ESHR 24/004 pg 2

London Olympics, 1908: The Marathon race (Reference: Esher Papers, ESHR 24/4).

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games are upon us and we thought it would be a good excuse to delve into the archives to see what Olympic related treasures we hold in the collections. We currently have a small display of items outside the Dining Hall at Churchill College, and here is a taster of what we have got on display.

The majority of the images relate to the 1948 London Olympics or the “Austerity Games” as they came to be known. They were dubbed the “Austerity Games” due to the post-war rationing and economic climate in which the games were held, this in turn meant no new stadiums or accommodation were built for the Games.

CSCT 5/3/22

CSCT 5/3/23

Images from Clementine Churchill’s albums including: a close up shot of the Olympic Torch for the 1948 “Austerity Games” and the handover of the torch from Kent to Surrey. (Reference: Clementine Churchill Papers, CSCT 5/3/22-23).

The Noel-Baker Papers provided the majority of the images, with over 40 boxes of material relating to the Olympic Games/Sport to choose from.

NBKR 6/6/2

NBKR 6/6/2

Two photographs from the ceremony of lighting the flame by the British athlete- unknown to the last minute- who carried the Olympic torch into the stadium on the last stage of journey (Reference: Noel-Baker Papers, NBKR 6/6/2).

NBKR 6/6/2d

Mrs Blankers-Koen [Holland] wins 80 metres hurdles [1948] in record time of 11.2 seconds. This smashed the then current world and Olympic records. Maureen Gardner, of Britain, second from right won second place. (Reference: Noel-Baker Papers, (NBKR 6/6/2d).

NBKR 6/41/1

NBKR 6/41/2

Official souvenir of the 1948 Games. The back page displays a handy map of the different locations used for the Games. The cover page features the poster design by Walter Herz. If you look closely the time shown by Big Ben is 4pm, the time the Games were officially opened (Reference: Noel-Baker Papers, NBKR 6/41/1-2).

Who was Philip Noel-Baker? He was a politician, diplomat, academic, and outstanding amateur athlete, and renowned campaigner for disarmament who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1959. Philip Noel-Baker competed for Great Britain at the Stockholm Olympic Games in 1912, before going on to captain the British team at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games, where he won a silver medal in the 1500 metres, and he also served as the captain for the 1924 Paris Olympic Games. Aside from competing in the Olympic Games in the 1910-1920s, Philip Noel-Baker also had significant involvement in the organising of the 1948 “Austerity Games”.

And lastly, something a little more recent:

CCAC 120/2/3

A postcard of the GB Olympic diving team for the 2012 London Olympics. Sent to the College by postgraduate student and member of the British diving team Stacie Powell. (Reference: College archive, CCAC 120).

If you would like to find out more about the collections featured in this post, or any of the other 600+ collections we hold, please pop over to our Janus catalogue.

— Natasha Swainston, Archives Assistant

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