Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)ATH/JB
TitlePapers of Joe Binks
Extent15 standard boxes (comprising 3 volumes and 627 items)
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DescriptionPapers compiled by the athlete and athletics commentator Joe Binks. The collection primarily comprises results, compiled circa 1957, of various UK and overseas athletics events held during the 19th and 20th centuries. These events include track and field, road racing and cross-country meetings. The collection also includes an athletics programme and two photographs of Joe Binks.
NotesFormer Reference: JB
ArrangementThese papers have been arranged into the following three series: athletics programme; results; photographs.
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 is also available in the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections Department.
Access StatusOpen
Creator NameBinks, Joe (1874-1966), athlete and athletics commentator
Administrative HistoryJoseph (Joe) Binks (1874-1966) was born on 14 July 1874 and is said to have won his first 'official' race at the age of 16 over 880 yards. In 1898 he won races at every distance from 100 yards to 10 miles. During his running career he won over 400 prizes and 150 medals and it is believed that he won more handicap races off scratch than any other athlete. He was a former holder of the British mile record: running for the Unity Athletic Club, he won the Mile Championship held at Stamford Bridge in 1902, establishing a British amateur record of 4 minutes 16.8 seconds. Previous to then the fastest known time for a mile by a British amateur was 4:17 by F. E. Bacon at the AAA Championships in 1895. It was said that the 1902 race was built up by four men, each of whom took a turn at pace-making with a view to running their opponents off their legs. Binks' 1902 record would hold for nearly 20 years until it was eventually broken by Albert Hill in 1921.

As a runner, Binks was contemporary with Alfred Shrubb and ran races as a Highgate Harrier. Binks won the Southern Counties' Cross-Country Association's open mile race for veterans in 1917. But he was perhaps best known as an athletics commentator and writer: he joined the 'News of the World' as Athletics Correspondent in 1903: it was a post he held until retirement in 1956 at the age of 82. He reported on every Olympic Games from London in 1908 to Melbourne in 1956 and during the period attended every international match in which Britain competed.

During the First World War, Joe Binks organised 'Athletics Carnivals' for the News of the World in aid of war charities. The success of these led to the staging of the British Games in 1923. This famous meeting was held annually until 1967 when the newspaper finally withdrew from promoting and sponsoring athletics.

During the early 1920s Binks started a series of weekly coaching hints in association with Alec Nelson, the Cambridge University coach, the object of which was to boost interest in the sport. The first British Games incorporated a special event for the products of the coaching scheme. In 1924 he turned his attention to road running and organised the series of 100 mile races over the Bath to London course, featuring Arthur Newton. This year also saw the start of the London to Brighton road relay race, soon to be followed by similar races between Manchester and Blackpool; Edinburgh and Glasgow; and Newport and Swansea.

During the Second World War, he gave over 1500 lectures to the Services in all theatres of war. He accepted no fees and travel was paid by the News of the World. During the Korean War, at the age of 77, he again gave lectures, often in the more dangerous areas where entertainers would not visit.

He advocated the four minute mile in the days when his contemporaries scoffed at the notion and he tipped Bannister as the man to achieve it long before he began recording fast times. Following his retirement, his home at White Parish in Wiltshire was a haven for athletes and officials. He retained a keen interest in current athletic performances until his death. He always intended to compile a book of athletic statistics and the News of the World offered to have his completed manuscripts typed as a retirement present [these are possibly the typescript results contained in this collection].

Joe Binks died in Salisbury in 1966, aged 91.

Sources: The Times online obituary, 31 January 1966, page 12 accessed 1 July 2014; newspaper reports accessed 1 July from and; 'Track Stats' published by the National Union of Track Statisticians, November 2009, Volume 47, Number 4; photocopied typescript obituary kept in deposit file.
Custodial HistoryThis collection was previously in the custody of the National Centre for Athletics Literature (NCAL).
Archival NotePapers arranged and described by Mark Eccleston, July 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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