The newly launched £19.2 million The Silverstone Experience (TSE) opened its doors in 2019 at the entrance to the circuit, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. In March 2020 Prince Harry and Lewis Hamilton opened the collections as two of its leading patrons, and with a commitment to greater diversity, also an important aim of the education programme. With commanding views from the café area over the infield, as well as parts of the circuit, the exhibitions and archive spaces are housed in a refurbished World War Two aircraft hangar. The overall aim of the visitor attraction is to ensure that the heritage of Silverstone and post-war British motor racing is interpreted today, and protected for future generations. Where does the new audience strategy sit within that wider mission?
Developing New Audiences
New visitor attractions, including museums and heritage offers, often adopt a strategy to draw in new audiences. Silverstone will use contemporary history and sports heritage, particularly to inspire young people in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) subjects. The stated aim is ‘to inspire the next generation of world-class engineers and motorsport experts.’ At the same time, displays celebrate the circuit and the UK’s position at the heart of the global motor sport industry.
The Silverstone Experience will charge visitors to enter, like many independent museums in the UK, and there will be challenges in attracting young people under the age of eighteen as a distinct population. Currently, the footfall at the circuit is over-reliant upon adult white male racing fans over the age of forty attending for specific events, mainly through the Spring, Summer and Autumn. One key purpose in establishing TSE is to encourage more diverse visitor groups year-round, especially education groups and varied family and friendship groups.
One of the most historic circuits on today’s Formula One calendar, the use of the circuit is much more diverse than one large race, once a year, with important motorcycle, sports car, classic car and cycling events. Most days of the year, the circuit is in use and operates very much as a year-round business. What is there at the attraction for someone who is not a motor sport fan? This is a key problem for sporting museums and heritage offers in developing new audiences.
Local History and Early Modern History
Straddling the counties of Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire, in prehistoric times the area is likely to have been wooded. The area was wooded under the Domesday survey of 1086, and under Royal control. Evidence suggests activity in the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. Late Iron Age and Early Romano-British pottery were recovered during demolition and excavation work begun in 1941 to establish an airfield on the site. Digs continued for over a decade after the World War Two.
Foundations of St. Thomas a Becket Chapel remain close to ‘Chapel corner’ on the Silverstone racetrack. The circuit is also close to the Roman Road between Towcester and Alcester, and a monastic house, Luffield Abbey, lay nearby. Today, Abbey and Luffied are both turns on the circuit. The Abbey was taken under the protection of Edward I, and only three inmates remained by 1493. Following the dissolution of the monasteries, the land passed into the ownership of a series of land holdings. Throughout the Eighteenth Century, Luffield Abbey remained attached to Stowe through a succession of inheritance. Luffield Abbey is one of few ancient parishes in the country with no church at its centre. The only extant remains from the Priory is a fishpond, and the stones from the Priory building are thought to have been incorporated into Luffield Abbey Farm. The ominous sounding Maggots Moor, next to the village of Whittlebury, is referenced in Maggots bend. All of this history is covered at the start of the visit to The Silverstone Experience.
Landscape and Gardening History
In 1711, a new Head Gardener, Charles Bridgeman, was appointed at Stowe Woods. Formerly part of the medieval Whittlewood Forest, Stowe was incorporated into an innovative landscape design, integrating woodlands and ridings and a carriage drive known as Northampton Drive with gate lodges. An example of British forest gardening, pioneered by Lord Cobham with Charles Bridgeman in collaboration with the architect Sir John Vanbrugh, Stowe was a substantial and complex design, combining straight ridings, or gallops, and sinuous paths set in woodland, with a series of key vistas onto local landmarks.
Stowe House, woods and ridings remain today of exceptional landscape significance, not just because Bridgeman would go on to become the Royal Gardener, but also because they formed a key historical transition between the fashion for formal symmetrical gardens at large country houses, based on French designs, and the British Forest style. Fans of Hampton Court, Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park and Richmond will enjoy Bridgeman’s earlier work at Stowe.
Agricultural and Military History
Luffield Abbey Farm appears to have been a modest agricultural business managed by tenant farmers, up until the site was requisitioned by the Air Ministry at the start of the Second World War. The farm buildings retain eighteenth and nineteenth century elements; and today form the core of the heritage area of the site which used to house the British Racing Driver’s Club (BRDC) archive, also familiarly known as the BRDC Farmhouse.
The development of the site to become a Bomber Command Airfield, was originally intended as a satellite to Bicester, but the airfield opened in March 1943 as a Royal Air Force Bomber Command Station in its own right, and was used by an Operational Training Unit No.17. The airfield consisted of three concrete runways and a perimeter track, and the site was equipped with aircraft hangars, accommodation blocks and a control tower, responsible for the training of bomber crews, mainly for night-time raids into occupied Europe, flying Vickers Wellington Bombers. The site is estimated to have accommodated around 2000 airmen and up to 200 Women's Auxiliary Air Force members (WAAFs) at the height of its operational power. Women pilots flew in the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) and others worked in as wireless and telegraph roles, meteorology, radar, catering, parachute packing and administration. WAAFs also worked with codes and ciphers, analysed reconnaissance photos and performed intelligence operations, so there is a rich history of women in STEMM on which to base education work.
Aircrews mainly trained on Wellingtons in order to learn how to operate a heavy bomber in preparation for conversion to flying in Lancasters and Stirlings. Alongside the instructors and trainees, the airfield had support and maintenance crew, the WAAFs mentioned above, and security servicemen from other regiments.. A memorial remains on site to six aircrew killed on 3 October 1943, and survivors like Sergeant Reg Hyde, although badly burned, were treated with the latest medical technology as members of the well-known ‘Guinea Pig Club.’
The airfield was closed in 1946, and in 1948 was converted into a motor racing circuit, initially utilising the runways and perimeter track and after much informal racing had taken place.
The circuit hosts a wealth of stories and artefacts that have been hidden from the public eye, including about the Wellington Bomber days and the critical part that the airfield played in the Second World War. Wellington Straight and Hangar Straight on the existing Formula One circuit memorialise this history. Oral history and family memories augment the existing artefact collections, and broaden the appeal. For instance, in 2017, I interviewed Liz Zettle who had first attended the circuit with her husband, who was a Housemaster at Stowe School, and had later volunteered and then worked at Silverstone for several decades, during race days and in the ticket office. Liz was one hundred years old at the time of our interview and her memories of the circuit’s development will be shared, like many other oral histories, through audio-visual displays, along with other important voices. This much longer history should be of interest to those who are not keen on motor racing, and help in developing new audiences. Meanwhile the highly interactive tech zone, with the opportunity to handle the various elements which support the innovation in elite level engineering also provide accessible ways into the collections.
The British have long loved the idea of a revival of the Ancient Greek Olympic Games. Robert Dover reinvented the existing Cotswold Games as annual ‘Olimpick’ celebrations of sport in 1612, and, these ran until 1642. The Annalia Dubrensia, was a collection of poems written in celebration of the games, first published by Dover in 1636. Contributors include Michael Drayton, Ben Jonson, Thomas Heywood and others, with the first edition published in 1636 by Matthew Walbancke of the Gray's Inn gateway. So, although the literary value of the poems is slight, we have some sense of what Dover himself was like, and the form of his festivities. It was common for the use of the term Olympic, and its various spellings in Early Modern literature, to stand for a guarantee of quality, virtue and of seriousness rather than to replicate what had happened in the Ancient Greek Games. But what do we know about Robert Dover and why he hosted these events? Now they are revived as part of the ‘Merrie England’ industry, particularly in the context of the so-called Cultural Olympiad related to the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. But they had a much sharper political focus.
