Sat. Sep 19th, 2020

Bruce Castle has well over 50 photographs of the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay through Haringey, with our thanks to photographer Henry Jacobs. Although we already had some photographs taken along the route, we now have more or less the whole route covered. Henry was the council’s official photographer for the 2012 Torch Relay and had the privileged position of being sat atop one of the lorries that drove in front of the torchbearers. Along with broadcaster Vanessa Feltz who was commentating on the event, Henry was in this great position on the lorry for the whole of the route that day –  from Hendon Town Hall to Alexandra Palace. We therefore kick off today’s post with some of Henry’s photographs.

From the collections of Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service) © Henry Jacobs

From the collections of Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service) © Henry Jacobs

These images above are from near the New River Village and Hornsey High Street areas and show torch bearer Pam Moffat in the first photograph taking it on the next stretch of the route. Another photographs shows staff holding a banner from Greig City Academy. The relay running continued along Priory Road to the foot of hill leading up to Alexandra Palace, with a few more changes up that hill along the way.

From the collections of Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service) © Henry Jacobs

Here in the photograph above, Frank Adams carries the torch, having his moment to shine – and being directed on what to do next as he stands outside Alexandra Palace. The Palace had been transformed to become the host for Holland Heineken House. This was where Dutch supporters and athletes were invited to gather during the two weeks of the 2012 Olympics. Frank was the penultimate torch bearer in Haringey, before handing over to the last torch bearer on the route ….

From the collections of Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service) © Henry Jacobs

… one the greatest Olympian athletes in this country, decathlete Daley Thompson CBE. You can see via Harringay Online, the moment when Daley is about to light the cauldron with his torch. And you can read more about that moment and the build-up, as watched by an adoring fan of Daley along with her own photographs of the event at Alexandra Palace, here. A great end to a great Torch Relay day through Haringey, with the flame resting at Alexandra Palace ready for the next leg of its journey.

Daley Thompson’s connection with Haringey was not just with the torch. He used to train at what is now the Enfield and Haringey Athletic Club, one of the most famous organisations in British athletics. Formed in 1999, it merged Haringey Athletic Club with Enfield Harriers. Amongst the club’s members (and its predecessor clubs), along with Daley, Haringey can boast a prestigious parade of international and Olympic athletes who have trained there.

The earliest international in the club’s history was Bernard Eeles who competed for England in 1934 against France over 1500m. Paul Vallé was another competing in the 200m in 1946. Olympians followed with shot-putter John Giles and 10,000 metre and marathon runner Stan Cox, both competing in the 1948 London Games. We featured Stan’s marathon running in one of our earlier posts that you can read again here.

The impressive hall of Olympic fame continued in the years that followed with some of those athletes listed below:

  • Stan Cox (Marathon, 1952)
  • John Wrighton (400m and 400m Relay, 1960)
  • Gerry McIntyre (Marathon, 1960, representing Ireland)
  • Gary Oakes (400m Hurdles, bronze medal,1980)
  • Heather (Hunte) Oakes (100m Relay, 2 x bronze medals, 1980 and 1984)
  • Seb Coe (1500m, gold medal, 1984)
  • John Herbert (Triple Jump, 1984 and 1988)
  • Mike MacFarlane (100m Relay, silver medal,1988)
  • Dalton Grant (High Jump, 1988)
  • Anthony Jarrett (110m Hurdles, 1988 and 1992)

You can see the most up-to-date list here. And you can also see more on Paralympian Vanessa Wallace from Tottenham here, who started off her Paralympian athletic career with wheelchair racing at the club in Haringey.

Gary Oakes and Heather Hunte

From the collections of Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

The Club’s most recent athletes continue to reach the top in all their efforts, winning many titles – often in successive years – in British athletics. The Club is now based at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre, Picketts Lock in Enfield and at the New River Sports Centre in Wood Green, where the Haringey Sports Development Trust is based.

