Honour for first badminton player to wear short shorts

Marjorie Henderson
Marjorie Henderson

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An international badminton player who was the first to cut a dash in short shorts, will be honoured in Portsmouth next week.

Fifteen years after her death, Marjorie Henderson will be celebrated when a blue plaque is installed on her former Old Portsmouth home.

The plaque which will be put on Marjorie Henderson's former home at High Street, Old Portsmouth

The plaque which will be put on Marjorie Henderson's former home at High Street, Old Portsmouth

Born and bred in Portsmouth, she represented England six times between 1933 and 1936 and won the All England Badminton Championships ladies’ doubles on four occasions between the same years.

She was also a much-loved character in the city, one of those who insisted on taking a daily dip in the sea at Old Portsmouth, close to her home.

On Monday, representatives from Badminton England and her sons Roy and Terry will see the plaque commemorating her life attached to her one-time home at High Street, Old Portsmouth – the house in which Terry, a former Hampshire and Portsmouth councillor still lives.

As Marjorie Bell she was well known as an international badminton and tennis player and last played in an All England competition in 1958.

Marjorie Henderson on one of her daily dips in the sea at Old Portsmouth

Marjorie Henderson on one of her daily dips in the sea at Old Portsmouth

She died, aged 95, in 2000, but in an interview with The News when she was 63, she said: ‘I was the first international badminton player to wear short shorts.

‘I suppose I was always considered to have good legs and I liked the shorts, so I wore them.’

In 1933 she played her first badminton match and, within 12 months, was playing in the All England final, the Wimbledon of badminton players.

Marjorie, who was always known at Marje, was a member of the Falcon Tennis Club and she won the Portsmouth Coronation Cup for women’s singles and dozens of other cups which she won outright.

The ceremony will take place at midday outside 103 High Street, Old Portsmouth.