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Blackheath Football Club (The Club) is a rugby football club based in Blackheathmarker in south-east Londonmarker, now playing at the Rectory Field (known as 'The Rec' or 'The Parsonage'). It was founded in 1858 and is the second oldest documented rugby club in Englandmarker after Guy's Hospital Rugby Club which was established in the 1840s (although this is contested). It is the third-oldest rugby club in continuous existence in the world, after Dublin University Football Club and Edinburgh Academical Football Club. The Blackheath club also organised the world's first rugby international (between England and Scotland in Edinburgh on 27 March 1871) and hosted the first international between England and Wales ten years later - the players meeting and getting changed at the Princess of Wales public house. Blackheath, along with Civil Service FC, is one of the two clubs that can claim to be a founder member of both the Football Association and the Rugby Football Union.


Early history

Blackheath Football Club was founded in 1858 by old boys of Blackheath Proprietary Schoolmarker who played a "carrying" game of football made popular by Rugby Schoolmarker. The Club was the first rugby club in the world without restricted membership.

In 1863 the club developed the tactic of passing the ball from player to player as an alternative to the solo break and the "kick and follow-up".

In 1863 Blackheath was a founder member of the Football Association which was formed at the Freemasons' Tavernmarker, Great Queen Street, on Lincoln Inn Fields, London October 26 1863 with the intention to frame a code of laws that would embrace the best and most acceptable points of all the various methods of play under the one heading of "football". Mr Francis Maule Campbell, a member of Blackheath, was elected treasurer. At the fifth meeting Campbell argued that hacking was an essential element of 'football' and that to eliminate hacking would "do away with all the courage and pluck from the game, and I will be bound over to bring over a lot of Frenchmen who would beat you with a week’s practice." At the sixth meeting on December 8 Campbell withdrew Blackheath, explaining that the rules that the FA intended to adopt would destroy the game and all interest in it. Other rugby clubs followed this lead and did not join the Football Association. In this way the great divide between soccer and rugby took place.

In December 1870 Edwin Ash, secretary of Richmond Football Club published a letter in the papers which said, "Those who play the rugby-type game should meet to form a code of practice as various clubs play to rules which differ from others, which makes the game difficult to play." On January 26 1871 a meeting attended by representatives from 22 clubs was held in London at the Pall Mall Restaurantmarker. As a result of this meeting the Rugby Football Union (RFU) was founded. Three lawyers who had been pupils at Rugby School drew up the first laws of the game which were approved in June 1871. The Club is one of seven of the original twenty-one clubs to have survived to this day.

Later history

Blackheath Rugby Club initially played its matches on the heath (meeting and changing at the Princess of Wales public house) but occasional interruptions from spectators led the club to move, initially to a private field (Richardson's Field) in Blackheath before moving to the Rectory Field in 1883.

On 27 March 1871, England (captained by Blackheath's captain and with three other Club players in the 20-strong side) played Scotland at Raeburn Placemarker, Edinburghmarker, losing by one point. This was the first international rugby union game in history. Richardson's Field hosted the first England v. Wales fixture on 19 February 1881, which England won, again with four Club players in the side.

Modern Club

Blackheath FC's first team currently plays in National Division 2 in England, but the club fields many sides.

The ever popular Mini and Junior sections now have their own home ground, based at Kidbrooke Road, Well Hall, London, SE9.

The club provides sections ranging from Under-6's right through to Under-18's, and has experienced success at all levels.

The Mini Section successfully ran its first ever Mini Rugby Festival at Eltham College on 25 November 2007.

Graduates of the club's junior section include several county players, and Frankie Neale who plays for the first team as well as England academy. The club at Under-18 level works in conjunction with London Leisure College to make sure that players with academic commitments do not get tempted away from the game.


Past players

See also :Category:Blackheath F.C. players

Fictional players


  1. Richard Holt,Sport and the British: A Modern History, Oxford University Press, 1990 ISBN 0192852299, p. 86
  2. Steve Lewis, One Among Equals, 2008, pp9-10 (Vertical Editions:London)

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