What is sporting heritage?

There are so many things that could be the focus of a project about sport. Here are some of the themes that others have explored.

History of clubs and grounds

From Crystal Palace and Middlesborough Football Clubs to the Warrington Wolves, projects have drawn on the memories of local people, players and supporters. The Wakefield Wildcats’ Belle Vue Stadium and Doncaster Rugby League’s old ground Tattersfield were documented before their demolition, enabling the heritage to be displayed in the clubs’ new homes.

Stories of sporting heroes

Projects have focused on individuals, from the Olympian KK McArthur, born in Ballymoney, to Sam Bertram, goalkeeper for Charlton Athletics when they won the 1947 FA Cup. Football Unites, Racism Divides explored the life of Arthur Wharton, a sportsman who emigrated from Ghana in the late 1800s, and became an iconic figure in black British history.

Sports events

London 2012 inspired lots of projects linked to the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Three groups drew on Shropshire’s connection with William Penny-Brookes and the modern Olympic movement. ‘1948 Olympic Games, then and now’ compared the memories of people who were young during London’s last Olympic Games and the lives of young people experiencing the games in 2012.

Wider participation

It’s not just about the pros. West Ham and Plaistow’s ‘1912-2012’ project focused on school sports, a subject within most people’s personal experience. Also in London, young Muslim women researched archives at the Women’s Library and interviewed peers about their own participation, making a film called Sporting Sisters: Stories of Muslim women in sport


‘In The Long Run’ celebrated 30 years of the Great North Run, and its role in reflecting and shaping the region’s cultural identity. Projects have also looked at sports, such as rugby and football, in relation to the centenary of the First World War.


The Bradford Bulls Foundation researched, conserved and preserved artefacts associated with the history of Odsal Stadium, involving local community groups in collecting personal memories and rescuing memorabilia. Erith Yacht Club also used part of its funding to conserve its archive.

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