Tag Archives: Long Acre

The origins of football and The Freemasons Arms

As a fan of football (soccer) and having read in the book “366 Historias del Fútbol Mundial“, by Alfredo Relaño (in Spanish, 768 pages – I posted about it here), about the English pub in which the Football Association was founded on the 26th October 1863, I set out to visit that place in my last trip to London.

On that first day the first rules for the game were drafted, such as the ruling out of the use of hands for the field players. That moment marked the departure between football and rugby.

A view of what and how it happened can be seen in the documentary “Fútbol, el nacimiento de una pasión”,  by Jesús Sánchez (2005, in Spanish – an acquaintance of the family), which covers the origins of football from prehistoric games.

The explanation given by the book has an error. It states that the creation of the football association took place at The Freemasons Arms located at Great Queen Street. That pub in fact is not there but in other street: Long Acre street, about 100 metres away.

The Wikipedia provides a plausible explanation: the foundation of the Football Association took place at the Freemasons’ Tavern, but that pub apparently was demolished and to continue its business the Freemasons Arms was built, which is not the same but apparently claims the legacy of the former. The Freemasons’ Tavern would have been indeed located at Great Queen Street where the new Freemasons Hall is located today. If that is the case, the Wikipedia article or the book may have another error since one states the foundation took place in 1863 and the other says that the original pub was demolished in 1860

I went there to check the pub and to enjoy myself worshipping the origins of such a game as football.

I was quite disappointed with what I viewed; as there is only a small shrine in a wall with some pieces remembering the relation of the pub with football. I asked one of the bar tenders and she barely had an idea of what the relation was.

Sadly, a piece of history seems to be lost.

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