London - London Welsh's proud 131 year old history came to an end on Wednesday as they announced they were going into voluntary liquidation because of an 'unsustainable' financial situation.
The 'Exiles' - who with seven players on the historic victorious 1971 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand still hold the record for the number of players from one club in the squad - were issued with a second winding-up petition by Revenue authorities in October after they did not receive proposed investment.
The club - who had two disastrous one season stays in the English Premiership - hope to reform as a semi-professional side in 2017, playing at their current Old Deer Park ground in the London suburb of Richmond where they moved back to in 2015 after three years in Oxford.
"Having to break the news to 40 staff members was extremely difficult," said chairperson Gareth Hawkins.
London Welsh were fifth in the second tier just a point off the playoff places when the bad news fell but Hawkins said the returns from ticket sales didn't come anywhere near covering costs.
"Due to a playing budget of £1.7m and gates at games numbering as low as 400, the club's current business model is totally unsustainable," said Hawkins.
London Welsh's hopes of avoiding such a denouement looked good when they had a winding-up petition dismissed in September after agreeing a takeover with a United States-based American investment group, but the deal was never completed.
"In the New Year, it is the hope and intention of the board that London Welsh will be able to return to playing at Old Deer Park," Hawkins said.
"However, it will first be necessary to change the club's business model to a semi-professional set-up and form a new company, and then raise £300 000 so that the club can regain a position within the Championship."