Playing Pasts is delighted to present this podcast by Prof Jeffrey Hill from the Sporting Lives symposium hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute for Performance Research.  Subsequently the papers were published into a collection of the same name, for details see –


In 2008 the Independent on Sunday ran a feature on a leading British middle-distance runner of the late 1940s and early 1950s. He was Bill Nankeville, a milkman’s son from Woking who ran in the final of the 1500 metres at the 1948 Olympics. Between 1948 and 1952 Nankeville won the Amateur Athletics Association (AAA) mile title on four occasions. Asked by the newspaper about the social relations in athletics in his day, Nankeville said: yes, there was class distinction, but you didn’t seem to worry much about it. ‘It was just wonderful to be able to represent your country, especially for someone like me, coming from where I did.’ Nankeville was aware of a class divide in athletics, but like many sportsmen of his generation, in games such as cricket and rugby as well as in athletics, he was prepared to accept the established order of things rather than kick against it…

Article © Jeffrey Hill 


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