On this day in 1995,
Nellie Batson Loines (far right) and team-mates in Copenhagen, 1959.
a noted national and international athlete, Nellie Batson Loines, passed away. Nellie was a native of Birmingham and had a highly successful track career, winning over 200 medals in track races. Born on 12 February 1927 Loines entered her first competition as a member of the Small Heath Harriers sport club before the age of twenty. She made a spectacular national debut, taking first place in both the 800 metre and one mile races at the 1947 Women’s Amateur Athletic Association competition at Chiswick.
Nellie Batson Loines was also an avid road walker and was co-founder of the first British international road walking team. In 1959 they travelled to Copenhagen to successfully represent England against the Danish national team. Amongst her papers can be found the itinerary for the visit, hosted by the Dansk Gangforbund, a member of the Danish Sports Federation (Central Association of Physical Training).
Itinerary for a visit to Denmark in 1959
After twelve years of regular competition, Nellie decided to retire from track to, in her words, ‘take things easy’. Following her retirement from athletics, she worked as a clerk at Wilsdon and Company until her death on 13 January 1995.
In 1960 Nellie Batson Loines was elected a lifetime member of the Small Heath Harriers and the collection attesting to her athletic achievements can be found in Archives, Heritage and Photography at the Library of Birmingham.
Kevin Roberts, Archivist Nicola Crews, Archivist
Report on the shooting of Aston Villa player, Thomas Ball, from the Birmingham Mail, 12 November 1923
I joined the local history society in 1990, I found that one of the items that they had was a transcript of the Burial register of St Johns Church. As I was the postman at the Church I decided that when I retired I would transcribe the Baptism and Marriage registers – this is what I am doing at the moment.
There are many entries of interest, but two are regarding Aston Villa Players:
- the Marriage of Joseph Henry Hampton (known as Happy Harry Hampton) in 1906 (EP 18/2/3/4)
- the Burial of Thomas Edgar Ball (known as Tommy Ball, the first Footballer to be murdered in England) in 1923 (EP 18/2/4/4)
With special thanks for this article to: Roger Henney
Sketches of excercise movements from ‘Cinematographic Reader’, Birmingham Athletic Institute, 1930s (Ref: MS 1468/4/1)
With the London Olympic Games still in mind it seems timely to examine some of the history behind the ideals of the Games through the records of the Birmingham Athletic Institute.
Firstly, a quick re-cap of Olympic history: the first Olympians (official starting date 776 BC) engaged in running events, a pentathlon (jumping, discus, javelin, foot race and wrestling), boxing, wrestling and equestrian events (more chariots than dressage), and was staged in Olympia, Greece.
All hail Coroebus, who tradition has it, was the first Olympic Champion and a cook from the city of Elis. The ancient games were not only a manifestation of human physical endurance, but also of hugely fundamental religious significance; the sports went side by side with ritual sacrifices honouring Zeus whose famous statue by Phidias stood in his temple at Olympia and was known as one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The ancient games had run their course by the 5th century AD, mainly due to the spreading Roman influence in Greece. Official ending date is either 393 AD (end of all pagan cults and practices by order of the emperor) or 426 AD (ordered destruction of all Greek Temples) – take your pick.
If you have been inspired by Bradley Wiggins’ triumphs
This bicycle was already about 80 years out of fashion when it appeared in the 1900 catalogue, with the aim of showing prospective purchasers how much better new bicycles were [Ref: MS 4208/3/9/4]
in the Tour de France and in the Olympics to take up cycling as a sport, think of those who were inspired a hundred years ago or more – cycling was one of the sports featured in the modern Olympics from the beginning in 1896.
Who Steers? Tricyle for Two, 1898
All of these exhibitions were held at Bingley Hall, which was on a small section of the site now occupied by the ICC, just off Broad Street.
What choice was there then – a bicycle or even a tricycle made for two. The illustrations in this blog are from a series of Birmingham exhibitions catalogues bound in volumes:
- 1884 – Catalogue of the Third Annual Exhibition of Bicycles, Tricycles and Accessories, organised by Speedwell Bicycle Club [MS 4208/3/8/3]
- 1897 – First Annual Midland Cycle & Motor Car Exhibition [MS 4208/3/9/1]
- 1898 – Second Annual Midland Cycle & Motor Car Exhibition [MS 4208/3/9/2]
- 1900 – Fourth Annual Midland Cycle & Motor Car Exhibition [MS 4208/3/9/4]
- 1902 – Sports and Pastimes Exhibitions Ltd. [MS 4208/3/9/5]
Birmingham Exhibition Catalogues: 1884; 1897; 1900; 1902 [Ref: MS 4208/3]
The catalogues represented the most up-to-date bicycles – or motor bicycles – available then. By 1900 some of the bicycles on sale are not unlike some bicycles today.
Our Outreach & Education team have just put up an exhibition on Floor 1 of Birmingham Central Library as part of their work with Paganel Primary School. The exhibition is of photos taken by the children to document their week of Olympic activities. This is part of a Heritage Lottery funded project to create their own archive of the school and its community.
If you are in visiting us over the next few weeks the photographs are well worth a look. For more information on their work on the archive including some great photos and taster oral history interviews see www.paganelschool.com/blog.