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.
Posts written by Jean or Joanna.