On Friday 4 November 2011, I’m giving a talk at the University of Winchester on The British Olympics. It is part of the University’s 12 for 12 Project, a series of Olympic-themed events which was launched in October by former Olympic swimmer Kathy Read and is being co-ordinated by Richard Cheetham, Lecturer in Sports Coaching at Winchester. The talk is part of the Enrichment Week for Sport students, and will also be open to History students.
Tag Archives: The British Olympics
Last night, I gave a talk on The British Olympics at the Guildford Book Festival. I explored the diversity of Britain’s Olympic past, and looked at some of the local history of the Olympic Games, including the Army’s shooting range at Bisley, where most of the shooting for the 1908 Olympic Games took place. The audience was great, and the discussion was very productive. The talk was at Surrey Sports Park, the University of Surrey’s impressive new facility at the edge of Guildford.
Big thanks to Jo Baker and her colleagues for organising the event and for the hospitality, and to One Tree Books of Petersfield for looking after the book sales.
Last night I gave a research seminar at the University of Winchester for the students and staff involved with their Masters courses in History. The talk, called “Olimpick, Olympic and Olympian”, explored the alternative British histories of the Olympic Games. It was well attended and there were some great questions. Thanks to Dr Chris Aldous of the University of Winchester for organising it.
Henry Taylor won three gold medals in the pool at the 1908 London Olympic Games, and a clutch of other medals between 1906 and 1920. Paul Taylor”s piece in the Manchester Evening News uses Henry Taylor’s story as a way in to The British Olympics.
The Southern Daily Echo picked up on Southampton’s Olympic history in this feature on The British Olympics. Thanks to journalist Keith Hamilton for a great piece. One of my aims in writing the book was to remind people all over the country that the Olympics are not just about London, so it was really gratifying to see this kind of local appreciation.
On Thursday evening, it was back to Winchester for the local launch of The British Olympics. The scene was P & G Wells Booksellers in College Street, one of Winchester’s best-known shops, where Managing Director Crispin Drummond and his staff made us welcome. After a drinks reception, Crispin introduced me, and I gave a short talk on the book and my journey in writing it. It was great to catch up with friends and former students at the signing.
After the excitement of the book launch on Wednesday, I spent Thursday morning at the BBC’s Southampton studios giving interviews to four local radio stations. My book The British Olympics tells the story of a variety of Olympic events that took place all over the country, so there is a lot of local interest. First off was Radio Gloucester, who wanted to know all about the Cotswold Olimpicks, while Radio Oxford concentrated on the connections between Stoke Mandeville Hospital and the Paralympics. For Radio Sussex and Surrey, I looked at Sandhurst and Bisley as Olympic sites, and at the notorious Mr Nurse of Brighton, who was disqualified three times from the 1866 National Olympian Games when his professional status was foiund out – once in the swimming and twice in the athletics. Finally, Alina Jenkins of Radio Solent interviewed me about Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, where the sailing and motorboat racing at the 1908 Olympic Games took place.
On 28 September, English Heritage launched my new book, The British Olympics, the latest title in their highly acclaimed Played in Britain series. The event was held in the spectacular surroundings of the German Gymnasium in St Pancras, site of the gymnastics competition at the 1866 National Olympian Games.
We were welcomed by Roger Madelin of developers Argent, and by John Hudson of English Heritage Publishing. Simon Inglis, series editor of Played in Britain, then chaired a panel discussion. I looked at Britian’s Olympic history, Christiane Swinbank of the German Historical Institute outlined the history of London’s German community, and gymnastics historian Frank Galligan looked at German gymnastics. The talk was followed by a reception and a book signing.
You can see more about the event at Played in Britain‘s site.
On 13 February 2012, I’m giving a lecture on the Olympic Games for the London Parks & Gardens Trust. In an illustrated talk, I will look at the role of London’s parks in London’s past Olympic Games, held in 1908 and 1948, and how the 2012 Olympic Games are creating a new parkland. I will also dip into earlier Olympian history, like the 1866 National Olympian Games, which were held in the park at Crystal Palace.
The lecture will take place at The Garden Museum in Lambeth Palace Road. Doors open at 6.30 pm, and the talk starts at 7.00 pm.
Im giving a talk on my new book, The British Olympics: Britain”s Olympic heritage 1612-2012, at the Guildford Book Festival. It will take place in the Team Room at the University of Surrey”s Sports Park, starting at 6.00 pm on Thursday 20 October. The talk will be followed by questions, and by a book-signing.
To book your place, please visit the Festival”s website: http://www.guildfordbookfestival.co.uk/44-martin-polley