Robert Dover seems to have been a Norfolk-born barrister of Gray's Inn. In the period between his birth (given by some authors as 1575 and others as 1582) and 1612 there are a few known facts about Dover that can be corroborated. Born at Great Ellingham, Norfolk, son of John Dover of the lesser gentry, a Robert Dover was admitted to Queens’ College Cambridge as a sizar at thirteen in 1595 and matriculated the same year, but did not take a degree (if the dating is correct he would have avoided taking an oath compulsory at fourteen which may have been against his Catholic beliefs). A Robert Dover had also been placed by his father as a servant to a priest at Wisbech Castle and, in 1599, was among those examined by Lord Burghley's Commissioners seeking out recusants in Norfolk. Since the parish registers for Great Ellingham did not begin until 1630 it is difficult to be sure. The possible link with Catholicism, it has been suggested, was the common ground between Dover and Endymion Porter, his later employer and patron.
It is generally given that Robert was one of four and followed his elder brother Richard and elder sister Anne (a barrister and married to a lawyer respectively) as the land and houses around Saintbury and Evesham, sold or seized by Henry VIII, became subject to resale, settlement and other subsequent legal proceedings. The surviving legal documents are useful for tracing Dover as neither his marriage certificate nor the birth certificates of his daughters seem to have survived. In June 1611 he assigned a lease for a house called Pinckes and it is thought that he moved to Saintbury from Chipping Camden that year with wife Sibella, baby daughters Abigail and Sibella and eight-year-old stepson Thomas Sanford. Stepson John was baptized in 1614; son Robert was born and died in 1616.
The Cotswold Games: A Portable Castle and Homer
In 1631 the nephew of the king, Prince Rupert, graced the games with Endymion Porter – indicating the height of fashion for the gentry, some of whom had travelled over sixty miles to attend. That the aristocracy and the common person could attend the same sporting event could be Dover's single biggest innovation and often used as a case for making the games themselves more significant than other rural festivities or Whitsun Ales.
The royal association was perhaps all the more significant because the Dovers were clearly an aspirational clan, whatever their religious beliefs. In spite of holding several leases, Robert Dover owned no land or property, though this did not prevent him from signing his name as a gentleman. An indication of how he saw himself is illustrated by the construction of ‘Dover's Castle’ for the duration of the games. Built of wood, it was reconstructed each year to be sufficiently sturdy to house ‘light guns’ fired to begin events and to make announcements. From 1622 until 1640 Dover became Endymion Porter's legal agent and the latter reportedly provided Dover with the ‘Kings old cloaths, with a Hat and Feather and Ruff, purposely to grace him and consequently the Solemnity’. As master of ceremonies Dover would conduct his games dressed elaborately and alternating between a white horse and the ‘Famous and admirable Portable Fabicke of Dover Castle, her Ordinance and Artillery.’
Dover's innovations to the earlier Cotswold Games included Olympic references, such as a wandering, harp-playing figure dressed as Homer. Not Homer J. Simpson of course, but the assumed author of the two epic poems, the Illiad and The Odyssey. The games and sports included card games and chess held in tents, coursing, handling the pike, horse racing, hunting the hare, leaping, shin-kicking, singlestick fighting, tumbling, foot races and wrestling. Women and girls, men and boys were involved, as the engraving of events suggests.
Why was holding a sporting event so political at this time?
Many Puritans believed holdings such events as Whitsun football matches and Country Games to be, firstly, of pagan origin, and secondly a distraction during church holidays and on Sundays. King James, who enjoyed sport, issued The Book of Sports in May 1618 to say that once people had observed their religious duties on a Sunday, and during holidays, they had a right to respectable leisure. This may be why Dover called his events Olympic, to emphasise their reputable decency. But Puritanism grew after James’ death in 1625, and although The Book of Sports was reaffirmed in 1633 by Charles I to defended the right of respectable leisure after worship, increasing tensions between the king and the Puritans saw the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642 so the Games were ended. By hosting them Dover was emphasising his Royalist sympathies, and they were revived again after Charles II came to the throne but degenerated into rather rowdy and somewhat dangerous events, and were eventually stopped in 1851 by an Act of Parliament.
In 1951 the Festival of Britain saw them revived again, for a respectable twentieth century audience. As the modern International Olympic Committee version of the Olympic Games had begun in 1896, in Greece, and had been held in London in 1908 and 1948, this new festival of sport, made its older namesake more significant. As reported in an article a few years ago on what the public considers to be the Best of British, in the Daily Express, ‘Our favourite things include all the nostalgic symbols of a bygone Britain. … Although we knock it, Britain is still great. Get out and enjoy it.’ Good advice perhaps for 2020, considering all that has happened! When you are next in the Cotswolds look out for Dover’s Hill and imagine what a spectacle it would have been.
New jjheritage.com publication Professor Jean Williams Britain’s Olympic Women: a history (Routledge, 2020) ORCID identifier 0000-0003-3444-4956
We are extremely pleased to announce a new publication on 27 July 2020, called Britain’s Olympic Women: a history, with Routledge. This book looks at women since 1900 who have represented Britain at both Summer and Winter Olympic Games, and increasingly, since 1948, at Paralympic Games too. This has been a long-term project involving research at the International Olympic Committee archives in Lausanne as well as the British Olympic Association collections in London, as well as considerable oral history research with families and Olympians themselves.
You can preview the first chapter here, and find out why the book has taken so long to write.
Early versions of the Games organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after it was founded at the International Athletic Congress at the Sorbonne in 1894 were marked by the interplay of nationalistic discourse and friendly international competition. The inaugural 1896 IOC Olympic Games was hosted at the restored Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, thanks due to the financial and moral support of Greek royal family; businessman George Averoff and public funding. The front cover of the programme was entitled The Olympic Games BC776-AD 1896, and on the rear a collection of sporting paraphernalia hung like a wreath over a cycle race. Importantly, the recreation of Hellenic Olympic tradition had allowed enough time for reinvention, reinterpretation and recreation of ideas and ideals.
Between the first Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 and the 1912 Stockholm Olympiad, the course of the movement was by no means a story of steady progress, and the enterprise was by no means assured. Commerce was absolutely integral to amateur sport. Although there were calls for all future Games to be held in Greece, plans had already been agreed to hold the Paris edition in 1900 alongside the Exposition Universelle.
There remains some debate about if, and how, women took part in the Olympic Games of 1896. It is important to remember that, from the outset, the first few Olympic Games were not merely sporting tournaments, cultural gatherings and artistic competitions, but also significant commercial enterprises. In making the Olympic Games representative of modern sporting contests, the IOC stipulated that: ‘The competitions are rigorously confined to amateurs.’ This would not change until 1988. So what is the structure of the book?
