Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)ATH/WGT
TitlePapers of Wilfrid G. (Gus) Tatham
Extent2 standard boxes (comprising 4 volumes, 1 file and 9 items)
Thumbnail (Click this image to open a larger image)



DescriptionScrapbooks compiled by, and personalia relating to, the middle-distance runner and hurdler Wilfrid (Gus) Tatham illustrating his athletics career primarily during the 1920s. The scrapbooks contain a significant amount of material relating to varsity and inter-collegiate athletics during the 1920s, particularly between Oxford and Cambridge Universities. There are also a number of references to Oxford and Cambridge versus Harvard and Yale meetings. As Tatham was an international athlete, the volumes not only document his career as 'a miler' and a hurdler in the United Kingdom, but also in America and at various Olympic Games held during the 1920s. His appearance and subsequent disappointment in the 1924 Paris Olympic Games, where he fell whilst leading in the hurdles race, is well documented.

The scrapbooks include a number of athletics programmes, relating to track and field meetings, which chart Tatham's career at Cambridge University Athletics Club and internationally. Many of these programmes are annotated. There are a number of menu cards, many autographed by contempory athletes; and the scrapbooks also include personalia including photographs, correspondence and identity cards. In addition, the scrapbooks contain a number of articles relating to the athlete Bert Ives. For further material relating to Bert Ives see ATH/BI.

Personalia includes a number of photographs of Tatham, many of which were taken during athletics meetings; medals awarded to him at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games and 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games; and miscellaneous material relating to his time teaching in Canada including a 'liquor permit' issued to him during the prohibition of alcohol in Canada.

There are also references to Tatham in scrapbooks compiled by Charles Vargas, see ATH/CCV.
NotesOld reference: WGT
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 NameTatham, Wilfrid George (Gus) (1898-1978), athlete
Administrative HistoryWilfrid George Tatham, known as Gus, was born on 12 December 1898. He was the son of George Allen Ralph Tatham (1860-1933) and Mary Welbank Tatham (nee Fowle, 1862-1927) of The Towers, South Hill Park, Bromley. Siblings included Marian Sarah [Anne], Allen Ralph and Elsa Mary. He attended Summer Fields Preparatory School near Oxford between 1908 and 1912 and then Eton College, having secured a Foundation Scholarship. Whilst at Eton he won the Public Schools Championships in the mile and half-mile events, organised by the London Athletic Club at Stamford Bridge. He was Victor Ludorum of the year winning eight events. As well as a member of the Eton football and rowing teams, he was a member of the Eton Society, edited the Eton Magazine and, as a fine violin player, held the five-guinea prize for music. In 1917 he left Eton and gained an Exhibition to King's College, Cambridge. His studies were truncated by the First World War and he was commissioned in the Coldstream Guards, First Battalion. He served in France during the later part of the First World War, was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, was awarded the Military Cross and commanded his Company on several occasions. He fought in the Battle of the Canal du Nord in September 1918. After returning to England from Cologne, he played rugby for Harlequins Football Club as well as for King's College, Cambridge. During his time with the Coldstream Guards he had also played rugby for the Public School Services' XV. At Cambridge University he captained the Tennis Club and was an influential figure in the College Music Society. He achieved a 2:1 in the first part of the Historical Tripos and graduated with a BA in June 1922.

From 1919 onwards an athletics career dramatically developed. Whilst at Cambridge he was awarded a half-blue for the mile and he ran for three years against Oxford. In 1920 he ran for Oxford and Cambridge in the 'Two Miles College Championship Relay Race' held at Pennsylvania University, USA. The English team won, breaking the world record in the process. Returning to Cambridge, he ran in AAA Sports held at Stamford Bridge and was selected to represent England in the mile event at Crewe, competing against Scotland and Ireland. He was selected to represent England in the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games although he did not compete. He also became a member of the Achilles Club which was formed in 1920 by, and for, past and present representatives of Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

In 1921 he competed for King's College, Cambridge against New College, Oxford. He won the mile, half-mile and quarter-mile races and came second in the hurdles race and in the hammer throwing. In July 1921 he again visited America with the Oxford and Cambridge teams and competed against Harvard and Yale on 23 July; and against Cornell and Princeton on 28 July. On his return he ran for England against France in Paris in 1921, 1922 and 1926. In 1922 he was in the 'Nine-to-One' victory of Cambridge against Oxford; and also ran for Cambridge in the return 'Four Mile Relay Race' against Pennsylvania and Oxford, promoted by the Achilles Club, at Queen's, London, in which Cambridge won. In July 1922 he competed for England in the AAA Championships against Scotland and Ireland at Glasgow. As a member of the Oxford and Cambridge Athletic teams which toured central Europe, he won the 1500m and mile races at Prague; and the 1500m at Budapest, beating the Czech record holder. Between 1920 and 1926 he competed in the Open Championships in England, winning the 440 yards hurdles in 1924. In 1923 he organised a team of Old Blues and Internationals to run against Cambridge in London. He competed in the 1924 Paris Olympic Games in the 400m hurdles where he came 16th out of 24 competitors with a time of 58.5 seconds. In the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games he ran the 800m and came 20th out of 49 competitors with a time of 1 minute 58.2 seconds.

Gus Tatham was a versatile athlete who, apart from 1925, was placed in the first six at the AAA Championships every year from 1920 to 1930. He was also a member of the Achilles team that won the 4x400 yards relay in 1930. In addition to competing in the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games, he was fourth in the 440 yards hurdles at the 1930 British Empire Games. Perhaps his greatest sporting achievement had come earlier in his career when he was a member of the combined Oxbridge team that had set the world record for the 4x880 yard relay at the 1920 Pennsylvania Relays.

In his professional life, he began work as an Assistant Master at Eton College in September 1922 and later became Housemaster and Master of College. As a fine violinist he also led the Eton school orchestra. Internal evidence indicates that he became a Special Constable for Buckinghamshire, in the Eton College detachment, and was sworn into this role on 8 May 1926. During 1929 he spent time in Canada working as a teacher. On 11 August 1931 he married Rachel Ellen Julia Balfour (1907-1992) at St Mary the Virgin, North Aston. Rev Frederick Hugh Tatham, the bridegroom's uncle, and Rev C. P. Walde officiated. In 1940 he returned to the Coldstream Guards where he served as Major throughout the rest of the Second World War. In 1943 he was captured by the German army but escaped from the Prisoner of War camp, only to be captured again later that year in Italy. He was sent to a camp for officers, Oflag VIII-F, in Brunswick, Lower Saxony. From c1948-1954 he worked as a British Council Representative in Greece and on 10 June 1954 was awarded the OBE (Civil Division) in recognition for this work. For three years before retirement, in 1958, he was Busar for the Royal Society of Arts. During the 1970s he lived on St Helena, worked as an archivist and co-authored 'Astronomers and other Scientists on St Helena' with K. A. Harwood. Gus Tatham died on St Helena on 26 July 1978, aged 79 years.

Sources: papers of Wilfrid G. (Gus) Tatham; Tatham family history accessed 22 July 2014 from:; Summer Fields newsletter accessed 22 July 2014 from:; Olympic athletes reference accessed 22 July 2014 from:
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.
Associated MaterialsImperial War Museum Sound Archive, Archon Code: 2866 (1973, British officer served with 1st Bn Coldstream Guards on Western Front) accessed 22 July 2014 from:
Imperial War Museum Department of Documents, Archon Code: 86 (Newspaper cuttings and ephemera relating to the service of Lieutenant W.G. Tatham)


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