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Subject: ‘Sporting Heroes’

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The best pictures of racing plate and trophies

Posted in Art, Arts and Crafts, Best pictures, Historical articles, History, Sport, Sporting Heroes on Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The best pictures of racing plate show some of the elaborate silver and silver-gilt trophies awarded to winners at the many race meetings in Great Britain.
The first picture is of the Doncaster Cup.

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The Doncaster Cup, 1862

The second picture shows the Ascot Prize Plate.

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The Ascot Prize Plate, 1871

The third picture shows the Goodwood Cup.

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Goodwood Races, the Cup, 1869

Many more pictures of trophies can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of cartoons of jockeys in ‘Vanity Fair’

Posted in Animals, Best pictures, Famous news stories, Historical articles, History, Sport, Sporting Heroes on Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The best pictures of famous jockeys in ‘Vanity Fair’ are memorable studies of young men in their various winning colours.
The first picture is of Frankie Wootton, an Australian teenager and British champion.

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Frank Wooton (sic), 8 September 1909, Vanity Fair cartoon by Sir Leslie Ward (Spy)

The second picture is of Herbert Jones, who often rode the King’s horses and in 1913 was riding Anmer in the collision with Emily Davison.

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Herbert Jones, The King's Jockey, 29 September 1904, Vanity Fair cartoon by Roland L’Estrange (Ao)

The third picture is of Danny Maher, three-times Derby winner, most memorably on ‘Cicero’, Lord Rosebery’s horse. At Oxford Rosebery had three ambitions:‭ ‬to marry an heiress,‭ become Prime Minister and win the Derby.‭ He achieved all three.

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Danny Maher, Danny, 10 September 1903, Vanity Fair cartoon by Roland L’Estrange (Ao)

Many more pictures from ‘Vanity Fair’ can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of the Berlin Olympic Games, 1936

Posted in America, Architecture, Best pictures, Famous news stories, Historical articles, History, News, Politics, Sport, Sporting Heroes on Friday, 7 August 2015

The best pictures of the Olympic Games held in Berlin in 1936 show the Fuhrer and the sports stadia.
The first picture shows a photographic souvenir poster for the Games.

Berlin Olympics, picture, image, illustration

Olympic Games, Berlin, 1936

The second picture is of a furious Hitler watching Jesse Owens, the black American, winning gold in the 100 meters.

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Hitler watching Jesse Owens at the Olympic Games, Berlin, 1936

The third picture is of Albert Speer’s Reichssportfeld Stadium in Berlin.

Berlin Olympics, picture, image, illustration

Reichssportfeld, Berlin

Many more pictures of the Olympic Games can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of Australian cricketers

Posted in Australia, Best pictures, games, Historical articles, History, London, Sport, Sporting Heroes on Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The best pictures of Australian cricketers show them in both England and Australia.
The first picture of Australian cricketers depicts them back home on horseback riding up-country to play a match.

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A Team Going Up-Country To Play A Match

The second picture shows the Australian cricket team in England in 1882.

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The Australian Cricketers

The third picture shows Australia playing a test match against England at the Oval.

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The Cricket Match, Australia v England, at Kennington Oval

Many more pictures of cricket can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of England’s Lady Cricketers

Posted in Best pictures, games, Historical articles, History, Oddities, Sport, Sporting Heroes on Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The best pictures of Women’s Cricket depict the early days of Ladies’ Cricket and show female players during play.
The first picture of women’s cricket shows a lady fielder taking an excellent catch.

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Lady Cricketers: A Good Catch by Lucien Davis

The second picture of England’s lady cricketers shows a great batswoman at the crease.

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The English Lady Cricketers: Miss Stanley batting by Lucien Davis

The third picture of women’s cricket shows a coloured full-length portrait of a lady cricketer.

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The English Lady Cricketer is wearing a red polka dot blouse and white skirt with red trim, a red cricket cap, and is holding a cricket bat.