Contents of the Book
British Olympic Pioneers 1900-1912: Chattie, Lottie and Jennie
This chapter focuses on the rise of women’s Olympic competition from 1896 to 1914, focussing on the tennis stars Charlotte ‘Chattie’ Cooper-Sterry, and Lottie Dod. While Cooper would become Britain’s first multiple female Olympic medallist in 1900, Dod would win her silver medal in 1908 as an archer, reflecting her status as Britain’s first great modern woman all-rounder. The chapter then considers how working class swimmer, Jane, or Jennie, Fletcher of Leicester won a relay gold and individual bronze medal in the inaugural female Olympic swimming competitions in Stockholm in 1912. The first chapter shows how women pioneered different technical aspects of their own disciplines, from training regimes, nutrition and clothing technology to managing their roles as elite performers and mothers.
The Olympic Inter-War Revival and the British Olympic Association: Gladys Carson and the 1924 Paris Games
When the Olympic Games began again after World War One, the status of women in British public life had altered immeasurably. Due to their crucial part in the war effort, Antwerp in Belgium hosted the 1920 Games in somewhat restrained circumstances, but the Paris Olympics of 1924 was a more celebratory festival of culture, as well as inaugurating new sporting technologies. As part of the expanding middle classes of inter-war Britain, swimmer Gladys Carson, was able to spend a month in Paris as a young woman and benefitted from life experiences to which only Olympians could have access. Part of a ‘swimming family’ Gladys continued to swim and teach children lifelong. As a home economics teacher, her tastes, and awareness of ‘continental’ lifestyles was passed down to family and her students. The chapter analyses what a Paris-based Olympic Games had to offer participants, and points out that the hopes of the British women’s team in the 1920s rested mainly upon the swimming and diving events, given that track and field athletics for women was not yet an Olympic mainstay, and tennis would disappear from the programme for over fifty years.
Chapter Three Mollie, Joan, Cecilia and Megan: the First All-Female British Olympic Team in 1932
This chapter analyses the status of the British Olympic Association, and its representative women’s teams between the 1928 Winter Olympics in St Moritz and the Winter Games of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936. The broad themes of the chapter continue to be amateur, and voluntary participation, nuanced by social class and by the BOA’s consciousness of international rivalry on a world stage, as the Olympics themselves became increasingly consumerist and technocratic in their staging, and distinctly more hostile as the Berlin Summer Games of 1936 approached. There were many firsts, established in these years from lighting the Olympic flame in the stadium to Hollywood intervening in the staging of the Lake Placid Winter Olympics of 1932. At Lake Placid Britain had its first all-female team, who were four figure skaters whose attendance also nuances our understanding of how amateur sport could benefit from techniques honed in professional environments, such as specializing in a discipline at an early age, and practicing year-round with top level coaching to compete at the highest level. The range and variety of Olympic female competitors expanded considerably in both additional sports and disciplines, although this process was contested and uneven.
The 1936 Berlin Olympic Games: How Gender and Politics Shaped the Career of Athlete Audrey Brown
Track and Field athletics had not had the central place in the women’s programme of the Olympic Games that it had held in the men’s schedule since Athens in 1896, until the Nazi propaganda that defined the 1936 Berlin Games, propelled it to front page news. This chapter explores the politicisation of women’s track and field athletics through the career, and life, of Audrey Brown, who, as Audrey Court, would pioneer increased contraceptive choice for more diverse groups of women after World War Two. One of several brother and sister medallists, Audrey had very different world views to her brother Godfrey, who was the British star of the 1936 Olympic Games. Audrey Court increasingly moved into public life once she retired from amateur athletics, pioneering family planning and contraception advice.
Austerity and the Second London Olympic Games in 1948: How Margaret Wellington Swam to Fame as ‘The Peppy Kid’
This chapter focuses in particular on the career of swimmer, Margaret Wellington and the 1948 London ‘austerity’ Games. It would appear that Margaret was of Jewish descent, although her mother’s maiden name was anglicised. A moral victory for the UK in being able to host such a large event at all, there was much pomp and circumstance at the hospitality events in 1948, and very little money for anything else. The major shifts in the Olympic schedule were the increasingly specialised preparation of amateur athletes, allied with greater technocracy, and the intensified nationalistic discourses around the medal table. But the world was changed irrevocably. The Americans, who had been Britain’s bitterest rivals in 1908, the previous occasion when London had hosted the Games, were now our greatest allies. Britain’s Commonwealth ties were also important. This gave Margaret Wellington life experiences to which the average young woman in post-war Britain would never have access. Swimming was part of Margaret’s fitness regime in her older years, and the memories of her trips a rich source of family history.
Elizabeth II, Britain and Olympic Cold War Rivalries: Equestrian Pat Smythe and the New Elizabethans 1952-1960
A perceived ‘new’ Elizabethan era reinterpreted aspects of British history and popular culture in the 1950s and 1960s following the coronation of young and glamorous monarch Elizabeth II. Equestrian Pat Smythe was well placed to benefit from these narratives. In an age of increased politicization of sport, particularly Cold War politics, competing against larger international rivals, was thought to reveal something about the character of the individual and of wider British identity. Unlike many Olympic sports and disciplines, Smythe pitted herself and her horses as an individual, directly against male and female competitors. Given equestrianism’s military roots as an Olympic sport, Smythe and her horses often appeared to be diminutive adversaries compared with her male co-competitors. Smythe was vivacious; cosmopolitan; multi-talented as both a writer and broadcaster; an accomplished horse trainer; pretty good on skis, and endlessly well-connected. Only too pleased to be cast as a Renaissance woman, at a time when modernity and nostalgia coalesced, Smythe, was one of the most famous sportswomen of her era, and authored her celebrity as much as allowing the media to report on her life. In all of this, the Olympic Games were an amateur footnote, in an otherwise professional career.
Britain’s Olympic Golden Girls and The Changing Media Industry 1964-1984: The Decline of Amateurism and The Rise of Sports Medicine
This chapter covers the decline of amateurism, which had been one of the defining ideals of Olympic competition for most of IOC history. This was a particularly enduring ideal though for British women, as there was an assumed moral superiority in volunteering to represent the British Olympic Association, as opposed to the thorough, and specialist training of Olympic rivals. However because the national medal tables did not differentiate male and female totals, just the combined tally, this meant that Britain’s assumed moral superiority looked like a pyrrhic victory, when compared with the return of other regimes. Although many British women represented the Olympic ideal out of love, they could see that the lack of infrastructure to support their efforts meant that they were hopelessly out-performed. This often meant improvising their own training regimes, with the help of male athletes and coaches. Mary Rand, Ann Packer and others who seemed very modern young women were heralded as the ‘Golden Girls.’ What this hid was the personal cost to women track and field athletes of a lack of financial support, training and resource. These were very determined and ambitious women. They had to be.
Conclusion Olympic Legacies: Lottery Funding, Professional Sport, Diversity and Fame
This concluding chapter covers the career of Lottery Funded rower Sarah Winckless, a 2004 bronze medallist and football player Eniola Aluko from interviews conducted in 2012/13. We explore the path of each to their Olympic appearances and their subsequent career.
