Welwyn Hatfield Sporting Heroes
Local sporting triumphs past and present, and the district's rising stars
In January 2010 local people were invited to contact Mill Green Museum with details about local sporting achievements for an exhibition project called "Sporting Heroes." The aim of the project was to bring together members of the community and representatives of local sports and heritage organisations to curate an exhibition at Campus West in Welwyn Garden City. The aim of the exhibition was to celebrate sporting success in all areas of the community, enabling those involved to share and celebrate local sporting achievement.
The project's intention was to generate interest in the work of local sports and cultural organisations, highlighting the opportunities available to those living in the district. The organisations involved in the project included WHBC's Youth and Sports Development Team, Welwyn Hatfield Sport's Partnership Alliance (WHSPAA) and local sports venues including Finesse and Gosling Stadium, Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALs), Hertfordshire Libraries and the University of Hertfordshire. The project has been funded with help from the Museums Libraries and Archives Council's Strategic Priorities Challenge Fund. The project has now resulted in the production of the Sporting Heroes exhibition at Campus West, a DVD about local sporting achievement past and present, which has gone out to local schools and banners celebrating local sporting achievement, which are being loaned out to sports and community groups for events.
Local Olympic Connections
The district's links to major sporting events and achievement came early as William Grenfell, 1st Baron Lord Desborough of the Panshanger estate was instrumental in getting the White City Stadium built to Olympic specifications for the 1st London Olympic held in 1908. Desborough was himself a keen athlete and competed in two University boat races in the 1870s before becoming President of several sporting clubs and organisations. HALs holds a scrapbook that Lord Desborough compiled in the run up to the 1908 Olympics and more information about him can be found on the Herts Memories Community Archive website: www.ourwelwyngardencity.org.uk.
Festival of Sport
The concept of the Festival of Sport was to develop a community spirit within the seven Metropolitan New Towns in the early 1960s. In 1977, the Queen's Silver Jubilee year, Welwyn Hatfield Sports Council organised the festival. Five teams took part, the host: Welwyn Hatfield, plus Basildon, Crawley, Dacorum and Milton Keynes. Trophies and shields were presented to the winners of each event by the New Towns Commission and had been sponsored by local clubs, schools, voluntary organisations and private companies.
Twenty-one sports were represented in the competition from Angling to Tenpin bowling. Another eighteen sports from billiards to Whippet racing were also demonstrated. Ten venues were used including Welwyn Hatfield Sports Centre and Cheshunt Rifle Range, with a free mini bus service running between the sites. A number of the Festival of Sport trophies and shields from the museum's collection are currently on display at Campus West
This page was last updated on 09/02/2012