“The Lensbury Club (“Lensbury Social and Athletic Club”) was established in 1920, as a sports club for Shell staff in the United Kingdom – one of the driving forces behind its formation was Dutchman Henri Deterding, one of the original founders of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, who was a fitness fanatic. Land was acquired in Broom Road, Teddington, for playing fields and within a year, there were active sections in Cricket, Rugby, Football, Rowing, Ladies Hockey, Tennis and Chess. Between 1920 and the beginning of the Second World War, significant additions to the Lensbury estate were made with property and land purchases on both sides of Broom Road.
In 1933, the club merged with “Britannic House”, a similar club operated by BP, and created a joint venture known as the “Lensbury and Britannic House Associated Clubs” – an arrangement that lasted for 30 years. In 1938, a new clubhouse was opened which comprised 162 bedrooms, a dining room, a ballroom and many other facilities. During the war years, club activities were suspended and Lensbury became a Shell office and some of the sports grounds were ploughed up to grow vegetables.
The name Lensbury was coined in 1920 from part of the names of Shell’s two London offices at the time which were located at St Helens Court, in Bishopsgate and at 16, Finsbury Circus, also in the City of London. The name took the “Lens” from “Helens” and the “bury” from “Finsbury”. For most of its existence, Lensbury had a logo which reflected its Shell ownership and essential purpose as a benefit for Shell employees. When this purpose was changed in the 1990s, the logo was also changed and today, there is little or no overt sign of Shell’s ownership at the clubhouse. “The” was added to the title. The present day hotel and conference facility is now called The Lensbury.
“The Lensbury” is a name sometimes also given to the Bridges Handicap Race, a traditional running race which starts and finishes on the Albert Embankment, near to Shell Centre in London.
In 2002, Shell/Lensbury proceeded with a civil lawsuit against former Lensbury team sport players who had sought to retain the Lensbury name for (e.g.) their rugby team. Shell/Lensbury won the case on trademark grounds. After losing the rights to continued use of the “Lensbury” name, Lensbury Rugby Football Club renamed themselves “LockSide RFC”.”