Martini and Rosso’s sponsorship of the Women’s World Cups in 1970 and 1971 Celebrating 50 years since an innovative sports partnership began
Most people think that sponsorship of sport, particularly women’s sport is a new thing. But far from it. In the nineteenth century newspapers used journalists like Nellie Bly, a pseudonym for Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman (1864-1922), who worked for Joseph Pulitzer at the New York World, reporting, amongst other things, on prize-fights. On 14 November 1889 Nellie Bly left New York by ship in an attempt to beat the feat made famous by French author Jules Verne (1828-1905) by circling the globe in less than 80 days. The New York World, sponsored and facilitated her trip. On 25 January 1890 Bly succeeded having taken 72 days, six hours and eleven minutes to travel just under 25,000 miles for a reported cost of $1,500. Both Nellie Bly and Pulitzer understood that women pioneers could make the news as well as report on it.
Women’s football had started in 1881 as a professional entertainment and, by 1921 had become so popular that the FA, the ruling body in England, saw fit to prevent women from playing on grounds of clubs affiliated to it, and to say that they considered the game ‘unsuitable’ for women. So women’s football became an unregulated activity, played mainly to raise money for charity. It was only in 1969 that FIFA, the world governing body, thought that they should now being to consider women’s football as part of their remit. But businessmen were ahead of them, and saw the potential of the activity. Amongst them Martini and Rosso.
Martini and Rosso History and Sport Sponsorship
In 1863 Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi took over the National Wine & Spirits Distillery in a small village near Turin. In the twentieth century, the four Rossi di Montelera cousins (owners of the Martini & Rossi company) were all keen sportsmen. This family passion became a company policy, to use sport, be it professional or amateur, a base on which to build the company image. Theo was a real sportsman: he had been world speedboat champion and taken part in Olympic bob; while Metello founded the Martini International Club in London in 1958, established to support “all areas of culture, science, art and sport”; however, the club was particularly “involved in car and motorbike racing, all winter sports, nautical sports, horse riding, golf, tennis and fencing”.
Martini & Rossi understood the communicative force of this cycling and motor sport and decided to sponsor leading events from 1914 onwards. The First World War soon interrupted but, in 1925 in Turin the Gran Coppa Martini & Rossi cycling race was launched. This sponsorship reached its peak with the Tours of Italy in 1934 and 1936. In the first race, the company sponsored the cup awarded to the rider who was considered Gran Premi della Montagna or King of the Mountains, and had two bespoke advertising cars designed specially for Elixir China and Martini Vermouth to follow the race. In 1936 it had a luxury 8-cyclinder Isotta Fraschini with an enormous cardboard bottle of Elixir China mounted on the bonnet. Some sight for dry throated and thirsty cyclists on the dusty roads of the peninsula!
Martini & Rossi entered the world of car racing after World War II. The name appeared on bridges over racing tracks or along guardrails. Martini Racing would soon after appear and the distinctive livery, especially at events like Le Mans 24 Hours, a feature for over 30 years. The legendary Martini Racing Team was founded in December 1970 as an offshoot of the Martini International Club. Martini moved increasingly into sponsoring women’s sport, including the Martini Fencing Trophy, sponsorship of the first women's football World Cup, supporting the Women's Himalayan Expedition and the women's golf Open.
The 1970 Women’s World Cup
In 1970, the FIEFF (International Federation of European Women's Football), based in Torino, organized the first women's football World Cup in Italy. The Championship took place between July 7th and 15th, at the end of the men's football World Cup in Mexico.
Eight of the most representative teams in the world were invited: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, Mexico, Switzerland, (West) Germany. The matches took place in the stadiums of Bari, Bologna, Genova, Napoli, Milano, Salerno and Torino. The World Cup had a considerable public success, so much so that the final at the City Stadium was followed by as many as 50,000 spectators.
The Martini International Club often sponsored amateur sports, where the economic gain did not represent the most important goal for the athletes, and became the sponsor of the 1970 competition.
Conclusion Trofeo Martini & Rossi
In addition to an economic support to the event, Martini & Rossi decided to award, on the model of the Jules Rimet Cup, a special trophy called Trofeo Martini & Rossi. The golden cup was inspired by the famous sculpture Nike of Samothrace, or Winged Victory, displayed in the Louvre Museum. The players of the tournament team would be given a copy of the trophy while the original was kept by FIEFF.
The 1970 Women’s World Cup is today considered as "unofficial" since, starting from 1991, a world championship of women's football was organized by FIFA. The competition organized by FIEFF took place again, in 1971, in Mexico, once again with the support of the Martini International Club. We can also see a range of memorabilia, such as these sports bags that were given to competitors. A pioneering milestone in sponsoring and staging women’s football.
Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Ireland (Dundalk) versus England (Manchester Corinthians) International women’s football match 10 May 1970
On 10 May 1970 Prestatyn and Rhyl Lions Club, hosted an international football match at Prestatyn Harness Race Stadium, between England, (Manchester Corinthians/ Nomads), and Ireland (Dundalk Ladies). Kick off was 3pm which is traditional, but the reason that this was unusual was that the ban on women’s football which had been in place since 1921 was only recently overturned during the course of 1969. So the ban had been in place for almost 50 years. Admission was 1 shilling (five pence), and children could enter for free, with the funds raised going to local charities in the Flintshire area. So Wales was pioneering here, as the race stadium ground was being used since the FA in England had not yet lifted the ban on women playing on its affiliated club grounds. A crowd of 4000 found the match thrilling,
But who were the sides, and how had they come into existence?
Corinthians-Nomads Globe Trotters (Manchester) Football Club
The English club was much more experienced, having been formed in January 1949 by Percy Ashley who had run the club for nineteen years until his death. A well-known scout and referee, who coached and managed the team initially led by his daughter Doris as captain. By 1970 Corinthians, with Nomads as their second team, had established themselves as an international touring club who had raised over £250,000 for charity, including a three-month tour to South America, to mainland Europe and North Africa. They became particularly famous in 1957 winning a European Championship Cup with Manchester City FC’s keeper Bert Trautmann as translator. In 1960 they added the Venezuela International trophy to the other 50 trophies that held. When women’s football was acknowledged by the FA, in the form of Women’s Football Association, created in 1969, Corinthians won the Deal International Tournament in 1968 and 1969, so by the time they met Dundalk they were seasoned international campaigners. Little wonder then that they won 8-1.
From the Goalkeeper Christine Miller, to the back five, there was class in England’s defence. These included captain and full back Pauline Quayle, Janice Lyons, Margaret Wilde, Margaret Taylor and Margaret Temple. The attacking players were even more outstanding. Margaret ‘Whitty’ Whitworth, Patricia Qualye, leading goalscorer Sheila Isherwood, Sue Kelly and Jean Wilson. Wilson would play in the first official England team in 1972 organised by the WFA.
Dundalk Ladies AFC
The Dundalk Ladies were formed in 1968, and had established themselves as Irish champions. This was their first overseas game and so their experience level was much less than Corinthians. This had mainly been developed though indoors matches and small scale games. Players include:
Joan Williams, Jacinta Williams, Anne Osborne, Madge Martin, Nellie McShane, Staisa Wogan, Margaret O’Callaghan, Marie Conway, Paula Gorham, Stella Clark, Geraldine Murphy, Kathleen Osborne, Bernadette Martin and Kay Dillon. Paula Gorham scored the goal for Dundalk, called a ‘fierce free kick from 30 yards’ in the newspaper. Unsurprisingly the same Irish newspaper, The Drogheda Argus and Leinster Journal, commented that at least two of the English goals were offside and the exact score was unclear, some remember at seven goals to one, others eight.
