Places where sporting history happened

There’s a place in England that saw the highest jump, fastest run, the first game, the biggest crowd – these ordinary places in our communities represent England’s amazing sporting history.

Here we take a look at 6 places that have seen amazing sporting achievements.

Help us add to this list – let us know your favourite sites of sporting history in the comments and nominate them for A History of England in 100 Places.

Roger Bannister Running Track (formerly Iffley Road Track), Oxford

The_Grandstand_at_the_Sir_Roger_Bannister_running_track
The Grandstand at the Sit Roger Bannister running track via wikipedia

On 6th May 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person break the 4 minute mile. At the time the track was called Iffley Road Track and Bannister was a 25 year old full-time medical student. He trained for just 45 minutes a day for the amateur athletics event, which drew a crowd of around 3,000 spectators. The roar of the crowd drowned out the announcement that Bannister had run the mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds – a world record he held for just 46 days.

Wembley Stadium, London

Wembley Stadium 1923 c Historic England Archive AA74_00096
Wembley Stadium 1923© Historic England Archive AA74_00096

Although football was invented in the UK, the only trophy won by a British team during an international football competition was the World Cup in 1966 at Wembley.

The original stadium, then called The Empire Exhibition Stadium, opened its doors in 1923. It was the site of the 1948 Olympic Games – the first games to take place after a 12 year hiatus because of the Second World War.

TQ194855 WEMBLEY STADIUM TQ1985/152
Wembley Stadium © Historic England TQ1985/152

Built on the site of the old stadium, the new Wembley opened in 2007, with a capacity of 90,000 making it the second largest in Europe.

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

Clifton Suspension Bridge - Copy
Clifton Suspension Bridge © Historic England Archive

Linking Bristol and North Somerset across the Avon Gorge, the Clifton Suspension Bridge was designed by one of the most prolific figures in engineering history, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It opened in 1864 and is funded entirely by tolls.

It is also famed for being the site of the first modern bungee jump. On 1 April 1979, David Kirke, Geoff Tabin and Simon Keeling leapt from the 250 ft bridge and were arrested shortly after. The members of Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club continued to jump off of other famous landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, spreading their love for bungee jumping worldwide.

Court 18, Wimbledon, London

TQ241722 WIMBLEDON TENNIS CENTRE TQ2472/035
Wimbledon Tennis Centre © Historic England

The 2010 Wimbledon championships saw the world’s longest match at the world’s oldest tennis tournament. In the first round, American John Isner took on French player Nicolas Mahut in a match that spanned 11 hours over 3 days! Isner won at 4.47pm on the final day.

The second longest tennis match lasted just over 7 hours.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London

Aerial photos taken of the Park during July 2015 c Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - Copy
Aerial photos taken of the Park during July 2015 c Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games saw 10,500 athletes take park in 26 sports, inspiring the world with feats of astonishing athleticism. The games took place across 34 venues, the central hub of activity being at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which saw up to 180,000 spectators each day.

Team GB’s Ellie Simmonds, a British Paralympian swimmer, took home two gold medals and set a world record in the 400m freestyle. Athlete Victoria Pendleton beat the Olympic Record for Women’s sprint cycling, and Jamaican Usain Bolt beat the Olympic Record for the Men’s 100m. In an unforgettable double win, British distance runner Mo Farah secured a gold medal for the 5,000 and 10,000 metre races.

Cyclists in the south of the park c Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - Copy
Cyclists in the south of the park c Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

A generation of future athletes can now use these world class facilities, and imagine the amazing things that happened there.

100 Places logoWe want to hear about great sporting moments as well as the places that generations of people have shopped, swum, drank and danced.

Help us to name the 100 places that tell England’s story. Nominate now

Join in the conversation on twitter using #100Places

Further Reading

Historic England Bookshop

Discover your local sporting heritage with the Played in Britain series.

Blog readers get a massive 25% off – use code SPORT17 at the checkout.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Pingbacks & Trackbacks