Club: London Welsh
Stadium Name Old Deer Park
Stadium Address 187 Kew Road
Telephone 01865 717661
Club Web Site:
Home Colours: Red
Away Colours: Black
League (2016/17) Greene King IPA Championship
For Fixtures go to:
London Welsh: Stadiums Past,Present …..and Future
In 1885 at a Fleet Street hotel, a group of Welshmen met to discuss the formation of a rugby club for fellow countrymen in exile and London
Welsh (Clwb Rygbi Cymry llundain) was born.
The club’s first game was on October 24 1885 against London Scottish,
but after nine years the club were forced to disband. However, within a year the club was reformed, but still had the problem of a lack of a permanent home ground allied to persistent financial difficulties.
Enter in 1905 the captain of Wales, Willie Llewellyn. He proposed that the WRU refuse to cap any welsh player living in London unless they played for London Welsh. The ploy worked, with the club now based at the Queen’s Club. Following their time spent there the Welsh then played at the County Ground in Leyton, and then the Memorial Ground, West Ham, taking over from West Ham United after they transferred to Upton Park.
The five years before the First World War were spent at the Heathfield Ground, Wandsworth, that had been vacated by Harlequins when they moved to the new RFU ground at Twickenham.
After the War ended the nomadic Welsh moved to Herne Hill, where they remained until 1957, with one season away at Surbiton. However, it was the relocation to Old Deer Park that would mark the most prominent years in London Welsh’s history and the establishment of their spiritual home. The most renowned rugby of London Welsh was played between 1966 and 1973 and it is this period many remember as the golden years.
But the late 80’s were a difficult time for the Welsh as tough economic conditions saw a freeze on the number of top class Welsh players coming to London. At the same time league rugby was introduced and the club slid ominously into the Fifth Division South. But the club battled back and at the start of the 2008/09 season decided to go fully professional.
This air of optimism turned sour as the club was placed into administration in June 2009. Thankfully this was short-lived, and in May 2012 the Welsh beat the Cornish Pirates in both legs
of the Championship play-off final. The club followed up victory on the pitch with another off it, as it won its appeal against the RFU and the club took its place in the Aviva Premiership for the
2012/13 season. This meant playing their home games at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, in a ground-share with League two side Oxford
After three seasons in Oxford, and demotion to the Championship, after a winless Premiership season, London Welsh decided to return to south-west London. For the 2015/16 season they will play at Old Deer Park, “but will continue to look at other facilities appropriate for hosting top level rugby.”
Last Updated July 2016
Copyright Miles & Miles Publishing 2016