Articles tagged with: football

The Importance of Archives

on Tuesday, 22 April 2014. Posted in Archives

As an archivist I’m often so bogged down in the nitty-gritty of day to day work that I forget just how important archives are for society as a whole. A recent news item has brought home to me the importance of archives and the vital role that an archivist can play. I am sharing this, not to boost my own ego, or those of my colleagues, but just to make others think about how archives can be taken for granted in our society, and recognize their immense value for all of us.


The news item which made me wax philosophical was the announcement of the opening of an inquest into the Hillsborough disaster of 1989. This has only been made possible because of the work of three archivists who were employed in 2009 to catalogue and make available over 450,000 documents relating to that tragic incident. As we now know, their work, alongside that of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, uncovered terrible truths which have been covered up for decades. The panel report is available using the link at the bottom of this article.

Wiltshire's Sports Stars

on Friday, 24 January 2014. Posted in Sport

The 2014 Winter Olympics will soon be upon us, and as we'll be cheering on Pewsey’s very own Shelley Rudman, I thought I would bring to light another of Wiltshire’s pioneering sportswomen. Fanny Williams played for Swindon Town ladies football team in the 1920s. Ladies football developed during World War I when the employees of munitions factories formed teams to play each other. The Football Association banned ladies football on their grounds but the English Ladies Football Association was formed in 1921. A national Challenge Cup competition was begun in 1925. Fanny’s boots are kept at the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.

Wiltshire can also be said to possess some famous athletics stars of the past. Walter George was reported to be the finest runner of the Victorian era, with a ‘phenomenal’ performance in 1886. He became a ‘national institution’ and was the sporting world’s very first superstar. His method of training involved brine baths and a ‘100-up’ exercise. He also enjoyed beer drinking and smoking, but still managed to produce a new ‘miracle mile’ that lasted for 29years. He was born in 1858 and suffered from asthma, croup and St. Vitus’ dance as a child. He lived in Calne; his father was a pharmacist whose clients came from many parts of Wiltshire. As a child he was encouraged to get lots of fresh air and went off running for an hour or two, especially around the area from Cherhill to Morgan’s Hill with the white horse and newly erected Lansdowne Monument. It was at Lillie Bridge on August 23rd, 1886 where Walter smashed the mile record by four seconds. One spectator stated that silence prevailed whilst waiting for the time to be displayed onto the board. Then a roar went up ‘Such a roar thrills me now as I write this... thousands broke loose from every quarter and rushed madly across the ground towards the victor’. It was the fastest mile in history at four minutes twelve and three quarters. Walter’s brother Alfred was also a title winning athlete who later managed the British team at the 1924 Olympics.

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