Merseyside Quiz Leagues

The World's Largest Independent Quiz Leagues

Merseyside has long claimed to be the birthplace of the type of competitive quizzing that might best be called, in the words of Don Yule of Merseyside and London quizzing, "team quizzing", organised into a league format.

Just why the idea of a league competition for quiz teams should have originated on Merseyside is difficult to answer. Of course there are claims from other places, but all the evidence we can find favours our claim to be the oldest. Possibly the competitive, argumentative, and talkative characteristics of the "Average Scouser" had something to do with it, helped by his love of sport. Then, the popularity of quiz shows on television, particularly in the early days of ITV, may well have been a factor, and there is no doubt that having seen something on television, people were often keen to try it out themselves, particularly in the 1950s. Or it may have been a reverse effect – something you could do in your local pub or club and thereby escape from that television set so recently installed in the living room.

It has been suggested that the founders were somewhat "long in the tooth" for physical sports, but found their age no barrier to enjoying a competitive quiz game. Quizzing also began to attract the "brains" who had, perhaps, not found success or enjoyment at darts or snooker, but who now found that here was something at which they could do well. Then the natural processes of meeting people, making friends (and enemies, or at least rivals!) must have contributed.

However, much of this is merely speculation. What can be said is that the idea sprang up in Bootle in 1959. Friendly quizzes were often being held in the area. One evening, at the Mount Hotel, following a chance remark by Eric Powell suggesting that quizzing could “be operated on a wider scale [which] everyone seemed to think was a good idea” it was decided to establish a league (Jack Robinson, Liverpool Echo, 30th October, 1963). On Tuesday, July 28th 1959 a meeting to start a Quiz League was held at the Mount Hotel in Bootle. The meeting was chaired by Bill Brady, licensee of the Mount Hotel, with Jim Howard as secretary. Officers were elected, and such items as question setting, fixtures, rules, and the provision of a trophy were discussed. The very first Merseyside Quiz League(s) matches took place on October 5th that year. The teams taking part were Mount, Mount Ladies, Grapes, British Railways, Scott's, Derby Arms, Captain's Green, and Brooke Bond, while Chadburns had no game that first week. Later in the season Taverners joined, and St Robert Bellarmine's took over from Brooke Bond. This gave a ten team league,