Many more pictures of cricket can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of the Eton v Harrow Cricket Match

Posted in Best pictures, Education, Fashion, games, Historical articles, History, London, Sport, Sporting Heroes on Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The best pictures of Eton v Harrow at Lord’s offer a glimpse of the English upper classes at play, showing the affluent onlookers as well as the cricketers.
The first picture shows the crowds in their finery with the Lord’s pavilion in the background.

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Eton and Harrow Cricket match at Lord's

The second picture of the famous cricket match shows a fielder retrieving the ball from among a group of onlookers.

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A good hit – Eton and Harrow Cricket match at Lord's by W Bromley

The third picture shows a curious exchange at the boundary between a player and a lady spectator.

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A boundary hit – Eton and Harrow Cricket match at Lord's by Sydney P Hall

Many more pictures of cricket can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The new dirt track dare-devils rode the reliable Rudge

Posted in Australia, Engineering, Historical articles, History, Sport, Sporting Heroes, Transport on Friday, 14 March 2014

This edited article about motor-cycles first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 589 published on 28 April 1973.

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Cornering on the dirt track

In the mid-1920s the Rudge Whitworth motorcycle catalogue advertised a rather unusual optional extra. This was the canoe sidecar – a canoe-shaped passenger carrying body which could be detached from the motorcycle and launched on a river!

Such ideas were typical of the factory which was always coming up with new ideas – and a surprising number of them worked; for right from the earliest days the engineers at the Coventry works seemed to have an instinct for doing a job well.

In 1911 the TT races in the Isle of Man were moved to the mountain circuit – so-called because it climbed to nearly 1500 feet going over the shoulder of Snaefell. This climb posed a great problem to the single gear belt driven machines of the day and some of the riders who had entered their Rudges asked the factory if it could produce a variable gear.

The gear ratio of a belt driven machine is fixed by the relative size of the pulley on the engine shaft and that on the rear wheel. As early as 1909 the Zenith firm had introduced its Gradua gear in which a large hand lever opened or closed the flanges of the pulley on the engine shaft, thus varying its effective size. This change in the pulley altered the tension of the belt, and this was compensated for by moving the rear wheel backwards or forwards! Although the idea of shifting the back wheel about while the bike was in motion does not seem very pleasant, the arrangement became quite famous.

The Rudge designers felt that something better was needed and it took them just one week to invent and produce the Rudge Multi gear. As the engine shaft pulley was made smaller the belt rim on the rear wheel was made larger and vice versa so that the belt was kept at a constant tension. There was a clumsy looking arrangement on the rear wheel, and the variation in gearing possible was not very wide, but it gave a considerable advantage over a single geared machine and the Rudge Multi became a great favourite before World War I.

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Racing heroes of the TT course on the Isle of Man

Posted in Historical articles, Sport, Sporting Heroes on Thursday, 13 March 2014

This edited article about motor-cycle racing first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 587 published on 14 April 1973.

David had slain Goliath and the crowds in the stands roared their approval. Howard Davies, riding a 350cc. AJS, a machine that was much smaller than all those ridden by his rivals, had just flashed across the finishing line to win the Senior TT race. Once more “Ajays” had triumphed with their technical superiority

The TT course on the Isle of Man is 37¾ miles long soars from sea level to over 1,300 feet. Spectators have to make the difficult choice between going to some point on the course or taking a seat in the grandstand. At one of the famous corners you get the thrill of watching a distant dot grow into a famous rider and then seeing him swirl round the bend at the limit between safety and calamity, but as the riders are sent off in pairs at 10 second intervals you cannot tell who is leading. At the grandstand you only see the riders start and then flash along the road on each lap, but you can keep in touch with progress by means of giant scoreboards which show the six fastest riders and also record the times of the others. Nowadays loudspeakers give details at some points round the course, but in the early days it was only at the grandstand that you could get a proper picture of the race.

At the 1921 Senior race those who chose the grandstand certainly had the thrills. At the end of the first lap, iron man Freddie Dixon was leading – a brilliant tuner of engines he punished them brutally on the circuit so he usually led till something went wrong! But what caused the tongues to wag was that in 2nd place was Howard Davies on a 350 cc AJS which beat the whole pack of riders on machines 150 ccs larger. This was the first time that this had happened – and to this day the feat has not been repeated.

