London League (football)

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The London League was a football competition that was held in the London and surrounding areas of south-east England from 1896 until 1964.


In 1896 the president of the London League was Arnold Hills founder of Thames Ironworks F.C. (which later reformed as West Ham United). One of the men who helped draft the rules of the competition was Francis Payne, club secretary of Thames Ironworks F.C. in 1897. [1] The league started with three divisions, [2] the 3rd Grenadier Guards winning the inaugural championship. [3]

The league fluctuated between having a single division and reaching four divisions. Before World War I, most of the senior London Football League clubs fielded a reserve side in the London League.[ citation needed ]

In 1964, the London League ceased to exist, merging with the Aetolian League to form the Greater London League, which then further merged in 1971 with the Metropolitan League to form the Metropolitan–London League. [4] This later merged into the Spartan League, which in turn merged into the modern Spartan South Midlands League.[ citation needed ]


London League Division One

London League Division Two

London League Premier Division

London League Division One A

In 1920, a third division, known as Division Two was added

YearPremier DivisionDivision OneDivision Two
1920–21Barking TownSterling AthleticWall End United
1921–22 Grays Athletic Barking Town reservesWall End United
1922–23Custom HouseMillwall UnitedHendon Town
1923–24 Leyton S T D AthleticSavoy Hotel

In 1924, Division Two was disbanded

YearPremier DivisionDivision One
1924–25LeytonBromley reserves
1925–26LeytonBromley reserves
1926–27Grays AthleticCallender Athletic
1927–28Epsom TownBeckenham
1928–29Mitcham WanderersHolland Athletic
1929–30Grays AthleticPark Royal
1930–31ChelmsfordPark Royal
1931–32Park RoyalChelmsford reserves
1932–33Park Royal Leavesden Mental Hospital
1933–34Park RoyalEton Manor
1934–35Park RoyalNorthmet
1935–36 Leavesden Mental Hospital Ford Sports
1936–37Finchley Briggs Motor Bodies
1937–38Eton ManorNorthmet
1938–39Dagenham Town Briggs Motor Bodies

In 1939, the league was suspended due to the outbreak of World War II. On the resumption of football after the War, nineteen clubs played in the London League, split into Western and Eastern Divisions. Eastern Division champions Woolwich Polytechnic beat Eastern Champions Edgware Town 2–1 in a play-off

YearEastern DivisionWestern Division
1945–46Edgware Town Woolwich Polytechnic

In 1946, the divisions were re-organised, and a new structure of a Premier Division and a Division One was formed

YearPremier DivisionDivision One
1946–47Chelmsford City reservesDagenham British Legion

Within 12 months, enough clubs had joined to form a new Division Two

YearPremier DivisionDivision OneDivision Two
1947–48Chelmsford City reservesCheshunt West Thurrock Athletic
1948–49Guildford City reservesCheshuntVickers
1949–50CheshuntVickersBata Sports
1950–51Dartford reservesAveleyWoodford Town reserves
1951–52West Thurrock AthleticLondon TransportPitsea United
1952–53Eton ManorStorey AthleticWapping Sports

In 1953, Division Two was disbanded

YearPremier DivisionDivision One
1953–54Eton ManorLondon Transport
1954–55AveleyWapping Sports
1955–56Eton ManorBata Sports

In 1956, Division One was disbanded, leaving only a single Senior section

1956–57Cray Wanderers
1957–58Cray Wanderers

In 1963, an increase in the number of clubs led to a reversion to two divisions.

YearPremier DivisionDivision One
1963–64Epping TownCAV Athletic

Member clubs

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  1. Blows, Kirk & Hogg, Tony (2000). The Essential History of West Ham United. Headline. p. 18. ISBN   0-7472-7036-8.
  2. "London Football League". The Middlesex Courier. 21 May 1897. p. 7 via Lock-green.svg
  3. Northcutt, John; Marsh, Steve (2015). West Ham United: The Complete Record. deCoubertin Books. p. 7. ISBN   978-1-909245-27-3.
  4. "Greater London League". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 15 January 2018.