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However, in those days, membership of such clubs was known to be confined exclusively to ' Gentlemen Amateurs', although it seems that some members didn't always behave like gentlemen.

It so happened that at a banquet in "The King's Head", Roehampton, following a prestigious cross country challenge match between Thames Hare & Hounds and "All Comers" at Roehampton on October 28th 1871, Ernest Smith approached the 25 year-old Uppingham School alumnus, Charles Henry Larrette (b. 9/5/1913), who had run well in the race for the "All-Comers" that afternoon.

It was no surprise that he soon left the PAAC after disputes over either the habit of smoking in the Club's changing room or his questionable impartiality as their handicapper, or both.

It seems that Ernest Smith was at the centre of these disputes, although whether he was a smoker or non-smoker is not clear.

In 1873, our active membership had risen to 108 members.

Our first cross country (CC) training-run was described by the South London Chronicle as the "Inauguration of a New Pack (i.e. This true beginning for SLH took place on January 13th, 1872, in the form of a ' Hare & Hounds' run, in which. Beaumont Kent acted as the ' Hare' and started at 3.45pm in the direction of Dulwich, whilst the ' Hounds' (all the other runners) including Charles Larrette & J.

Before that time, it is very doubtful whether times, distances and heights were taken and measured with sufficient accuracy to make reliable records.

This may well have owed something to our custom in those days of forming groups to go on tour at weekends and in the holidays to compete in various summer athletics meetings around the country.

The formation of clubs, for adults, for the specific purpose of promoting recreational and competitive amateur athletics was a new development in the sports world of the mid-19th century.

The mansion and the grounds (from 1965 called ' Belair' Park) were sited on the corner of Gallery Road, Dulwich, and Thurlow Park Road that forms part of what is now the A205 South Circular Road.

In those early days of organised athletics our members, though few in number, soon gained the soubriquet of the "Irrepressibles" due to their habit of winning 1st, 2nd or 3rd place prizes in almost every track & field open meeting in the 1870s.

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