Find Your Olympian in the Attic
Find Your Olympian in the Attic, First of 100 Exhibitions to
Celebrate The Nation's Sporting Life Opens
Johnny Wilkinson's World Cup winning
ball, the murderous thoughts of Atlantic rowers, the ball from the
first ever Olympic football final, WW1 amputee croquet hero, 1930s
football etiquette all exhibition highlights.
16 March 2010: Our Sporting Life, a series of
100 exhibitions across the country, set to explore our addiction to
sport, revealing hidden sporting histories, forgotten heroes,
objects and stories in communities across the UK, opens its first
exhibition at the River & Rowing Museum in Henley on Thames
Highlights from the Our Sporting Life exhibitions will become
part of the world's greatest exhibition on British sporting
heritage held in London for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Objects and stories from the nations and regions will be joined by
icons and treasures from national sports to provide a unique
insight into how sport has shaped the country, its communities and
Our Sporting Life Henley was opened by Roy Clare CBE, Chief
Executive, Museums, Libraries and Archives and Cllr Malcolm
Leonard, Chairman, South Oxfordshire District Council with double
Paralympic Gold Medal Winner, Graham Edmunds and former World and
British Mountain Bike Champion Rob Warner, both from the area.
International trial bikers Jack Meek and Nick Goddard, from Henley,
performed tricks and stunts in the museum's galleries.
Each Our Sporting Life exhibition asks local people and sports
organisations to put forward objects and memorabilia that can help
tell the story of their sporting life. Local stories from Our
Sporting Life Henley include:
- Adventures of Henley Town Football team. Highlights include
photographs from 1912, the team travelled to Rouen to play the Club
Rounaise at the home side's expense, a major undertaking at the
time. Over 6,000 spectators watched the game - still the highest
crowd Henley Town has ever recorded. Henley lost 5-3. Back in
Henley upset was caused by a rumour they had lost 20-0 and all been
put in prison. The Club's minute book from 1931 outlines the
etiquette of hosting visiting teams - hot baths for the competition
and cold baths for the Henley Town team.
- Atlantic rowers describing 60 days at sea with one other
person, ranging from murderous thoughts about their rowing
partners, daring each other to swim as far away as possible from
the boat during breaks and the power of perfect partnership.
- The foundations of the Paralympic movement at Stoke Mandeville,
with photographs showing how sports such as wheelchair basketball
- Local hero, champion croquet player Montague Spencer Ell, who
lost his arms in the First World War but continued to win national
championships. He is credited with significantly advancing sport
for disabled people and developing sports at Stoke Mandeville. He
was awarded a gold badge and certificate of Life Membership from
the British Legion
- Memories of swimming in Thames, swimmers were chased from the
river by zealous boatmen and finally forced out due to pollution.
With the river cleaner the swimmers have returned. One example is
the 'Henley Swim' daring to face the wrath of officials and swim
the Henley Royal Regatta course during the competition. It now
attracts almost 200 people to complete the course before the first
rowing race begins.
- Modern day superstars including Sarah Duff, part of the first
female team to row across the Indian ocean in 2009; Olympic skier
Graham Bell, gold medal winning Paralympian Graham Edmunds, and
champions from new sports such as Rob Warner's Mountain Biking
Objects from the London 1908 Olympic Games, include a stopwatch
and starting pistol from the track and field competitions and the
football used in the Olympic final - Great Britain beat Denmark
2-0, to win Gold. 1908 was the first time Football was included in
the Olympic Games. All the matches where played at White City
Stadium, Shepherds Bush. The surprise of the tournament was Denmark
beating France with a record score of 17 - 1 in the semi-final.
After the defeat, the French withdrew from the tournament declining
to compete for the Bronze Medal.
The inclusion of memorabilia from sports such as Sandy Irvine's
Kettle found in his tent on Everest at 23,500ft in 1924 after he
and Mallory disappeared, illustrate how sport is not just a
competition against others, but often the elements and
London 2012 Inspire Mark
Our Sporting Life Henley has been granted the London 2012 Inspire
Mark from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and
Paralympics Games. The London 2012 Inspire Mark recognises
outstanding projects and events inspired by the Games to help
deliver a lasting legacy across the UK.
