Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)ATH/DM
TitlePapers of Duncan MacLean
Extent1 large box (comprising 3 files and 9 items)
Thumbnail (Click this image to open a larger image)



DescriptionPapers collected by the athlete and coach Duncan MacLean. The collection includes a small number of athletics programmes relating to veterans' meetings in which MacLean participated during the 1970s when in his late 80s and early 90s. There are an extensive volume of newspaper cuttings referring to MacLean's athletics successes in old age as well as a number of photographs. The collection also includes a small number of certificates and badges awarded to MacLean.
NotesOld references: DM; NCAL XXV.A5
ArrangementThese papers have been arranged into the following two series: athletics programmes and results; personalia.
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered researchers.
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue, or view the catalogue as a PDF file by clicking in the document field below. A paper copy of this catalogue is also available for consultation in the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections Department.
Access StatusOpen
Creator NameMacLean, Duncan (1884-1980), athlete and coach
Administrative HistoryDuncan MacLean [surname is spelt McLean on his birth certificate] was born in Gourock, Scotland on 3 December 1884. His father, also called Duncan, was a merchant seaman and the younger Duncan's first five years were spent at sea. His mother, Barbara, was a champion Highland dancer. For a brief period the family lived in South Africa when Duncan's father became an agent for Lloyd's Shipping Company.

In the late 19th century, following in the footsteps of his mother, Duncan became a Scottish juvenile dancer champion. He won a number of prizes, joined a troupe and took part in a concert at Greenock Town Hall when Harry Lauder had his first big success. Shortly afterwards Harry Lauder asked Duncan to join his touing company. A career in music hall entertainment followed and, as well as Harry Lauder, his colleagues and friends included Marie Kendall, Gus Elen, Charles Coburn, Little Tich, Will Fyffe, Ella Shields and Florrie Forde. Duncan later continued working on the vaudeville circuit including a stint as Harry Lauder's understudy during an American tour. His stage persona was 'Dan O'Scott', a Scotsman who danced in an all-white outfit, including kilt. He wrote many of the songs he sang and newspaper cuttings contained within his papers suggest that he once worked alongside Charlie Chaplin.

Throughout his music hall days, Duncan kept sprinting. His uncle had been a Scottish sprint champion and he himself had achieved great success in South Africa between 1904 and 1906 as three-times sprint champion for both the 100 and 220 yards. During this time his 100 yards had been recorded as 9.9 seconds and his 220 yards at 21.3 seconds. During the First World War he was an instructor with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He worked with ENSA [Entertainments National Service Association] during the Second World War, providing entertainment for British armed forces personnel.

He began competing in the Masters division and helped to form the Veterans' Athletic Club in 1931. During the 1960s, when in his 80s, he was coaching at Crystal Palace and regularly training himself. At age 90 he competed in the First World Masters Track and Field Championships in Toronto in 1975, running the 100 and 200 metre sprints. He performed again aged 92 at the Second World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1977. He set single-age records in the 100 metres from ages 87 to 92. He ran 16.3 seconds, aged 88, at the US National Masters Championships in San Diego in 1973; and at 92 he ran 21.7 seconds at the World Games in Sweden. In 200 metres he set records from ages 88 to 91, recording 41.1 seconds, age 87, in London in 1972 and 51.5 seconds, age 91, in 1976. MacLean composed songs for each of the World Championships he entered, entertaining the throng with his singing and clowning. He was familiarly known as 'The Tartan Flash' due to the tartan shorts he wore throughout his career.

Duncan married Elsie Hawkes in 1926 and the couple had seven children: Ailsa (b 1927), Iona (b 1928), Jura (b 1933), Isla (b 1936), Vrecha (b 1940), Shuna (b 1942) and Duncan (b 1946). Duncan MacLean died in December 1980, aged 96.

Sources: papers of Duncan MacLean; obituary included in The World Association of Veteran Athletes newsletter, March 1981, accessed 9 October 2014 from:; 'Masters Track and Field: A History' by Leonard T. Olson.
Custodial HistoryThis collection was previously in the custody of the National Centre for Athletics Literature (NCAL).
Archival NotePapers arranged and described by Mark Eccleston, October 2014, in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description (ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; and in-house cataloguing guidelines.
Related MaterialOther archive collections, formerly held as part of the National Centre for Athletics Literature (NCAL), are catalogued as collections distinct from this collection. They comprise both institutional archives and collections of personal papers of athletes, athletics administrators, journalists and others associated with the athletics world.

