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[edit]

London League Division Two[edit]

London League Premier Division[edit]

London League Division One A[edit]

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

Year Premier Division Division One Division Two
1920–21 Barking Town Sterling Athletic Wall End United
1921–22 Grays Athletic Barking Town reserves Wall End United
1922–23 Custom House Millwall United Hendon Town
1923–24 Leyton S T D Athletic Savoy Hotel

In 1924, Division Two was disbanded

Year Premier Division Division One
1924–25 Leyton Bromley reserves
1925–26 Leyton Bromley reserves
1926–27 Grays Athletic Callender Athletic
1927–28 Epsom Town Beckenham
1928–29 Mitcham Wanderers Holland Athletic
1929–30 Grays Athletic Park Royal
1930–31 Chelmsford Park Royal
1931–32 Park Royal Chelmsford reserves
1932–33 Park Royal Leavesden Mental Hospital
1933–34 Park Royal Eton Manor
1934–35 Park Royal Northmet
1935–36 Leavesden Mental Hospital Ford Sports
1936–37 Finchley Briggs Motor Bodies
1937–38 Eton Manor Northmet
1938–39 Dagenham 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

Year Eastern Division Western Division
1945–46 Edgware Town Woolwich Polytechnic

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

Year Premier Division Division One
1946–47 Chelmsford City reserves Dagenham British Legion

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

Year Premier Division Division One Division Two
1947–48 Chelmsford City reserves Cheshunt West Thurrock Athletic
1948–49 Guildford City reserves Cheshunt Vickers
1949–50 Cheshunt Vickers Bata Sports
1950–51 Dartford reserves Aveley Woodford Town reserves
1951–52 West Thurrock Athletic London Transport Pitsea United
1952–53 Eton Manor Storey Athletic Wapping Sports

In 1953, Division Two was disbanded

Year Premier Division Division One
1953–54 Eton Manor London Transport
1954–55 Aveley Wapping Sports
1955–56 Eton Manor Bata Sports

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

Year Champions
1956–57 Cray Wanderers
1957–58 Cray Wanderers
1958–59 Tilbury
1959–60 Tilbury
1960–61 Tilbury
1961–62 Tilbury
1962–63 Chingford

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

Year Premier Division Division One
1963–64 Epping Town CAV Athletic

Member clubs[edit]


  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 Free to read
  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.