BRITISH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS (from 1922)
It was the Women’s British Open that was initiated first in 1922 (played twice that year), before the Men’s followed in 1930.
Initially, until the seventh edition the Women’s was played in a single pool before final knockout rounds between the top four players. The last of six pool events saw the scoring altered from 15 to 9 points per game (scored with serve, rather than point-a-rally).
The Men’s event took a different route to pools. At the start of 1930 the Squash Rackets Association started the British Open for men by designating a champion who would be challenged in a best of three tie, the first of which took place at the end of that year.
Prize money of GB£100 was split with two thirds going to the winner – with the proviso that if funding did not reach £100 the loser would need to make up the money for the winner. And if one of the players were an amateur the whole prize purse would be given to the professional, whether he won or not.
The first match was played at the club of the holder while the challenger would be at home for the second. Were the wins to be shared the deciding match would be played at a neutral venue to be decided by the SRA.
There were no deciders needed in the period until 1947 when the event moved to a knockout format.
Until the Men’s & Women’s World Open Championships were initiated in 1976, the British Open was considered to be the World title and benchmark for the success of a career.
(In 1976 the first Men’s World Open title was played for in addition to the British Open).
In 1969 the Men’s event used a glass backwall for the first time when it moved to the Abbeydale Club in Sheffield, and the 1980 the Men’s final rounds were played on a demountable glass back-wall court built at the Wembley Conference Centre in North London.
In 1983 a four sided clear (Perspex) showcourt was used for the first time at the Derby Assembly Rooms before the showcourt was taken to the Wembley Conference Centre.
It was just after the landmark 1982 championship which saw the Men’s & Women’s events staged together for the first time.
While upon occasion two events were played in some years and not in others to deal with its movement before or after new year (see Factsheet), it has been essentially an annual title with the exception of the World War Two years, 2010 & 2011 when England Squash (was earlier called SRA) failed to find sponsorship, and 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.