don't use courts when booked at peak periods in advance. I would use on weekends if I am in town but travel a lot at weekends.

    27.     Juniors are the future of squash. Perhaps, utilise courts when emptier, i.e. school holidays, weekends, with special membership rates. Non-residential fitness camps for kids, get them addicted young! Junior tournaments. Mini-squash.

    28.     I prefer a city gym / squash club to be an easy going place, where sport and its support functions (shop, bar, physiotherapy) are the main attraction. Coaching services for squash as well as the odd tournament would be appreciated. The club should be clean, easy to use, provide the basic infrastructure (towels, basic toiletries) and should employ friendly staff. A club restaurant should serve simple, but healthy meals and snacks rounded off with a variety of non-alcoholic beverages like juices, ice-teas, smoothies etc. A good coffee machine that can produce a decent latte, a few pastries and some papers could help to draw in a morning crowd who wants to work out before work. A bar with a tab and a choice of two or three different wines by the glass and some music would help for the end of the day. I would also prefer a simple membership fee structure (w/o joining fee, minimum membership period etc) and an "everyone is welcome" policy for admission.

    29.     Team Training nights drills and stuff Please make this happen!

    30.     Location location location in short. The present location is perfect for me. I hope wherever it moves to is as convenient.

    31.     would like the squash courts to be maintained to a high standard of quality. Would also like use of a steam room

    32.     Relax Zone: steam bath and sauna

    34.     Whilst I've put swimming pool as somewhat important, it would increase my attendance and willingness to travel slightly further. A lot depends on the location of the club though.

    35.     badminton

    36.     Perfect club, has a great coach, visiting professionals, membership of county & national leagues, business sponsorship, a lounge to sit down and drink in (read a newspaper), 4-5 teams of all standards. A thriving women's and junior's section. A great shop that sells, rackets, kits, and Squash multi media. Subscriptions to all squash publications. (Good looking receptionists.)

    37.     - Cheap rates for members to play with partners and friends - Separate charge for squash and all area access to keep squash cost down for non members. - PowerPlate and trainer. - Interactive rowing and running machines. - Sauna and steam room.

    38.     near to where I work.

    39.     Well organised competitive leagues covering the full range of abilities

    40.     An owner who won't sell it without consulting the members first! Good luck guys. You have all my support.

    43.     Enthusiastic staff!

    44.     attracting new members constantly. hosting international tournaments. quality, cleanliness and comfort.

    45.     Sauna, steam room, good changing rooms

    46.     I want the number of members restricted, so that I can play squash on a more regular basis without waking up at 6:30am 7 days before a potential game to book a court... even if this means the membership is more expensive.

    47.     you have covered everything!

    48.     a club

    49.     An informal and unpretentious atmosphere Facility for members to take in guests, but limited to X visits Evening "corporate" squash court bookings charged at a premium and limited in number of attendees Ability to arrange for member(s) to offer/sponsor training for local schools, probably secondary schools

    50.     Nothing to add but I agree entirely with the idea that a club 'should smell like a sports club'. I will miss that about Lambs.

    51.     Ideally some form of member ownership scheme to avoid being at the whim of a single investor who wants to cash out on his property investment.

    52.     The same friendly spirit and squash focus as at Lambs when it was at its best. Encouraging members to be part-owners and making it a centre for squash excellence in the City should do the trick. That excellence could come from many sources: pro involvement, great coaching, inspirational operation, youth involvement, joining the national league (again).

    53.     Good range of fitness classes: aerobics; yoga; pilates; boxercise; etc.

    54.     Sauna/steam room.

    55.     Open until 11pm. Active Club leagues. Active Club team squash. Good coaching availability. Emphasis on longer (50-80 min) court bookings - who can play a league match in a 40 min court? Sauna / Steam room / Jacuzzi. Ability to bring guests for reasonable fee (i.e. not ?.

    57.     Decent showers and roomy changing rooms Efficient air conditioning (in courts & changing rooms) Good lighting in courts Smooth walls in courts Table tennis table

    58.     East city is a problem for me - far from my work

    59.     sauna/steam room

    61.     Decent men's magazines for the gym.

    62.     Sauna, Jacuzzi, viewing gallery, scooter parking (space on kerb)

    63.     need a variety of membership to allow people from different income brackets to join. Many students/young people who have only just started working cannot afford squash club memberships and as a result the younger generation find it hard to play good quality squash regularly and miss out on the squash scene. Maybe a pay as you play system could be in operation for certain people, or a youth system i.e. people under 25/30

    64.     Cycling facilities (racks etc)

    65.     some high backed courts so I can play racquetball!!

    66.     1) Regular competitions without pro's - amateur club championship. 2) Handicap tournaments 3) Arrange days out - perhaps a golf day 4) More social lay out - courts can be viewed from bar area. More glassbacks? 5) Sky TV in gym with ability to plug in via machines 6) Swimming pool and jacuzzi are essential Internet based court booking system is a very good idea - should probably cap number of bookings per user at any one time to avoid abuse. 7) Squash only, Gym only & Squash and Gym memberships.