CEAD MILE FAILTE-A Hundred Thousand Welcomes (in Gaelic)
Although the match was very friendly in its staging and considered a great success, there were controversies. Paula Gorham almost scored twice for Dundalk, with a late penalty hitting the woodwork.
Emma Clarke (born 1871) was a Lost Lioness, a Pioneering Victorian Football Player But Much Remains to be Known About Her Life…
Who was Emma Clarke?
In 1894 Nettie Honeyball formed the British Ladies Football Club (BLFC) with Lady Florence Dixie as its non-playing President. There were in all around fifty members of the club, playing and non-playing. Wearing blouses instead of the regulation shirts, and blue serge knickerbockers, shin-pads, ankle protectors and boots, the team trained before their first match, with ex professional and coach J. W. ‘Bill’ Julian, who had played for both Royal Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, before finishing his career at Dartford and opening a sports shop in Plumstead. The women covered their heads with fisherman’s caps, as it would have been convention of the time to appear in public with some form of headgear.
Versions of this team, and its breakaway competitors held over 150 matches between 1895-1903, latterly against men, which were some of the most lucrative fixtures.
Largely due to Honeyball’s shrewd PR campaign, the first BLFC match, held on 23 March 1895, at Crouch End Athletic Ground Hornsey, drew over 10,000 spectators. It was considered a financial and sporting success, and The Shields Daily News of 25 March told its readers that ‘the players mainly belong to London and the suburbs but a few hail from the country.’ Most were of independent means, the paper went on, but a few were married women. One of the earliest BLFC players was Emma Clarke. The 1891 census gave her occupation as a nurse, and so the newspaper report was perhaps not entirely accurate.
It has been claimed by a number of people that Emma was mixed heritage and so could be the first British-Asian woman football player. However, the paper-based evidence does not suggest this, and it may be that only family history sources could confirm one way or the other. So what do we know so far from the data?
Emma’s father, John William Clarke, aged 28, married Caroline Harriet Bogg, aged 21 on 3 May 1863 in Plumstead. John’s father, William, was a labourer, and Caroline’s father was an overlocker. John was a labourer at the Royal Arsenal, where Emma’s brother would later join him. Caroline's mother came from a long established Cornish family, as her maiden name was Granville. The Boggs were of Irish-Scottish heritage going back to at least the 18th century.
Emma’s birth certificate, gave her date of birth as 2 December 1871 in Plumstead. The birth and marriage certificates going back to the grandparents therefore do not show any mixed British-Asian heritage. But one aspect of her life has given rise to suggestions that Emma may have mixed heritage. Caroline Bogg’s father served a period of service in the army of just over four years in Ceylon, where Caroline was born, just as her older sister Mary Ann had been born in Dublin when the family was there. As both Caroline’s mother and father were registered on the birth certificate and went on to have other children, there is no evidence from the paperwork to suggest that Caroline was illegitimate. Indeed given the size of the British army in the Empire at the time, having a child while serving overseas was not that unusual.
A final case has been made for Emma’s being illegitimate, and this of course is just as difficult to evidence. If this is the case, it would mean that, even if either Caroline or John were unfaithful, the marriage seems to have been successful, with at least five children appearing after Emma, including her blonde sister Florence with whom she played football. As we know, families can have secrets but for now the paper trail is at an end. Unless of course you can help with further evidence?
Newspapers and Photographic evidence
As we know, women’s football was really topical at the time, so the British Ladies Football Club matches were reported widely. There were also lots of photographs, telling us quite a bit about the team, and in some of these photographs Emma appears to have darker skin than some other players, although this isn’t always the case depending on lighting, whether the photograph was taken indoors or outdoors, and the wider context. Certainly some photographs were portraits of the team. There is one photograph in the National Archives on which someone has written Emma Clarke on the reverse side and this is in good condition, and so does seem to support the theory that one of the 1895 team was of mixed heritage. However, other surviving photographs are not so conclusive.
We do know that the newspapers often referred to the players by hair colour. The Northern Whig from Belfast has a piece written in 1895 about lady footballers which includes Emma Clarke, who played right back. It calls her brunette, aged 21, and says that she is a native of Plumstead. It also mentions her sister Miss F. Clarke, who is 17, blonde and also of Plumstead. However, if we look at the census data our sisters are 24 and 19 respectively.
So it appears the sisters went on tour outside of London. The Belfast Newsletter of 20 June 1895 ran an article that was very celebratory of the women’s teams, naming both Emma and Florence amongst the players, with 6000 people in attendance. Emma’s football career appears to have been short-lived and she was very active, and touring in 1895 and 1896 but a split in the team saw her appear less often in the newspapers. Florence and Emma played in a match against the male team Preston North End Juniors at Cliftonville Belfast, in June 1895, drawing 2-2, after which there was an exhibition women’s match. Florence had enough energy leftover to win a 120 yards race for gold and silver medals.
Emma Jane Clarke seems to have married Thomas Reginald Porter in 1899 who was a Navvy in the 1901 census. at Woolwich Register Office on 28 October 1899. Emma’s father was listed here as John William Clarke deceased, formerly a Foreman at the Royal Arsenal. Thomas' father, also Thomas, was a coachman. Witnesses were Charles Edward Clarke and Jemima Ann Clarke. Both were Emma's siblings. Thomas is shown as 23 years of age, and Emma was 27 in the 1901 census when their first daughter Ethel Lizzie is listed. In the 1911 census, a son, Charlie Reginald had joined the family, at 7 Rose Villa Station Road, Abbey Wood, Plumstead.
Emma died aged 53 years, in 1925 living at 125 Abbey Road, Belvedere. The cause of death was carcinoma of uterus and asthenia. Thomas was present when she died and registered the death the same day. Emma’s daughter died in adolescence and her son married but had not children, dying in 1977.
It is important to say that the photographs sometimes show players who look darker skinned than others, and there is a chance that Emma Clarke was of mixed heritage, or that other players may well be of mixed heritage, but the research has yet to be done more broadly on the team. The author invites further evidence, and has not concluded definitively one way, or the other. Certainly the photographs suggest the possibility of mixed heritage, and hence the difficulty of being conclusive.
Finally, the newspapers often referred to a Dutch lady playing for the team which has been interpreted by some historians to mean a woman who had mixed heritage. However, the term ‘Dutch’ may have several meanings. The popular Music Hall song of 1892 called My Old Dutch, performed by Albert Chevalier, implied that his wife was his best pal, thought to combine cockney rhyming slang for ‘dutch plate’ or mate, and ‘duchess’. Similarly Dutch was used to refer to objects, and people, as of substantial build, and a Dutch wardrobe would therefore have been a well-built model. We know that Nettie Honeyball weighed 10 stones, so she would have been robust for her time, as perhaps footballers generally were. So, like references to hair colour we have to be careful when using newspapers, photographs and genealogical sources. Still much more to find out about Emma and Florence Clarke.
The author acknowledges, and is grateful for the research assistance of Amanda Callan-Spenn and for the collaboration and comments of Bill Hern, David and Roxanne Gleave.
