An Education in Sport: Competition, communities and identities at the University of Westminster since 1864

An Education in Sport: Competition, communities and identities at the University of Westminster since 1864In 1882 the noted educator, philanthropist and businessman, Quintin Hogg, bought his Young Men's Christian Institute from Covent Garden to 309 Regent Street, London.  It soon became known as the Regent Street Polytechnic (or, more usually, the Poly).  A strong believer in the health-giving properties of sports, Hogg financed a new gymnasium and swimming pool in the Regent Street building, while in the suburbs of London he purchased tennis courts and sports pitches, and built a boathouse at Chiswick.  By the time of Hogg's death in 1903, athletics, boxing, cricket, cycling, fencing, football, hockey, tennis, rowing, rugby and swimming were among many sports at the Poly and Hogg's sporting legacy has continued to thrive.

Some of the finest athletes of the twentieth century have competed for the University of Westminster 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, David Ricketts and Alan Pascoe MBE. Furthermore, the Polytechnic Harriers athletics club hosted the Marathon at the 1908 London Olympics, and promoted the annual Polytechnic Marathon, the forerunner of the London Marathon. 

Dr Mark Clapson, Reader in History at the University of Westminster, draws upon the University's extensive archives to celebrate a unique and ground-breaking sporting heritage that began in the nineteenth century, and is still very much alive today.  His previous publications include A Bit of a Flutter: Popular Gambling and English Society, 1823-1961 (Manchester University Press, 1992) and Working-Class Suburb: Social Change on an English Council Estate, 1930-2010 (Manchester University Press, 2012).

An Education in Sport is the second publication exploring this institution's long and diverse history.  The first instalment - the story of the Royal Polytechnic Institution - is unfolded in The Education of the Eye by Brenda Weeden (Granta Editions, 2008).  A third publication detailing the University's history 1882-1992 will appear in 2013.

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Author: Mark Clapson

Date published: March 2012

ISBN: 978-1-85757-108-0

Price: 20.00 per copy plus p&p.