    68.     Good quality squash players and court availability are my top priorities. A swimming pool would be really nice but not very economic I suspect.

    69.     Good shower and changing facilities

    70.     Safe (indoor) storage for bikes. Let's make it a greed club!

    71.     juniors should have restricted playing times

    72.     Cleanliness and awareness by members of health issues 


    Any other comments - seriously anything is important to us

    1.  I have been very happy with the way lambs has been running and am disappointed about the closure, but think the new costs from February are shocking and would hope the new club was a one cost per month situation, I am aware that other clubs such as wimbledon rackets do charge their members court hire on top of the monthly fee but it is such a small amount ie, 2 pounds per hour I think, but the monthly fee is only about 28 pound. this is the reason I have and will stay at lanbs if it is financially viable, I want to walk into the club and play for as long as I want if it means the price is slightly more well I am happy to wear that! good luck in finding a venue and keep me posted.

    2.  Bike racks, and lockers that don't require you to bring your own lock. A great club night (i.e. open courts) is key, preferably two nights per week, maybe even a third time slot on Sat/Sun mornings.

    3.  Personally, I joined lambs on a good deal. I pay ?per month and I really enjoy the facilities. I would not be willing to pay much more than I currently do as I could get similar facilities from the municipal leisure centres near by. I also feel that adding a ?ee to courts at peak time (as has happened at Lambs) is insulting.

    4.  Hi. I would consider buying a debenture if there were some associated financial benefits such as reduced membership. I think the charging structure depends upon the facilities you are offering. If you only have squash courts (no gym, exercise classes) I would prefer a low monthly subscription with higher court costs as I would probably have to join a gym as well. If you provided a gym and classes as well then I would be happy to pay ?per month, and then ?er hour for courts.

    5.  I'd like to know where Fitness First are in all this. They didn't appear to be providing much support to the efforts to stop the redevlopment.

    6.  I would hesitate to pay a great deal more than I did as a member (subsidised by my company) of Lambs. Will corporate discounts be possible - otherwise it starts to look like poor value for money (from my relatively junior position).

    7.  impt to trade off sufficient #/member against realistic prospect of getting enough members and/or incentivising enough current lamb's members to transfer

    8.  Just after simple but plentiful squash facilities. It's not that all the extras wouldn't be attractive, but I can smell very high membership fees. These are the most likely thing to put me off joining.

    9.  Q34, do you mean passes for non-member visitors? I think we should charge decent monthly membership and cheaper (i.e. ?guest passes so more non-members can come and use the facility, as their visit is an opportunity to recruit new members. But if the visitor is not accompanied by a member, then he should pay ?

    10.     Membership Fees should consist of Joining Fee @ ?-500, Annual Fee ? plus Redeemable Debentures ?0-?0.

    12.     Keep up the amazingly good work Ken!!

    13.     For me the most important thing is a decent number of squash courts/players rather than a very smart looking club ie lambs might have been a little run-down but I didn't mind

    14.     swimming pool is nice but I wd think changes the cost analysis significantly

    15.     I am a student so cash is important, ask in 5 years when I qualify as a doctor and it might be different though

    16.     The only other sports club I've been to that has the same keenness amongst its members is the Hallamshire in Sheffield. One way they manage to boost the usage of the squash courts is to encourage Racquet-ball, which has become more popular than squash. It tends to appeal more to people that haven't played squash before, since its less daunting to get into. This could open up the potential membership dramatically.

    17.     location is everything

    18.     Friendly staff Very much like well run internal leagues and team squash.

    19.     Answers to 31/32 is based on what I consider what the current Lambs facilities are worth to me - could be adjusted up or down depending on what is on offer at the new club. I am concerned about the proposed location Lambs is currently on the Western fringe of The City why are you proposing the Eastern fringe - depending on where this actually is may impact the value to me and others on the Western side of The City ?

    20.     I would play squash outside of usual busy hours, probably from 3pm to 5pm, if there was an initiative to join to use the squash courts just within these hours, then it would be agreeable. Then if I wanted to play during a busy time I would have no problem paying the ?hr. The gym I would use after work so this does not count. A sauna would be an added bonus too.

    21.     I guess, like me, many people want to play at lunchtime as they have a club at home where they can play in the evenings. Therefore 60 mins courts should not be allowed as they would take up too much of the lunch period and restrict the number of people that can play. Also, in the hope that there will be an oversubscription for the club, membership should be capped to avoid too much pressure on court bookings. In this context a joining fee seems sensible. Although many things could be provided at a club the absolute necessities of clean, quality courts and decent, a/c changing rooms, are the essentials. Anything else is secondary.

    22.     No need to do this too cheaply. You have the highest net wealth encatchment in the country.

    23.     Would pay more membership if there are no court fees.

    24.     Keep up the good work trying to find a new home for Lambs!

    25.     Keep it simple and focused. Don't try to beat Holmes Place/Virgin Active for example at what it does. It is not aiming its facilities at Squash Players as it sees squash as a low revenue activity on a per person per square metre basis.