It would seem that Ethel Edburga Clementina Scott, a member of the British 4 × 100 metres relay team which took the silver medal at the Women’s World Games in Prague in 1930, might be the first woman of Caribbean descent to represent Britain internationally in athletics.1 Women’s World Games took place in Gothenburg (1926), Prague (1930) and London (1934), although it is not clear that Ethel ran. Britain sent a team to the 1932 and 1936 Olympic Games but she does not seem to have been present. Her family was not wealthy, and so her ability to travel may have been limited. Ethel was a sprinter, often specializing in shorter distances like 60 and 100 metres. She probably came to prominence as a result of civil service sport championships, which were frequent enough and high profile to be reported in The Times. For instance, on 10 June 1929, The Times Ethel is reported as winner of a 100 metre race, representing the Ministry of Labour, in a time of 11.4 seconds. On 8 September 1930, The Times reported that she won her 60m heat in front of 15,000 people, in a dramatic race but didn't do well in the final, as some of the leading sprinters in the world were racing. Scott travelled from Prague onto Germany along with Ivy Walker, Florence Latham and Muriel Cornell. We know that she was still active in 1938, and continued to take part until 1950 but if you have any more details of her athletics career or life, please get in touch.
Her father, David Emmanuel, was from Westmoreland, Jamaica. He was a merchant seaman and carpenter, and her mother, Jane, from Essex. Ethel was born on 22 October 1907 in Plaistow, and baptised on 13 November 1907 at St Andrew’s, Plaistow. She died on 7 March 1984, unmarried, in Barking. According to a family history written by his grandson, David Emmnuel Scott, had been born on the 5 April 1865, was killed in action at Scapa Flow on 24 August 1914.2 Having joined the Royal Navy in 1892, he served on HMS Urgent. David settled in Britain in 1900, working as a general labourer. He married Jane Pilgrim, who was from an agricultural family, in 1905 and they had four children: Walter born in 1906; Ethel in 1907; George in 1910, and Marjorie in 1914. David joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in 1914 and died in an accident near the Orkney Islands in 1914. Jane was initially denied a war widows pension because David had not served for long enough.
Ethel worked in the civil service and as a medical secretary. Along with Ivy Walker, Eileen Hiscock and Daisy Ridgley, Ethel took a second place to Germany, and rising international standards combined with more participating nations so that the British team won just four medals in 1930. Other competitors and administrators involved in the widening scope of international women’s sport have yet to find their place in history and more transnational research needed to address this agenda.
Women’s Athletics in the 1920s and 1930s
In 1921 a women's section was formed at London's Kensington Athletic Club. Sophie Eliott-Lynn and Vera Palmer, later known by her married name Searle, helped to found Middlesex Ladies' Athletic Club in 1923 after being important members at Kensington.3 However, the number of working class female athletes was also growing. Business houses hosted athletics meetings for women (including the Dunlop corporation, Lillywhite’s clothing, Lyons Tea Houses, the Post Office, the Police and Selfridge’s Department Store), as did universities like Manchester in 1921 and Birmingham from 1922. War-work, often done alongside men, could be both strenuous and dangerous, either munitions manufacturing on the home front, or nursing at the front line. For instance, Elliot Lynn rode a Harley Davidson as a despatch rider for the War Office and served in France in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) before returning to her agricultural and zoological studies in peacetime.4
In 1921, female representatives from France, Great Britain, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland took part in an international athletics meeting inaugurated by Alice Joséphine Marie Million, better known by her married name, Alice Milliat, staged in Monte Carlo. The key figure in regards to increasing the IOC schedule for women, was a French rower who went on to lead an international movement. Alice Milliat, she inaugurated an international congress on women and sport attended by American, Austrian, British, Czechoslovakian, French and Spanish representatives. The purpose of this meeting was to gather support for women’s track and field events to be included in the International Olympic Committee’s version of the Games. Milliat’s main target was to persuade the Swedish administrator Sigfried Edström that the International Amateur Athletics Federation, of which he was head, should promote women’s sport.
Milliat had first visited Britain in 1920 as a non-playing administrator with the Paris-based Femina women's football team. She was much impressed by the local hospitality and public support for the Dick, Kerr Ladies football team in Preston. In her subsequent career as an administrator and activist, Milliat devoted considerable energy to promoting women's sports, not just track and field. With the expansion of the programme of the Olympic Games now overseen by the international federations of sport, rather than local organizing committees, Milliat viewed female track and field athletics disciplines as fundamental to the expansion of the programme.
The International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) had been created in August 1913 with Sigfried Edström elected as its President. The IAAF worked closely with the IOC because of the central role of track and field athletics in the Olympic programme. This enhanced Edström's relationship with de Coubertin and therefore his administrative career. In 1920, Edström was co-opted as a member of the IOC, and one year later he joined the first executive board.
While women's swimming, diving, skating, tennis and a mixed yachting event would feature at the Antwerp Olympic Games in 1920, female track and field athletics were not admitted. As a direct response to the International Olympic Committee's refusal of Milliat's request that these events be included in the 1920 Games, the Monte Carlo Games were followed by a conference where, on 31 October 1921, the Fédération Sportive Féminine Internationale (FSFI) was formed. The inclusion of women’s track and field athletics in the Olympic programme became politicized to an unprecedented degree. Milliat became the head of the FSFI lobbying the IOC, until the IAAF took control of the women’s programme in 1936.
After the first Women's Olympic Games held in Paris (1922), Milliat gave in to pressure to rename these meetings the Women's World Games. Subsequent meetings in Gothenburg (1926), Prague (1930) and London (1934) were held apart from, but in tandem with, the IOC version of the Olympics and effectively merged at the Berlin Games in 1936. Since the British Women’s Amateur Athletic Association participated in Milliat’s Women’s World Games, hosting the 1934 competition, as well as sending teams to the IOC Olympics in 1932 and 1936, access to international competition helped youngsters like Ethel Scott to win her place in history.
Conclusion the integration of track and field athletics into the Olympics
Muriel Cornell for instance, went on to join the British Amateur Athletic Board in 1934 and, the following year became the WAAA representative on the BOA Council. The British team manager in Berlin, Muriel also officiated at the London Olympics in 1948 and helped to set up a national coaching scheme. Although this was an emerging transnationalism, the parallel Women’s World Games and IOC competition provide examples of unmistakable connectivity between different kinds of sport and therefore diverse women from a range of backgrounds.
1 Mel Watman ‘Women Athletes Between The World Wars’(1919–1939)’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press accessed 22 February 2020.
2 David Scott of Collingham Collingham in the Great War: David Emmanuel Scott 1865-1914 accessed 22 February 2020.
3 Mel Watman ‘Women Athletes Between The World Wars’
4 Mark Pottle ‘Sophie Catherine Theresa Mary Heath, Lady Heath (1896–1939)’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Oxford University Press accessed 10 February 2020.
Introduction: Good Evening Mr Bond
In her diamond Jubilee year of 2012 Queen Elizabeth II, aged eighty-six, appeared to parachute into the Olympic stadium from a helicopter, to open the Games with James Bond, played by Daniel Craig. As well as showing a sense of humour, and showcasing British creativity, this was a characteristic way of using film to tell a story of how pioneering the monarchy could be, even at an advanced age. Arguably no other monarch has used sport to such an extent, in such a long reign to align themselves with the wider public. And it is unlikely, with Prince Charles and Prince William already older than Elizabeth was when she came to the throne, that any of her heirs will be able to use sport, and especially equestrianism and the Olympic Games, to the same effect again.
