Undated photograph of Cross Country and Athletics Club (UU 20/4/2)

September 24, 2018, by Sarah Colborne

Found: the lost archive of the Cross Country and Athletics Club

Manuscripts and Special Collections recently took in the lost archive of the University of Nottingham Cross Country and Athletics Club. Seven boxes of record books, photos and scrapbooks were bought into the MSC reading room by a former president of the Club who had saved them from destruction after discovering them hiding in the attic of Sherwood Hall (one of the University’s halls of residence) in the late 1990s. The boxes contain a treasure trove of information about the running of the club from the period 1949-1999, including a series of record books containing the names of Club members, photographs from events, fixture results, rain soaked maps of routes, and reports from races. These reports often feature detailed accounts of the trials and tribulations involved in getting to the race on time (mini buses not turning up, competitors oversleeping) and in taking part (weather and track conditions, the condition of the competitors).

Cover of Club record book with handwritten title

Nottingham University [male and female students] Cross Country and Athletics Club record book 1989-90 (UU 20/1/22)

Here’s an extract to give a flavour:

This race was perhaps more memorable for the post exertion celebrations than for any great feats of athleticism. Dave ran 1st and finished about 20 secs down on the leading bunch…Ben charged off, died and recovered a bit and finished his lap about 5 places up on his take over. He saw Billy Connolly with baby on his lap so that was his main claim to fame, oh! yes! he also puked up at the end and pronounced “I hate this race”.

Newspaper cuttings glued into a scrapbook

Page from Club scrap book (UU 20/3)

Handwritten page with list of players and comment that the performance of the players was impressive

Entry describing the Club’s first match in 1949 (UU 20/1/1)

It is remarkable to find surviving such a comprehensive series of files documenting the activities of a sports club, and it is a tribute to the dedication of the club members who created, collected, and kept these records safe for so many years. Manuscripts and Special Collections would love to hear from any of the club’s current members who are able to update the Club archive with photographs, race reports and press coverage which show what membership of the Club was like post 1999. A description of the Club archive can be found in the Manuscripts Online Catalogue (Reference UU 20), and anyone can visit the reading room at King’s Meadow Campus to explore the contents of the boxes.

Do get in touch if you would like to deposit your club or society’s paper or born digital records (minutes, constitutions, flyers, posters, photographs, etc.): mss-library@nottingham.ac.uk

Follow the time capsule blog to find out more about the archives of former students and to read about our contemporary collecting activities: https://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/manuscripts/category/Time-Capsule

Undated official photograph of Cross Country and Athletics Club in their athletics kit

Undated photograph of Cross Country and Athletics Club (UU 20/4/2)

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Posted in Time CapsuleUniversity archives