    26.     Day lockers must be present. The club might consider full laundry service (shorts, shirts, etc.), provided, if there is interest; this was quite nice at Boston Racquet Club in the US. Court usage should be included in a squash membership to encourage play; those not interested could purchase a gym membership.

    27.     I am not a member, but Lambs is 'famous'. It is sad that this flagship of our sport is closing. If there is anyway it can survive, non-Lambs squash players will support.

    28.     For me the location is more important than the cost within reason. My membership is subsidised by my company.

    29.     attraction for Lambs to me is I am close enough from work to be able to play squash/go to gym at lunchtime, to continue to be able to do this would be a major factor in me joining a future Lambs Club

    30.     This club needs to remain accessible to all types of people in the City, not just wealthy city workers. I work for a university, and would not be able to afford astronomical prices. I think you would also dissuade junior members if fees and other costs were extremely high. I can't imagine, one a member, anyone would pay for court, and I certainly could afford ?0 debenture.

    31.     I think like a lot of people I'd commit to more once a location is advertised. I know this might be a chicken and egg situation, but committing to somewhere that will take me 20-30 minutes travel, when I play mostly in my lunch hour, just wouldn't work.

    32.     Must foster social side of the game! Must foster women's and junior squash. Club must be comfortable and clean with well maintained courts. Footwear standards must be maintained. Canteen should have good quality food and a good bar that serves beer and lager. (White wine for the ladies.) Children should be welcome on weekends. Doubles/Racket ball should be encouraged for the "less mobile". The club should have social members that can view squash from the balconies. Finally, avoid reliance on purely City clientele and make the place a proper sports club with championship boards going back years.

    33.     Maybe make available a meeting room/area that companies could use for events. Would be a useful source of income.

    35.     Creation of a 'club-culture; is important - club nights, tours to other clubs, teams nights et/c...

    36.     in order to make the club work I suspect that it would have to be less exclusively membership based which is fine, plus happy to pay membership and then a court booking fee



Since before she was born Annika (5) has been an assiduous visitor to Lambs with her squash playing parents. Lately she's been having squash lessons from her Dad and shows talent. Last week her Dad told her the developers had won and Lambs was to be pulled down. Annika said nothing but at school that day she went round the playground collecting her schoolmates names on a petition she made. In a mixture of English and Chinese characters,  it says,  "save  my club". In time Annika might have become a Lambs squash star but now, well we may never know.

Why Islington should buy Lambs

Email to Cllr James.Kempton   Leader of Islington Council,
Dear Councillor
Thank you for your response regarding a proposal for the compulsory purchase of Lambs Squash Club.   We note your concerns and while we appreciate that the facility is of more than just local importance – indeed its national and strategic importance is what makes its retention and our approach for a CPO so critical –   our understanding and advise is that compulsory purchase orders are the prerogative of local authorities alone.  

We   believe that the 25 years of squash expertise and   know-how available at Lambs   - the Wimbledon of Squash in Islington - are valuable assets that should not be lost to this borough. They will be of considerable use in furthering local authority initiatives for   improving   sports facility availability particularly among younger people in Bunhill,   classified among the most deprived wards in the borough.

The protection of built sports facilities is an imperative established by central government and accepted without argument by planning authorities across the country.   PPG 17 protection   was drawn up   with this in mind and as a result sets a very high barrier for developers to overcome.   PPG 17 is a sufficient justification for a CPO in this case.

The Healthcare Commission   published a report –Tackling Child Obesity - First Steps on
February 28th 2006 advocating a range of approaches   to curb the obesity problem and including encouraging and supporting healthy eating and physical activity, particularly in schools.

In addition the Liberal Democrats own Policy Paper on Sport encourages active cooperation between schools and local sports facilities to provide opportunities for wider sport participation for youngsters at an early age -- Lambs fits this bill perfectly.

The nine squash courts   available at Lambs,   once open seven days a week, would be a valuable contribution to boosting the practice of sport among   schools and youth organisations in the area . According to Councillor Donna Boffa of Bunhill Ward this would help meet the concerns of local Councillors by extending spare-time activities to keep local youth off the streets and out of trouble.

We understand your budgetary concerns but we are convinced that in terms of the recently outlined Development Brief for Lamb's Passage you would be well within your rights and in the public interest, to acquire this facility under CPO.   Funding alternatives could be forthcoming.

Indeed we ourselves obtained a report from planning consultants that shows a redevelopment of the existing site, retaining in full the existing squash and gym facilities and to include three stories of accommodation above, is feasible and once the accommodation were sold off, would still provide a residual profit of some £214,569.  Hence your council would not be out of pocket should it decide to pursue a CPO and accept the redevelopment proposal   example drawn up by our consultants.  
Kind regards
Ken Pottinger
Lambs Action Team








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