An investigation into the founder of Balham CC, George Huntley, reveals an intriguing web of South London sportsmen, publicans and freemasons.
We know from previous research that Huntley founded the club in 1897 and the Balham Hotel (now The Regent) was used as the club HQ from 1897 until 1926. New findings show a man seemingly destined for the pub trade, well established in the Masonic lodges of South London and who had links to another legendary London sports club still going today.
George Richard Huntley was born on the 25th April 1868 and baptised at St Leonard’s, Streatham on 26th August 1869. He was exposed to pub life at an early age, with his father Richard William Huntley the publican and his mother Susanna the assistant at the Pied Bull, Streatham. The family’s pub roots can however, be traced back as far as the late 1700s. On his mother’s side both sets of Great-Grandparents had family members in the Victualler trade, as were his Great-Great-Grandparents Edward and Mary Lilley.
The first evidence of George’s involvement in the Freemasons is from a members scroll dated 1889. He was still paying dues right up until his death in 1920. He belonged to the South Norwood Lodge, Balham Lodge and Panmure Lodge at various points in his life and rose to the office of Worshipful Master of the latter, the highest honour to which a lodge may appoint any of its members, in 1901.
The members’ scrolls are full of traders and shopkeepers from the local area and include Balham CC connections and those involved in the licenced victualler trade.
South London Harriers
In the club review of the first 50 years, George Huntley is described as man of some sporting repute. Frustratingly we’ve never been able to ascertain what sports he gained this status. Until now. A number of reports have him running for the famous South London Harriers and involved in the organisation of race days.
We’ll delve into more detail on each of these areas of his life in the next three blogs starting with family life and his connection to the publican/victualler trade.
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Freemasons – Wikipedia