From the collections of Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

One notable former athlete of the club was Seb Coe. You can read about the golden years of Haringey Athletic Club here, under the leadership of well-known sports commentator and athletics coach Ron Pickering. Seb Coe went on of course to lead the organisation of the Games when it came to London in 2012, as the Chairman of LOCOG.

From the collections of Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

That year a commemorative portrait of Seb Coe was produced by Haringey-based artist Nicola Green, who worked with local schools as part of Haringey’s unique Oooooh Art programme of art created to celebrate the Cultural Olympiad and the Olympics in London 2012. The 26 sporting images made by children from Stamford Hill Primary School form the border of a larger version of the portrait of Seb Coe, which was displayed throughout the Games at the Stadium Suite in the shop John Lewis, Stratford, overlooking the Olympic Stadium. The smaller portrait and more of the children’s work is now part of the collections at Bruce Castle.

Another work of art in our collections created for the Oooooh Art Collection and inspired by running and athletics was the Leather Running Track, featured below with the artist Melonie Stennett.

From the collections of Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

This work is constructed from overlapping black leather squares sewn onto cotton, replicating the shape of an athletics track. The gold leather in the centre represents the medals for which the athletes must push themselves to compete. The smaller artworks were made by children in Year 3 at Welbourne Primary School working with Melonie to create leather silhouettes: Leather Athletes. For some of the children this was their first attempt at sewing.

From the collections and © Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

At Bruce Castle, we are also proud to have known and remember a world class veteran runner also from Haringey. Bill Guy (1930 – 2014) was born in Guyana and joined the US Navy in 1948. He moved to Britain in 1968 and was a community activist and former Tottenham bus driver. Until his death in 2014, Bill lived in Summerhill Village, in Summerhill Road, Tottenham. He held 4 Gold Medals gained at the European Athletics Championships and the World Athletics Championships in the 100 and 200 metres. At the Vth European Veteran Games in Malmo, Sweden in 1986, Bill took the Gold for the 100 metres in 12.3 seconds, becoming the fastest man in the world over the age of 55. The same year he set a new veterans’ 100m track record at Haringey with a staggering 11.89 seconds. Holder of countless, European & World record titles and achievement awards, Bill was suitably profiled on BBC2’s Ebony programme in 1988. When he gave the medal he won in Rome in 1985 (pictured above) to the museum as part of the Local Figureheads, Local Heroes exhibition in 2003, he said:

I was honoured to represent this great country of ours and very proud to become the world champion. …I smokes, I drinks, but at that time of reckoning I was the first to cross the line…I believe in God and I hate to lose. This is just one of my many medals but I beat 89 other countries to win this one – that makes you think.”

From the collections and © Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

What amazing athletes we have had in our midst in Haringey. For most of us though, running competitively at such a world class level is unlikely to happen. Our experiences might be running and competing at local clubs, as you can see in this very old group photograph of White Hart Lane Running Club in 1883.

From the collections and © Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

But more likely it will be at school, taking part competitively between schools or at the annual school sports day. Below are a few images from our collections, mainly from the 1950s at school sporting events. The one below is a sports day at Bruce Castle in the park during the 1950s. Notice they are running in every day clothes, not sport outfits (hope it wasn’t too hot!).

From the collections and © Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

We also have in our collections from the 1950s a number of photographs, as well as a couple of shields, from the Tottenham Schools Sports Association events held each year. The ones below show youngsters competing at the Harringay Stadium.

From the collections and © Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

From the collections and © Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

At the former Stationers’ School in 1970 on the Crouch End/ Stroud Green borders (now the site of Stationers’ Park), cross-country running was the sport they excelled in, as the newspaper article records below.

From the collections of Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

That ends our short run through the history of running as a sport in our borough. Hope you have enjoyed it. And lastly, let’s take the lead of Councillor Vic Butler, the Mayor of Haringey Council in 1976-1977, from this fun photograph of him below, firing a starting pistol at a sporting event – reminiscent of many school sports days, we are sure. So, as we get ready for the weekend … line up … on your marks, get set – GO!

From the collections of Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

Deborah Hedgecock

Curator

By admin

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