Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)ATH/JJ
TitlePapers of John Jewell
Extent48 standard boxes (comprising 69 files, 34 discs, 10 cassette tapes, 2 volumes and 2536 items)
Thumbnail (Click this image to open a larger image)


DescriptionPersonal papers compiled by the athlete and athletic commentator John Jewell. The collection includes a substantial volume of programmes for various track and field events, cross-country races and distance races throughout the mid-late 20th century. Accompanying these programmes are numerous fixture lists, results and statistics either collected by John Jewell or sent to him from other athletes and athletic historians.

The collection also includes a large volume of publications relating to specific athletics organisations and individual clubs. These cover organisations from both the United Kingdom and overseas. There is material relating to major athletics championships including numerous Olympic, European, World and Commonwealth Games with strong coverage throughout the mid 20th century.

In addition, the collection includes John Jewell's personal copies of papers relating to the organisation and running of the Road Runners Club (RRC) and a small number of papers relating to the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) and the British Amateur Athletic Board (BAAB). There is a significant volume of correspondence as well as various papers and reports relating to road courses and road measurements. The collection also includes notes and draft articles either compiled, or collected, by John Jewell; a scrapbook which highlights the development of Jewell's running career whilst a student at Imperial College during the early 1930s; photographs and ephemera including tickets, invitations to functions and various promotional items relating to specific athletics events.

A substantial number of DVDs of cine film footage depict a number of sporting events attended by John Jewell including Olympic and Commonwealth Games as well as athletics in India during the 1940s and a number of UK events including the Polytechnic Marathon and London to Brighton running races.

Taken as a whole the collection is a valuable research tool for athletics historians and provides a comprehensive record of the life and interests of an athletics commentator throughout the mid-late 20th century.
NotesFormer Reference: JJ
ArrangementThese papers have been arranged into the following 15 series:

athletics programmes and related ephemera;
fixture lists and calendars of events;
scoring tables and conversion tables;
publications collected by John Jewell;
material relating to major athletics championships;
correspondence and working papers;
papers relating to the Road Runners Club;
papers relating to road courses and measurement;
collected papers relating to other athletics organisations;
newspaper cuttings, snippets and articles relating to athletics;
notes and draft articles;
photographs and audio visual materials;
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.
DocumentATH _JJ.pdf
Access StatusOpen
Creator NameJewell, John Christopher (1912-2001), athlete and athletics commentator
Administrative HistoryJohn Christopher Jewell (1912-2001) was born in London on 9 June 1912. After graduating from Imperial College with a BSc in Chemistry he worked as a Research Chemist in the oil industry. Jewell was a founding member of the Road Runners Club (RRC) in 1951 and was heavily involved in the organisation of the club. He acted as the club's fourth President in 1957/58, was its first Honorary Secretary of the Council and edited the RRC Newsletter from 1953-1991. In addition, he remained a member of the RRC Records Committee until his death. He served as an announcer at some ultramarathon races and was a time keeper at some early post World War II races.

Jewell played a major role in the development of marathon running in the UK and was instrumental in organising the first international marathon in Great Britain, the Maxol Manchester Marathon in 1969. But, arguably, Jewell became best known as the developer of modern course measurement in England. In June 1961 he wrote a seminal paper, 'Notes on the Measurement of Roads for Athletic Events' describing the process of road race course measurement in England. He had reviewed the accuracy of the different methods of measurement then being used and elaborated and refined the calibrated bicycle method which was used by the Road Time Trial Council of British cyclists. The procedures he described remain essentially unchanged today. This significant paper not only guided the development of current methods in the UK, but the methods which he described were to be adopted internationally. An important factor in this dissemination was Jewell's friendship with the American ultra distance runner Ted Corbitt. Around 1961, Corbitt had visited the UK to compete in the London to Brighton (which Jewell had measured with great precision). In the 1960's Corbitt led the introduction of Jewell's methods in the USA. In 1964 Corbitt published a monograph entitled 'Measuring Road Running Courses' under the auspices of the Road Runners Club, USA. This contained a survey of measurement methods around the world. It quoted in detail from Jewell's paper and helped bring about world-wide acceptance of the calibrated bicycle method as the standard for road races. Corbitt's work would, in turn, help inspire Alan Jones to invent the 'Jones Counter' in 1970. This counter removed the need for spoke counting described by Jewell in his earlier paper. Today all measurers use the Jones counter or its current version, the Jones-Oerth counter.

Jewell, a long standing member of the Road Running Club in Britain, was responsible for its programme of course measurement for many years. He was a member of the South London Harriers and worked closely with the Southern Counties Amateur Athletic Association (SCAAA). Jewell's paper acknowledges the work done by A. J. C. Kendall, Honorary Secretary of the SCAAA, who had recently made a survey of the methods being used to measure road courses in the South of England. In 1986 the RRC measurers became formally administered by the Amateur Athletic Association. Jewell continued to handle RRC course difficulty adjustments (based on the measurer's reports) until he retired in 1992 and wrote to new measurers submitting reports to welcome them on their appointment.

In later life Jewell lived in retirement in Wokingham, Berkshire with his wife Joan whom he had married in 1962. The RRC, South London Harriers and long distance running activities increasingly dominated his free time. Following his death, from pneumonia, in August 2001, a significant sum of money was left to South London Harriers (John had been one of their past Presidents). The money was used by the club to build a new running track which was completed a couple of years later. Jewell received increasing recognition for his dedication to athletics including the establishment of the annual 'John Jewell Award', presented to the British long distance runner who had achieved the best performance of the year. But Jewell's lasting legacy was the promotion of his calibrated bicycle method of measuring road race courses which he lived to see approved by major governing bodies of athletics across the world.

Sources: 'A Salute to John Christopher Jewell' published in 'Measurement News', January 2002, Issue 111 accessed 5 June 2014 from:; 'John Jewell: the developer of modern course measurement in England' accessed 5 June 2014 from:
Custodial HistoryThe collection was previously in the custody of John Jewell and then his wife, Joan.
AcquisitionThis collection was bequeathed under the will of the late John Jewell.
Archival NotePapers arranged and described by Mark Eccleston, June 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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