Basketball at the Royal Albert Hall, 4 December 1989, Courtesy of the Royal Albert Hall

13 June 2012

As London takes centre stage this summer for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, archives across the country are set to celebrate British sports and games over the last 200 years as part of the Archive Awareness Campaign's 'Sports, Games and the Olympics'.

Across the UK, archive organisations, local record offices and councils are inviting the public to discover the stories behind the history of sport and the sporting heroes in their communities.

Angela Owusu, Archive Awareness Campaign, said: 'I hope that people visiting these archival treasure troves will take away memories of our sporting history to cherish for the rest of their lives. With the plethora of events from film screenings and drama to cartoon workshops and photographic tours, everyone across the UK can relive the past excitement of our sporting history.'

Highlights from the archival sports festival

  • The Royal Albert Hall in London will chart the history of sports played at the Hall since its opening in 1871
  • Gloucestershire Archives will bring to life local sporting celebrities in 'Forgotten Sporting Heroes and Archive Olimpicks'. Visitors will also be invited to take part in traditional Gloucestershire sports such as cheese-rolling, gurning, and spurning-the-barre; as well as historical table-top games and traditional children's games
  • London Borough of Barking and Dagenham's 'Memory Games', is a touring exhibition, which comprises interviews with former and current athletes including Paralympian swimmer Beverley Gull; Haley Willis, a member of the 2012 Judo training squad; and Dan O' Sullivan, official announcer of the London 2012 boxing event
  • Manchester Jewish Museum's 'Playing the Game: Sporting Life in Jewish Manchester' reveals how sport has been an important part of Jewish life in Manchester since the 1890s
  • Tameside's, 'Around the World in 80 photographs' will focus on Hyde Seal Swimming Club and Water Polo team, its president Dugald Wilson, and members including Henry Taylor and George Wilkinson who won Olympic gold in 1908 and 1912 respectively
  • Scotland's John Gray Centre will feature a display showing four of East Lothian's sporting heroes, including Jock Taylor, Scottish, British and World Champion in motor-sidecar racing; and Robert Carlisle, the legendary pedestrian racer

For more information, visit the Archive Awareness Campaign. To explore and download hundreds of historic documents and images relating to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, see The Olympic Record

You can also see a selection of historical 'keep fit' and sporting images in our image library showcase.