A perceived ‘new’ Elizabethan era began as soon as Elizabeth came to the throne. This reinterpreted aspects of British history and popular culture in the 1950s and 1960s following the coronation of young and glamorous monarch Elizabeth II. Although Elizabeth II was already married and a mother by the time she came to the throne, unlike Elizabeth I, the British media drew strong links between the two women, and their respective monarchies. Queen Elizabeth II has favoured equestrian pursuits above all her other sporting commitments. The young Elizabeth Windsor was often photographed in connection with sport, and horses in particular. This was something that the Queen Mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, encouraged, herself shooting small bore rifles aboard HMS Vanguard while en route with the King to tour South Africa in 1947.
Princess Elizabeth had been a focal point at the 1948 London Olympic Games, along with her sister, Margaret, and husband, Philip whom she married in 1947.
The Royals were clearly not a family like anyone else. But an invented tradition suggested that they were, away from the ceremonial aspects of monarchy. This illusion was created partly through the considerable resources of the Royal public relations offices and the use of new communications technology, such as Technicolour film and colour photography.
A few years later, World Sports: International Sports Magazine, which was established as the official publication of the British Olympic Association, was prompted by the accession and coronation of a twenty-seven year old female head of state to issue a commemorative edition, celebrating a new Elizabethan era: 'Of rich inventiveness, achievement and glory-in sport and all things.' The young Queen and her consort celebrated the place of the Royal family in relation to the British sporting establishment. In 1949, the Duke of Edinburgh became President of the Marylebone Cricket Club, at that time the leading body for world cricket, and Elizabeth II became the first Queen Regnant to attend a cricket match at Lord’s in 1952. We can also perhaps picture the bright yellow ensemble in which the Queen awarded Bobby Moore the World Cup trophy in 1966, and the way in which he wiped his hands so as not to stain her white gloves.
The Olympic and Commonwealth Games in the 1950s
Elizabeth II was a constitutional monarch, and Head of the Commonwealth at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver; the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, and the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff. Although the Olympic movement remained ambulatory, hosted at Helsinki in 1952, and Rome in 1960, the role of the British in promoting the Games would continue to be considerable.
It mattered little that, personally, Elizabeth was more interested in the unusual Equestrian Games, held in Stockholm in June of 1956 because Australian quarantine rules regarding horses would have meant that animals would need to spend months in the country before the Olympic events. Elizabeth and Philip stayed aboard the Royal yacht in Stockholm, and added to their official duties with a holiday so as to stay for all of the equestrian events. The British Empire and Commonwealth Games would follow in Cardiff in 1958, presided over by Lord Aberdare and promoted by Ted Glover and former Olympic swimmer Margaret ‘Pip’ Linton. Sporting events were then fundamental to the way that modern monarchy connected with a wider public. The changing nature of Britain’s place in the world was reflected by the way that the British Empire Games changed to become the Commonwealth Games as the 1950s and 1960s progressed.
Elizabeth II and Equestrianism
In the media’s coverage of a new Elizabethan age, the young monarch’s interest in the outdoor life was represented to have both ancient antecedents and modern expressions. A good horsewoman, Elizabeth II’s equestrian skill was as much showcased by the ceremonial aspects of her duties, such as Trooping the Colour, as by her private taste for active leisure. As Stephen Gundle has said:
In February 1952 Time magazine selected the 27 year old princess as the world personality who most embodied the hope of the times. She captured on an international scale the magazine asserted the mysterious power of ancient monarchs ‘to represent, express and effect the aspirations of the collective subconscious.’ In fact, the era had seen the overthrow of more than one monarchy and, it was the youth and beauty of Elizabeth that appealed most.1
There was a global glamour in aristocracy, and the carefully orchestrated sense of lavish ritual that accompanied Elizabeth’s monarchy made her the most celebrated of luminaries. In many senses, the more relaxed side to her personality was shown through sport, and active leisure pursuits also characterised the enthusiasms of her growing family. However, this was a highly groomed and polished presentation of the private life of the Royal family, making them icons of style.
Elizabeth II’s Olympic legacy
The British Olympic Association had always been keen to have more Establishment support for its activities and it would be Elizabeth Windsor, more than any previous monarch, who would cement ties between the British Royal family and the Olympic movement. However, her presiding personal interest was equestrianism, and in particular horse racing. With the birth of Prince Charles in 1949, many newsreels emphasised that, as well as being a Head of State, Elizabeth was also a young wife and mother, performing a duty to the nation in providing a future heir. The birth of Princess Anne followed soon after in August 1950 and, she would remain Elizabeth’s only daughter and become the first British royal Olympian in 1976. Anne had won the individual European Eventing Championship in 1971, and with it the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Joining Dame Mary Glen Haig as British representative to the IOC in 1988, Anne is still President of the British Olympic Association. As Director of the London 2012 Games, Anne oversaw an opening ceremony in which her mother appeared to parachute into the stadium with James Bond. Zara Tindall, who was awarded an Eventing silver medal in 2012 by Princess Anne, her mother, has followed in the family tradition. Tindall had already won the Eventing World Championship in Aachen in 2006. So it is not Elizabeth’s male heirs who have been the Olympians, but the female line. It will be interesting to see if this continues.
1 Stephen Gundle Glamour: A History Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008 pp.207-208.
1.1 New Book British Olympic Women: a history (Routledge, 2020)
Jean is currently completing a 120,000 word manuscript that we hope will be out by the Tokyo Olympic Games of 2020, with the academic publisher Routledge. This has been a huge project, covering 120 years of history, and with Olympic spectacle shaped by world events. The Olympic Games are the single biggest sports spectacle in the world and the most significant showcase for women athletes in the twenty first century. That increasing numbers of women, in a widening range of disciplines, have changed the Games between 1900 and 2020 is obvious to even the most casual observer. However, the extent to which women have transformed the Olympic Games remains to be more fully understood.
1.2 How long have women been part of Olympic spectacle?
The British have played a prominent part in modern Olympic tradition since a version of the ancient games was resumed in Athens in 1896, though no women competed in this first edition, so far as the evidence shows. It is nevertheless encouraging to look at the sheer diversity of women who have represented Britain since the first female competitors took part in the Paris Games of 1900. For example, the youngest female competitor in Olympic history was Cecilia Colledge who skated in the 1932 Los Angeles games at eleven years and sevent y-eight days. The eldest female competitor so far was also British. Lorna Johnstone first took part in the 1956 Stockholm dressage individual competition, appeared again in the 1968 Mexico individual and team events and finally performed in both at the 1972 Munich games, aged seventy. The book will be the first monograph on British women in the Olympic movement more generally.
1.3 What is this book doing that is unique?
Women competitors may have become more central to the work of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the British Olympic Assocation (BOA) since the 1980s. We now also have to understand the Olympics and Paralympic Games as mega events, some would say giga events One of the big research questions then, is how did British women who looked to become Olympians achieve their ambitions? What were the frameworks imposed on female athletes, individually and as a group, by the IOC, the BOA and the various affiliated sporting international federations? Who are our two thousand British female Olympians 1900-2012? What are their stories? Why are they more women not well-known as British sporting heroes?
