University of Westminster flag

Archers at the University of Westminster 

This two-day conference, organised by the Department of Social and Historical Studies will celebrate the sporting heritage of the University of Westminster and mark the role of sports in the social history not only of London but of all cities.

The event will include a reception on 24 April, 6.30-8.30pm, to celebrate the launch of Mark Clapson’s book An Education in Sport: Competition, Communities and Identities at the University of Westminster Since 1864. The book constitutes the second part of the University’s ‘History Project’.


The conference costs £60 for both days, including lunch and the drinks reception on Tuesday 24 April. A student rate of £30 is also available.

To register please contact Anna McNally at [email protected] and details will be given for credit card payment.


Tuesday 24 April 2012

10.30–11am Registration and coffee
11–11.15am Introduction
11.15am–12.45pm Session 1: Sport and the Projection of Place
Sevket Akyildiz (SOAS, University of London)
Building the Soviet city in Central Asia and the fostering of Physical Culture: the Tashkent story

Battente Saverio (University of Siena)
Roma and the Olympics in 1960

Gabriele Silvestre (University College, London)
Third Time Lucky? Rio de Janeiro’s quest for the Olympic Games

12.45–1.30pm Lunch
1.30–3pm Session 2: Sport and Social Relations in the City (A)

Sevencen Tunc (Bogaziçi University)
Searching for the roots of football fandom in the city of Trabzon

Catherine Budd (De Montfort University)
An increasing and often unreasonable demand for pleasure: the role of sport in Middlesbrough, 1880-1914

Martin Polley (University of Southampton)
Sport and Gender at the 1908 London Olympic Games

3–3.30pm Coffee
3.30–5pm Session 3: Stadia and Infrastructure

Benjamin Flowers (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Conflict and spectacle in urban stadia

Gideon Fink Shapiro (University of Pennsylvania)
Public play and public works:  parks as infrastructure in New York City, 1934-39

Stefan Couperus (Utrecht University); Harm Kaal (Radboud University); Jelle van Lottum (University of Birmingham)
Urban Place and Stadiums in the Netherlands: a Comparative Analysis of Interwar Stadiums and the Heritage of War, 1913-1945

6.30–8.30pm Drinks reception to launch An Education in Sport: Competition, Communities and Identities at the University of Westminster Since 1864 by Dr Mark Clapson
All conference delegates are invited to join us in the Foyer of 309 Regent Street for this event to mark the launch of Part Two of the University of Westminster ‘History Project’.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

9–9.30am Coffee
9.30–11am Session 4: Sport and Social Relations in the City (B)

Dil Porter (De Montfort University)
London’s Football Culture 1880-1920

Darryl Leeworthy (Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Wales)
The Kayaks of Tiger Bay: sport, race relations, and community politics in interwar Cardiff.

Emma Peplow (University of Glamorgan/Marylebone Cricket Club)
Taking the field: telling the stories of grassroots cricket

11–11.30am Coffee
11.30am–1pm Session 5: Sporting Heritage in the City

Mark Clapson (University of Westminster)
Global sport in the suburbs: Regent Street Poly and the Chiswick Sports Ground, 1906-1939

Elaine Penn (University of Westminster)
From Regent Street Polytechnic to the University of Westminster: Archives for a sporting heritage

Chris Stride and Ffion Thomas (University of Sheffield)
Sporting Statues in the City: Honouring Heroes or Civic Branding?

1–1.30pm Roundtable and concluding observations
1.30–3pm Lunch

About An Education in Sport: Competition, Communities and Identities at the University of Westminster Since 1864 by Dr Mark Clapson

As Britain prepares to host this year’s Olympic Games, a new book from the University of Westminster tells the story of the University’s 130 year history of sport. Its students, members and administrators have won Olympic medals, organised and influenced key Olympic events and helped to bring the Olympics back to London for 2012.

An Education in Sport: Competition, Communities and Identities at the University of Westminster Since 1864 by Mark Clapson, Reader in History, draws on the University’s extensive archives to tell the stories of its sports clubs and facilities that have long been at the heart of London life, producing more than 30 Olympic medal winners and over 100 Olympic competitors.

From the 1880s, the institution was at the forefront of sports development, making an important and fascinating contribution to amateur sports in London, the UK and globally. It was also a hugely important and pioneering centre for women's sports. Athletics, football, rugby, cricket, boxing, netball, fencing, swimming and cycling are all sports at which athletes based at the Polytechnic have been successful.

An Education in Sport’ reveals the key role of The Regent Street Polytechnic in organising the opening and closing ceremonies for the 1908 Games, the first to be hosted in London. The Polytechnic Harriers organised the route for the 1908 marathon, establishing the international standard distance of 26 miles and 385 yards that is still used today. The club’s secretary, Jack Andrew, was involved with the race’s dramatic conclusion, helping the dehydrated Dorando Petri of Italy over the finish line. Pietri was disqualified and the second runner, Jim Hayes of the USA, was declared the winner. Such was the popular support for Pietri that he was presented with a special medal by Queen Alexandra. Members of the Polytechnic’s athletics, cycling and boxing clubs all won medals at the 1908 Olympics, with Charles Henry Bartlett winning gold in the 100km cycling.

Some of the finest athletes of the 20th century have competed for the University and its predecessors, including Olympians such as Arthur Wint of Jamaica and Emmanuel McDonald Bailey of Trinidad, Violet Webb, Thomas Lance, Harry Ryan, George Albert Hill, Dame Mary Glen-Haig and David Ricketts. Alan Pascoe MBE – a member of the Polytechnic Harriers athletics club – won silver in the 4 x 400m relay at the 1972 Games in Munich. More recently, as Vice-Chairman to Lord Coe, he played a key role in the successful British bid to host this year’s Games.

Today, the sporting facilities at the University of Westminster owe a great deal to a sporting culture that began during the Victorian years and expanded during the twentieth century. It is a sporting heritage that is still very much alive.

Professor Geoffrey Petts, Vice-Chancellor, comments:

‘The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are an opportunity for London to showcase its unique multiculturalism, together with its cultural and sporting heritage, a heritage that the University of Westminster most definitely shares with its home city. As Chair of PODIUM, the Further and Higher Education Unit for the London 2012 Games, I am pleased to continue the Westminster tradition of engagement with the Games and to contribute in a small way to building a legacy from the 2012 Games by promoting opportunities, fostering collaborations and enhancing experiences.’

Universities week  Universities UK