Headlines from history - Sports | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Headlines from History – Sports

Throughout the month of June, The British Newspaper Archive is celebrating its numerous sporting titles.  Today, we are taking a look at some of the sporting headlines from the newspapers during the month of June regarding tennis, racing, and cricket.

According to the Illustrated London News, which published an extensive feature about sports as part of its 100th-anniversary edition, since the turn of the century, sports have become an international spectacle and a global passion.


Sport becomes a global passion, Illustrated London News
Sport becomes a global passion | Illustrated London News | Friday 01 May 1992


Throughout our lives, we have all participated in sports in some form, whether it was during our years at school or watching an international event on the television or supporting a local youth team.  At the same time, newspaper journalists have been there to cover these events.


Sailing – Sir Francis Charles Chichester

Fifty years ago, on 28 May 1967, Sir Francis Charles Chichester completed the first solo circumnavigation of the globe.  He sailed around the world in his 53-foot ketch Gipsy Moth IV.  During his 220-day trip, he celebrated his 65th birthday while rounding Cape Horn. Chichester stopped at only one port of call in Sydney.

Although the completion of his journey took place in May, we have added this record-breaking event to this collection because the celebration and press coverage continued into the month of June.


Sir Francis Charles Chichester | Illustrated London News | Saturday 3 June 1967


Sir Francis Charles Chichester | Illustrated London News | Saturday 3 June 1967


When asked about his experience, Sir Chichester explained

‘It intensifies life. You are living life to the full on a job like that, and it is really worthwhile because of that.’


Racing – The Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot Emperors Cup 1845 The Sphere - Saturday 13 June 1953
Royal Ascot, Emperors Cup, 1845 | The Sphere | Saturday 13 June 1953


One of the highlights of the British social calendar is the Royal Ascot, which takes place every June at the Ascot Racecourse and is attended by the Royal family.  The British papers have always covered the four days of racing for its exciting combination of royalty, racing, and fashion.  The Ascot Racecourse was founded by Queen Anne in 1711, but the Royal Ascot event, as we know it today, took shape after the introduction of the Gold Cup in 1807.  The Gold Cup takes place on the third day of the race, known as the Ladies Day.

In 1953, The Sphere did a feature on the Royal Ascot through the ages, highlighting some of its most memorable moments. This piece included Sir Gordon winning the Gold Cup in 1952 and when an unnamed horse won the Emperor’s Cup in 1845 and was then given the name The Emperor, as well as the struggle between Lord Stanley’s Quashed and Mr Woodward’s Omaha in a fight to the finish in 1936.



Royal Ascot through the ages
Royal Ascot through the ages| The Sphere | Saturday 13 June 1953


Search tip: Search for Newspaper coverage of events days or even weeks after the event.  Also, search for world events during anniversary years as some newspapers published retrospective articles such as The Sphere’s ‘Royal Ascot through the ages’.

Cricket – The Ashes

On 13 June 1985, the first test match of the Ashes began, a cricket series between Australia and England.  This series saw England regain the Ashes.  In the first match, England won by 5 wickets and continued to win the whole series 3-1 with two match draws.

England regain the ashes
England regain the Ashes | Illustrated London News | Tuesday 1 October 1985


The series became known as the Ashes in 1882, after the Sporting Times published a satirical obituary, lamenting the death of English cricket and states that the ashes were to be returned to Australia, hence giving the name to the test cricket series.

Death of English cricket
The death of English cricket | Sporting Times | Saturday 2 September 1882 



Tennis – French Championship 

More than 80 years ago, Peggy Scriven surprised the tennis world by becoming the first British person to win the singles French Open.  Before the tournament, Scriven was only 12th in ranking and attended the event even though she was not an official member of the Lawn Tennis Association, the official body of British tennis.  She is also the last British female player to win the title two years in a row. Additionally, Scriven was the first left-handed tennis player to win a grand slam.

Well played, Miss Scriven
Well played, Miss Scriven | The Tatler | Wednesday 14 June 1933


Two years later in June 1935, Fred Perry won the French Open, the first Englishman to win the title.  Perry was the last Briton to win the grand slam as well as the first to win all four grand slams.

Fred Perry at the French Open in 1935
Fred Perry | Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News | Friday 7 June 1935



Explore more sporting history through The British Newspaper Archive’s numerous sports titles:

Athletic News

Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle

Cricket and Football Field

Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News

Scottish Referee

Sporting Life

Sporting Times

Sports Argus

Star Green ‘Un

The Irish Racing Book and Sheet Calendar

The Sportsman




, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 comments On Headlines from History – Sports

  • The first recorded sport in history was spear throwing, which arose in 70,000 BC out of a need for ancient hunters to practice their skills. Bowling was the first known ball game, appearing in Egypt in 3,200 BC; later, there was Pitz, played by the ancient Maya in 2,500 BC, followed by Episkyros, known as “common ball” to Greeks living in 8th century BC.
    More History on http://wphttp.com Long before the Olympics, there were the Tailteann Games, which the ancient Irish held around 1,800 BC. At the first recorded Olympic Games in 760 BC, there was only one event: a footrace.

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.