Sport taster days
South Oxfordshire District Council has supported the exhibition
and arranged 'taster days' at the River & Rowing Museum to
enable people to try a new sport. Sports on offer include Hockey,
Rugby, Tennis, Cricket, Croquet and Golf. Details at www.rrrm.co.uk.
Our Sporting Life has been supported by the Museums and
Libraries Archive (MLA) through its Renaissance in the regions
initiative and created by the Sports Heritage Network, which
comprises all the UK's major sports museums and archives.
Paul Mainds, Chairman of Our Sporting Life steering
committee, and Trustee & Chief Executive of the River &
Rowing Museum, Henley on Thames, says: "Sport is a
pulsating artery of life in our communities. It brings people
together and shapes us as individuals. Sporting objects and
memorabilia provide particularly powerful and unique records of our
lives and national events. We're asking people to find the objects
that tell the stories of their sporting lives and help create
exhibitions that tells the story of sport in their community. The
best of these objects will be included in the major Our Sporting
Life exhibition in London in 2012, sitting alongside national
sporting icons and together represent the breadth of Britain's
contribution to the world of sport".
"Our Sporting Life Henley sets the template and will be
developed by the hundred exhibitions to come around the country. I
believe that, with the support that we now have from the MLA and
from the other museums in the Sports Heritage Network, we can look
forward a fantastic series of exhibitions across the country over
the next two years and remarkable national Our Sporting Life
exhibition in 2012".
Future Our Sporting Life Exhibitions
Our Sporting Life exhibitions are currently being developed in the
South West, North East and West Midlands. Details of these
exhibitions will be announced soon.
Our Sporting Life Henley, 16 March - 11 July 2010. Address: The
River & Rowing Museum (www.rrm.co.uk), Mill Meadows, Henley on
Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 1BF Tel: 01491 415600. Tickets give FREE
admission to the Museum a whole year. Admission is just £7.50 for
adults, £5.50 for children aged four and over, FREE for children
aged three and under and £5.50 for senior citizens and concessions.
Free parking for visitors. Opening times: The Museum, terrace café
and shop are open every day from 10am - 5.30pm in summer and 10am -
5pm in the winter
Our Sporting Life Partners
The project has the support of numerous bodies both officially and
unofficially, including the Department of Culture, Media &
Sport, Sport England, the CCPR, Arts Council, Sport England,
English Heritage and Visit Britain. Currently, over 20 sports are
signed up as heritage partners with the objective of securing the
participation of virtually every sports association or body.
Sports Heritage Network members
Members include National Football Museum, MCC Museum at Lord's,
Wimbledon, the R&A Museum at St Andrews, the River & Rowing
Museum at Henley, the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham, the
National Horseracing Museum, Wheelpower, representing the
Paralympics; British Dragon Boat Racing and The Wenlock Olympian
The River & Rowing Museum (rrm.co.uk)
The River & Rowing Museum, an independent charity, is one of
the UK's leading regional and sporting Museums, attracting over
100,000 visitors a year. The Museum also has a purpose built
education centre visited by over 20,000 children and adults a year.
The Museum provides superb value for money. Tickets are £7.50 for
adults and £5.50 for children and provide free access for one year.
The Museum celebrates four themes explored through a wide variety
of exhibitions and events across four galleries and special
- The past, present and future of the River Thames
- The historic riverside community of Henley on Thames
- The international sport of rowing
- The Wind in the Willows
Since opening in August 1998 the Museum has received numerous
awards including the National Heritage/NPI Museum of the Year
award, the Sandford Award For Heritage Education and the Learning
Outside the Classroom Quality Badge. The River & Rowing Museum
is part of the Thames Valley Museums Group (TVMG) Family Friendly
initiative - a scheme that brings together 29 Museums across
Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, to promote their
popular appeal to the whole family.