University of Leicester
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The contribution of schools and universities to the development of organized sport up to 1900 (with special reference to athletics and swimming).

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posted on 2009-02-12, 11:29 authored by T.M. James
Sport is a sphere which has been rarely scrutinised by historians. This thesis, utilising various local sources, attempts to discus the contribution of the educational world to the development of organized sport in the period up to 1900. As early as Tudor times school authorities were encouraging physical exercise by means of 'play day' clauses in school statutes. The encouragement was continued and expanded until the nineteenth century. In that century evidence of official encouragement of sport was visible in both the construction of various sports amenities and in the introduction of the Athletics Sports Day. Headmasters were important in this encouragement: their contribution being more implicit than explicit. Headmagisterial. interest had a considerable range of causation. The effect of changes in that century is illustrated by reference to three categories of school: the Clarendon Schools, girls' schools and the boys' schools of Surrey. The situation in the school sector was similar to that of the university sphere. Universities had permitted physical exercise in Tudor times and this had grown into positive encouragement in the nineteenth century. This emphasis was less on buildings and more on competition. There was considerable interaction between these two branches of education, and between the educational and wider worlds. This is illustrated by reference to the development of the amateur rule; the creation of Association Football; the development of the modern athletics framework; and the impact of universities on school athletics. Evidence is quoted to demonstrate that the educational world had a substantial influence on the rules and organization of various activities. Finally the developments in sport are considered in the context of trends prevalent in nineteenth-century England. The purpose is to demonstrate that the educational world was responsive to developments in the wider world whilst, at the same time, making its unique and creative contribution.



Wight, R.M.

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Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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