2.1 History and Heritage Scoping Study for British Judo
Jean has been discussing a heritage scoping session with British Judo in 2019. Work throughout 2020 will focus on documenting, cataloguing and, preserve the collections of British Judo, and also in conjunction with the University of Bath Special Collections which houses the Richard Bowen collection. The forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022 provides a focal point for our ambitious plans, which, although in the early stages have a number of stakeholders active who will help us to achieve our aims. Jean has worked at the University of Bath Special Collections for several years on projects, and her PhD student Amanda Callan Spenn recently completed her thesis on Sarah Mayer, an actress and the first Western woman to achieve a black belt in Japan, in the early 1930s.
3.1 Legendary Lionesses
jjheritage.com launched the Legendary Lionesses webpages in 2019, after helping the FA to track down the names of every player to have appeared for official England teams, since they were launched in 1972. At the moment we are focusing on the Captains, having launched pages based on interviews with Sheila Parker and Carol Thomas/ McCune. We are looking to add more content on squads, such as the inaugural 1972 lineup that we currently have and, please, if you have more details, please get on touch. Especially if you have photographs, and player memorabilia.
4.1 The Manchester Corinthians Women’s Football Club formed in 1949
jjheritage has also launched a Manchester Corinthians page to document the history of the club, which was formed by Percy Ashley for his daughter, captain and leading player, Doris, in 1949. It is well known that the FA banned women’s football from the grounds of Association-affiliated clubs in 1921, on the grounds that the organization perceived that football was ‘unsuitable’ for women and too much money raised for charity had been absorbed in player expenses. So Corinthians were formed in the midst of that ban, and by the time the FA lifted the ban on women’s football in England in 1969, Corinthians and Nomads had between them raised over £275,000 for charity; mostly for the Red Cross and Oxfam.
This club has an amazing history: and here is their song
We’re the Corinthians
Football ladies from Lancashire
Blue and Black for Corinthinas
Boy, What a team!
Fa la la la la la
We’ll beat anyone who we play
Makes no difference, home or away
We have the talent
Our youngsters are gallant
Corinthians from Lancashire
Please get in touch if you know of anyone who played for the team, and have any memorabilia.
5.1 An Ethnography of Swimming Outdoors
As you are probably aware Jean completed the first of her planned triathlons in 2019, and a duathlon and has committed to more next year. With Barbara Bell, an academic who recently left Manchester Metropolitan University, Jean is part of a project funded by the Leisure Studies Association, to swim in various historically significant locations in the UK and overseas, especially our historic Lidos and outdoor pools. Swimming is both a sport and leisure activity that can be undertaken in a variety of ways. In this project we reflect on why we like to swim outdoors, what the mental health, and physical health benefits to each of us are, and how it helps us to write. The project will expand in 2020 to more Lidos and historic pools, after Jean was able to swim in the historic Art Deco Molitor Pools in 2019. Again, if you have suggestions, please get in touch.
So plenty to be going on with, and with more triathlons planned and some outdoor swimming events, jjheritage.com wishes our readers and clients a healthy, happy and prosperous 2020.
Introduction: Looking back on jjheritage’s third anniversary in October 2019
Several projects were completed in 2019. Or should we say milestones of ongoing projects were met?
Warwickshire Triathlon 6 October 2019
It was a warm and clear day on Sunday 6 October for the Warwickshire Triathlon events at Stratford Upon Avon with many tourists encouraging the participants in the pool, on the cycle and on the run. After the recent rains, the run route which goes along the towpath for a short distance, was a concern but not too bad underfoot. A fun but challenging event, this was Jean’s second Sprint Triathlon of 2019 (400m swim, 18 kilometre cycle and 5K run), distance as well as a duathlon event with her niece Kelly. In 2019 British Triathlon has a social media campaign, #TriLikeMe designed to show that triathlon is for everyone, and this was certainly in evidence with a range of different abilities. Kelly’s husband Stu, who has done a wide range of sporting challenges in 2019 joined us and enjoyed the event. More to come next year, provided that winter training goes well.
The Silverstone Experience opened to the public 25 October 2019
The newly launched £19.2 million The Silverstone Experience (TSE) opened its doors in 2019 at the entrance to the circuit, with commanding views from the café area over the infield, as well as parts of the circuit. With half the funds provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the dedicated heritage themed exhibitions and archive collections are housed in a refurbished World War Two aircraft hangar. TSE aims to ensure that the heritage of Silverstone and post-war British motor racing is interpreted for today’s public as well as protected for future generations. The new visitor attraction’s strategy is to use contemporary history and sports heritage, particularly to inspire young people, by celebrating the circuit and the country’s position at the heart of the global motor sport industry.
Jean has recently written an article about TSE visitor attraction, to come out in a book edited by Dr Kevin Moore, Dr Christian Wacker and Professor John Hughson in 2020, outlining the key contributions to academic debates around sporting museums, and motor sport. This is a relatively under-researched aspect of sport history and heritage. Motor sport has been neglected in the academic literature on sporting museums, which has also tended to neglect young people under the age of eighteen as a distinct population, or to assume their presence as part of a wider visitor audience. This is changing in large part due to more complex use of audio-visual technology as part of museum design, and now there is an emergent research agenda around whether history and heritage can be used to inspire young people in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) subjects. We will return to this subject in 2020. As TSE moves into the next phase of delivery, these will be key questions.
Looking forward to New Beginnings in November 2019
Legendary Lionesses: England Women Internationals 1972-2019
As well as these milestones, several new projects will be launched by jjheritage over the course of 2019 and into 2020. One of these, Legendary Lionesses, concerns research that has been done by us over the summer of 2019 into the history of the England women’s Senior Team from 1972 to the present. Again this is intended for a book length treatment and watch out for several updates here. Particularly if you have new information and collections from women players that we might use to research and better tell the story. Our aim is the tell the story through the decades from the official England team, starting in the 1970s and working backwards, and forwards, to cover all aspects. Jean has interviewed several of the England captains across the decades and will continue this work over the Winter. This is intended as a free resource ahead of England hosting the women’s Euro 2021, and will also form part of a HLF bid. Jean has been contacted by several host clubs and regions of Euro 2021 for heritage projects and if you’d like her to consult on your project please do get in touch.
The Run, Swim, Cycle Historian
Jean has run, swam and cycled some of the iconic British races, from the London marathon to the Great North Run, to swimming the Great North Swim, and the Serpentine as well as completing her first triathlons this year. Starting in November and moving into next year jjheritage will launch the Run, Swim and Cycle historian where we will extend this by covering iconic geographies in the UK and abroad. Watch out for updates on this, along with a funded project by the Leisure Studies Association called the ethnography of swimming with academic Dr Barbara Bell, and artist Deborah Lovegrove. You can follow us on Twitter @JeanMWilliams for updates.
Send Her Victorious and the Hidden Histories of the Olympic Games
As 2020 is an Olympic and Paralympic year, with historic Tokyo as host venue, we will also be hosting a curated and dedicated space to the history of the Olympic Games as you may not know them. Watch out for more updates as we turn from 2019 to 2020. As part of this work we will also be scoping a study of the archives collections of British Judo.
Watch this space!
Posts written by Jean or Joanna.