Saturday 30th September is Sporting Heritage Day. It aims to celebrate the UK’s sporting heritage and the Sporting Heritage website brings together a list of all the sporting collections held across the country.
In honour of Sporting Heritage Day, we though we would highlight a very popular source which not everyone may be aware of – the Sports Argus.
The first edition was published in February 1897 and was a Saturday paper that was available not long after the afternoon football games had been played. Sadly the newspaper ceased publication in 2006. The Sports Argus is available to view on microfilm without an appointment in our Heritage Research Area, and is definitely worth a look if you are researching not only local, but national sporting events. It’s certainly a very popular source in our department!
We also searched to see what archive collections we hold on a sporting theme…
MS 2458 Edgbaston Archery and Lawn Tennis Club (various papers)
MS 4757 Records of Thomas Padmore & Sons, Billiard Table Makers (various papers)
MS 1786 Harborne Lawn Tennis Club:
The club was apparently founded in or shortly before 1883, and at first rented land for courts at the corner of Harborne Park Road and St. Mary’s Road from Sir Henry Wiggin. It later moved to Tennal Road, where an enthusiastic member, Dr. F. W. Aston FRS, provided a site. The club closed in the early 1960s when Dr. Aston’s descendents sold the site for developement.
MS 2569 Anstey College and Anstey Association:
Anstey College of Physical Training was founded by Rhoda Anstey in 1897. It was the second women’s physical training college to be established after Hampstead Training College (later Dartford College) which was founded by the Swedish physical educationalist Madame Bergman Osterberg and was where Rhoda Anstey herself trained in 1893-1895. Anstey’s first location was at the Leasowes, a house in Halesowen, formerly the home of the poet and landscape gardener William Shenstone (1714-1763). In 1907 Rhoda Anstey moved the college to Yew Tree House on the Chester Road in Erdington, where it remained until 1981.
MS 1468 Birmingham Athletics Institute:
The Birmingham Athletic Institute [B.A.I.] was formed in 1889 with the object of promoting physical education and recreation in Birmingham and the surrounding district. A purpose-built building in John Bright Street opened in 1891 and provided the Institute with a gymnasium, lecture room, refreshment room, library and a council room for the use of the Birmingham Athletic Club.
MS 1862 Midland Sailing Club:
The Midland Sailing Club was founded in 1894 and is based at Edgbaston Reservoir (formerly known as Rotton Park Reservoir). Its main object as stated in the first set of rules of 1895 was to ‘encourage and promote racing and cruising by amateurs, in yachts, boats and canoes’ by means of holding lectures, arranging meetings for social purposes and organising races and cruises.
The Club continues to arrange races at Edgbaston and has hosted national yachting competitions, including the Royal Yachting Association/Dunhill Team Championship National Final in October 1977. Social events are still a regular feature of the Club’s activities.
MS 2056 Severn Street Swimming Club:
The Severn Street Swimming Club was founded in 1892 from the Class 17 Adult Division of the First Day School in Severn Street. By 1895 the club had 85 members and included a ladies division. By 1895 the club had also moved to Kent Street baths, moving again in 1977 to those in Monument Road. The Monument Road baths closed in 1992 and the club moved to the Tiverton Road baths. The club itself closed soon afterwards, in 1995.
MS 4835 Let’s Play, a Community Sports Heritage Project [badminton]:
The sport of Badminton has been played in communities over the last 40 years and this project captures people’s life stories and interactions through Badminton at a community level – demonstrating how Badminton has been used in communities where individuals have organised tournaments, clubs, and participated in Badminton related activities. Included is a collection of oral histories which highlight people’s stories of playing Badminton, making friends, and how the sport has been socially empowering individuals, communities and groups.
If any of these collections peak your interest, please do contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
The Sporting Heritage website also has a page listing where sporting collections are held: https://www.sportingheritage.org.uk/content/collections/england-directory/west-midlands.