Catalogues of the institutional archives available on the online archive catalogue are as follows:
Amateur Athletic Association: papers, 1880-1992. Finding No: ATH/AAA;
English Cross-Country Union: papers, 1911-1989. Finding No: ATH/ECCU;
Midland Counties Amateur Athletics Association: papers, 1900-1991. Finding No: ATH/MCAAA;
Midland Counties Cross Country Association: papers, 1898-1985. Finding No: ATH/MCCCA;
Midland Counties Women's Amateur Athletic Association: papers, 1949-[1980s]. Finding No: ATH/MCWAAA;
Northern Counties Women's Amateur Athletic Association: papers, 1933-1989. Finding No: ATH/NCWAAA;
Northern Cross-Country Association: papers, 1906-1983. Finding No: ATH/NCCA;
Northern Women's Track and Field League: papers, 1982-1983. Finding No: ATH/NWTFL;
Southern Counties Amateur Athletic Association: papers, 1958-1983. Finding No: ATH/SCAAA;
Southern Counties Cross-Country Association: papers, 1911-1990. Find No: ATH/SCCCA;
The Sports Council: papers, [1940s]-2001. Finding No: ATH/SC;
Women's Amateur Athletic Association: papers, 1932-1989. Finding No: ATH/WAAA.

Catalogues of personal papers available on the online archive catalogue are as follows:
Abrahams, Harold Maurice (1899-1978), athlete, administrator, commentator and journalist: papers, 1902-1989. Finding No: ATH/HA;
Adam, George Mair (1898-1989), athlete, coach and athletics administrator: papers, 1909-1989. Finding No: ATH/GA;
Binks, Joseph (Joe) (1874-1966), athlete and athletics commentator: papers, [1920s-1950s]. Finding No: ATH/JB;
Brown, Audrey Kathleen (nee Court) (1913-2005), athlete: papers, [1930s]-2005. Finding No: USS22;
Cardew, Martin H. (b 1927), athlete: papers, 1964-1988. Finding No: ATH/MHC;
Cullum, Dennis Noel Johnson (1913-1985), athlete and coach: papers, [1930s]-1985. Finding No: ATH/DC;
Humphrey, David (b 1933), athlete: papers, 1944-1958. Finding No: ATH/DH;
Ives, Bert (1890-1975), athlete and athletics administrator: papers, [1920s-1970s]. Finding No: ATH/BI;
Jarvis, Walter (c 1888-c 1935), athlete: papers, 1910-1996. Finding No: MS4;
Jewell, John Christopher (1912-2001), athlete and athletics commentator: papers, 1897-2002. Finding No: ATH/JJ;
Lloyd-Edgley, Ralph: scrapbook, [c 1924]-[c 1931]. Finding No: ATH/RLE;
MacLean, Duncan (1884-1980), athlete and coach: papers, 1948-1977. Finding No: ATH/DM;
Monk, Walter Harry (Wal) (1896-after 1965), athlete: papers, 1918-1961. Finding No: ATH/WHM;
Morgan, Wilf (b 1935), athlete and athletics historian: papers, 1937-2012. Finding No: ATH/WM;
Newton, Arthur Francis Hamilton (1883-1959), athlete: papers, [c 1904]-[1990s]. Finding No: ATH/AN;
Payne, Howard (1931-1992), athlete: papers, 1899-[c 1975]. Finding No: ATH/HP;
Percy, Joe W. (1912-2001), athlete and athletics administrator: papers, 1910-1997. Finding No: ATH/JWP;
Perry, George (b 1903), athlete: papers, [1920s]-1956. Finding No: ATH/GP;
Powell, Edgar Robert Leslie (Peter), (fl 1920s-70s), athlete: papers, 1813-1988. Finding No: ATH/ERLP;
Richards, Wilf (b 1906), athlete and journalist: papers, 1924-[mid 20th century]. Finding No: ATH/WR;
Roberts, Dave (fl 1930s-1990s), athlete and statistician: papers, [1930s]-1991. Finding No: ATH/DR;
Simpson, Colin J. (1929-2011), athlete and athletics administrator: papers, 1945-1990. Finding No: ATH/CS;
Tatham, Wilfrid George (Gus) (1898-1978), athlete: papers, 1908-1960. Finding No: ATH/WGT;
Thomas, Dr Philip, athletics administrator and coach: papers, [c 1900]-[late 20th century]. Finding No: ATH/PT;
Vargas, Charles Climaco (1905-1975), athlete: papers, 1921-31. Finding No: ATH/CCV;
Ward, Leonard H., athletics coach: papers, [mid-20th century]. Finding No: ATH/LW;
Watman, Melvyn Francis (Mel) (b 1938), athletics journalist and statistician: papers, 1980-1993. Finding No: ATH/MW;
Wight, Robert M., athletics administrator: papers, [mid-20th century]. Finding No: ATH/RW;
Winter, Arthur E. H. (d 1990), athlete and athletics commentator: papers, [early 20th century]-1983. Finding No: ATH/AW;
Yarrow, Squire Stevens (1905-1984), athlete and athletics administrator: papers, 1938-1984. Finding No: ATH/SY.


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