The AJS was no upstart. Joseph Stevens and his five sons made an internal combustion engine in 1897 and later went on to make frames and other parts for motorcycles. Twelve years later they had made the first complete AJS machine. Perhaps because they were in Wolverhampton, away from the main body of motorcycle manufacturers in Birmingham, they often tackled problems in a different way from the general run of thought.

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Captain Webb founded a new sport – English Channel swimming

Posted in Famous news stories, Historical articles, History, Sea, Sport, Sporting Heroes on Saturday, 8 March 2014

This edited article about Captain Webb first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 586 published on 7 April 1973.

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Matthew Webb, the first man to swim the English Channel in August 1875 by John Keay

The vicious seas slammed into the flank of the little sailing boat, and spray covered the men peering anxiously to starboard in search of a tiny black dot in the water.

It was an important dot – a human being, struggling to be the first man ever to swim across the English Channel.

Nowadays the Channel is swum every year, with a fleet of escort boats with strong engines which can bring them alongside in a matter of seconds if a swimmer gets into trouble. But the only escort for Captain Matthew Webb on 24th August, 1875, was one cockle-shell of a boat, which was in almost as much danger from the rough seas as Webb himself! Even the men aboard the boat thought Webb was a madman. They were there because they had been paid by a London newspaper, but they fully expected to return to Dover carrying the body of a drowned man.

Webb had begun with a spectacular dive from Dover Pier. He was a short, strongly built man, already the holder of a Royal Humane Society Medal for trying to rescue a sailor who had fallen from a ship in the Atlantic. Later, as a test before swimming the Channel, he had outswum a boat full of oarsmen on the Thames.

Now, with his body smeared with grease as a protection against the cold, he was fighting his way across against weather which grew steadily worse with every hour that passed.

He swam breast-stroke, as most swimmers did in those days. It took him more than three hours to cover the first four and a half miles, but even so he was in good spirits. A cup of beer was handed down to him, also beef tea, and a spoonful of cod liver oil.

He grinned up at the men in the boat, handed his cup back to them, and kept on.

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The Twenties and Thirties were the Golden Age of Motor cycling

Posted in Historical articles, History, Sport, Sporting Heroes on Friday, 7 March 2014

This edited article about motor cycle racing first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 585 published on 31 March 1973.

Motor Cycles,  picture, image, illustration

Motor Cycles by James E McConnell

The motor cycles made before World War I were spindly affairs that looked like bicycles with engines fitted into their frames. Many still retained their pedals because the feeble engines could not climb any severe gradient.

But in the 1920s came engineering developments which produced really powerful engines, and as speeds increased the frames became heavier and brakes and steering improved to cope with the increased speed.

From the mid 1920s to 1939, British machines were supreme. On the racing circuits the Nortons, AJS’s, Velocettes and forgotten makes such as New Imperial, OK Supreme, Rex Acme and Zenith swept everything before them. To pilot them came a stream of riders – most of whom started as amateurs and then graduated to professional status. The stars were all individualists who broke many records – and machines – by their furious riding.

It was the Golden Age of Motor cycling.

Young Tim Hunt crouched flat over the tank of his Norton as it thundered over the finishing line of the 1931 Senior TT race on the Isle of Man – and the roar from the crowd in the grandstand nearly drowned the lusty bellow of the engine.

He had already delighted the crowds by beating all the aces in the Junior 350cc race on Monday. Now he had repeated the feat in the Senior 500cc race which has always been regarded as the most important event of the week. It was the story book tale of the young hero triumphing over the experts – although Tim Hunt was not a complete novice because he had won the Amateur TT previously.

By winning both races in one year he earned a special place in motor cycle history for it was the first time that the feat had ever been done. Equally noteworthy was the fact that Norton machines had come 1st, 2nd and 3rd – a clean sweep in the Senior race that had not been done since the far-off days of 1911 when the American Indian machines had come over to show the then rather amateurish British makers how races should be won. The enthusiasts certainly had plenty to talk about as they crowded into the steamer to make their way back to England.

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