Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)ATH/Z
TitleArtificial Athletics Collection
Extent224 standard boxes and 6 large boxes
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DescriptionAn extensive artificial collection of ephemeral and grey literature and other associated materials relating to athletics. The collection comprises a sequence of almost 4,000 programmes, primarily relating to UK athletics meetings, with coverage from the late 19th to early 21st centuries. These programmes are a valuable source for the study of the development of athletics, gender studies, the history of place and the history of advertising. In addition to programmes, the collection includes a significant volume of results, mainly typescript UK results from the 20th century; statistics relating to both UK and international athletics; and a small number of conversion and scoring tables.

There are significant, albeit incomplete, sequences of papers relating to individual athletics clubs and organisations as well as papers relating to major athletics championships. These include publications and ephemera relating to the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and World and European Championships.

Oral history recordings, often with accompanying typescript transcripts, feature interviews undertaken with numerous athletes and athletics commentators. These interviews were mostly undertaken by John Bromhead in his position as an employee of the National Centre for Athletics Literature (NCAL) housed in the University of Birmingham's Main Library. They date from the late 20th century but modern CD listening copies are available.

There is a small miscellaneous section comprising letters, the majority of which concerning the publication of athletics books, magazines and articles as well as comments on the accuracy and information contained therein. The collection includes examples of personal correspondence such as manuscript letters from Roger Bannister and Harold Abrahams, sent to various recipients. There are a small number of printed annuals and publications as well as an extensive sequence of photographs, newspaper cuttings, artefacts and ephemera.
ArrangementArranged into the following 11 series:

Athletics programmes. Finding No: ATH/Z/1;
Results. Finding No: ATH/Z/2;
Statistics. Finding No: ATH/Z/3;
Conversion and scoring tables. Finding No: ATH/Z/4;
Papers relating to individual athletics clubs and organisations. Finding No: ATH/Z/5;
Papers relating to major athletics championships. Finding No: ATH/Z/6;
Research papers. Finding No: ATH/Z/7;
Oral histories and other recordings. Finding No: ATH/Z/8;
Correspondence. Finding No: ATH/Z/9;
Annuals and miscellaneous publications. Finding No: ATH/Z/10;
Photographs, cuttings, artefacts and ephemera. Finding No: ATH/Z/11.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryThe National Centre for Athletics Literature (NCAL), originally titled The National Documentation Centre, was first established on the recommendation of the Sports Council, under the terms of a grant from the Department of Education and Science. It was originally housed at the Queen's University of Belfast in June 1969. The Centre was transferred from the Queen's University of Belfast to the University of Birmingham in August 1973. The Centre relocated to Birmingham following a meeting between Dr Kenneth Humphreys, the then University Librarian, and representatives of the National Union of Track Statisticians (NUTS).

The Centre operated under the guidance of a Joint Advisory Committee composed of members of the Sports Council and of the University. Its remit was to collect and acquire literature relating to the fields of sport, physical education and recreation. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, NCAL acquired various published, printed and ephemeral materials including books, periodicals and pamphlets; athletics programmes, handbooks and rules; statistics, results and fixture lists; and with particular strengths in materials relating to Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

The collections deposited with NCAL also included the historical records of various athletics bodies such as the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA), the Midland Counties Amateur Athletic Association (MCAAA) and the archives of some individual athletics clubs; and a very significant corpus of personal papers of individuals, including the letters and results compiled by Joe Binks, athletics correspondent of the 'News of the World', 1903-56; papers of Dave Roberts, Honorary Statistician of the Road Runners Club relating to long distance running and marathon results and statistics; books, papers, slides and recordings of Harold Abrahams; presscutting albums of the athlete, Bert Ives, former President of the English Cross Country Union (ECCU). A small artificial collection was also created for the acquisition of individual letters of individuals associated with the athletics world. In addition, NCAL also acquired artefacts including medals and badges.

By the mid 1970s, NCAL had also started to build up a sound archive, based on interviews with athletes and athletics administrators; interviews were recorded with, for example, Audrey (nee Brown) Court and by the early 1990s, more than 100 interviews had been recorded, many of them transcribed. A specialist classification scheme, based on the Library of Congress, was devised for the collection and several editions of the printed catalogue was produced and circulated.

In 1993, NCAL ceased to have its own dedicated specialist librarian and in the early 2000s, the Cadbury Research Library (Special Collections) took over active management responsibility for the archive collections, the rare published and printed materials, the ephemera collections and the sound recordings. This archival material is now fully catalogued and available via CalmView.

In addition, the valuable and rare books, periodicals and pamphlets are now housed in the Cadbury Research Library and can be found on the Library online catalogue. These include copies of the magazine 'Sport and Play', 1876-1938. A separate Olympic collection of all the Olympic related printed materials has also been created and fully catalogued and these items too are searchable via the Library online catalogue.

Some material, originally included in the NCAL collections, was not transferred to the Cadbury Research Library. These primarily comprise most of the printed book collections (former reference: NCAL I and NCAL II); and most of the periodical collections (former reference: NCAL III).

Now fully catalogued, this collection is now titled the National Athletic Archive. As a consequence, the original NCAL classification scheme is now redundant.
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.