1908 London Olympics

A boxing match
Postcard produced to mark the visit of the King and the French President to the Olympic Stadium on 26 May 1908, showing a boxing display organised by the Polytechnic in the Stadium

In 1908 the Olympic Games came to the White City Stadium in London. Robert Mitchell, Director of Education at the Regent Street Polytechnic (forerunner of the University of Westminster), organised the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games including parades of competitors and prizewinners, and displays by the Polytechnic sports clubs. Describing the closing ceremony, the Daily Telegraph remarked:

The indefatigable Polytechnic had arranged yet another gymnastic display, in which their girls took a prominent and graceful part, just as her Majesty [Queen Alexandra] arrived... No better introduction could have been wished to the ceremony which was to follow.

Visiting athletes from abroad were invited to become honorary Polytechnic members and to use the sports and social facilities at the headquarters building at 309 Regent Street. The Olympic competitors were welcomed to the Poly’s annual garden party and various friendly matches were held between the national teams.

Twenty-seven Polytechnic members were selected for the British Olympic team. Charles Bartlett of the Polytechnic Cycling Club won a gold medal in the 100km, setting a new world record at the same time, with Charles Arthur Denny of the Club taking silver. Polytechnic members won a further four silver and four bronze medals in boxing, cycling and track events.


Find out more in our poster on the 1908 London Olympics (PDF 2.3MB).