Hugh Barrow’s Gems – 10

I’d love to have a look through Hugh Barrow’s archive photographs and documents collections.   It must be vast – it’s certainly comprehensive so far as athletics and allied subjects are concerned.  eg the photograph, which he credits to Peter Hoffmann) above of husband and wife Alix (Jamieson) and David Stevenson at the 1970 Empire & Commonwealth Games contrasts with the twenty first photograph of former Scottish record holder, Victoria Park AAC star and American Olympian Alex Breckenridge taken in 2014 below.

We have recently discovered the benefits accruing to primary school pupils from the ‘mile a day’ programme.   Secondary schools have always had a summer term block of athletics with an athletics lesson once a week or so.   Hugh has this extract from Rugby school’s archives which indicate a realisation of the benefits of running well over a century ago – and they were not alone among the fee-paying schools.   Look at this double page:


Very detailed description indeed of the route, more detailed than many a cross-country run in the 21st century – if the 21st century had any cross-country run that involved such as crossing a brook and a stile.   These schools have a long record in promoting running and athletic sports.   Hugh as sent this one from Glasgow Academy one of the very first to have its own sports day which is one of the longest running in scottish athletics history.

Above we see an advertisement for H&P McNeil’s shop in Glasgow.   Peter McNeil was a founder member of both Rangers FC and Clydesdale Harriers and supported both clubs as well as sport in general.   His name is to be found as one who purchased adverts inside the programmes for sports meetings held by both clubs.   

Rangers Sports were a major feature in Scottish athletics from 1872 until their unfortunate demise in 1962.   Hugh has the above in his collection of athletics memorabilia.   There were also the Clydesdale Harriers Sports also usually but not invariably held at Ibrox –

Hugh ran in several Rangers Sports meetings which didn’t of course deny interest in the other sports meetings but the Celtic Sports died out before his time.  He did unearth this item though, which prompts the question, why don’t the sports pages employ cartoonists when covering major events?   A cartoon can often convey more than a photograph.   Note the drawing of Fred Bacon.   He was an amateur in 1893 and won many AAA titles and set records including the world one hour time.   He became a professional athlete and when he decided to regain his hour record, he chose to do it in Scotland.   Powderhall was the venue, 1903 was the year and he had three pacemakers – one of whom was Bill Struth who went on to become a legendary Rangers manager, and one of the most successful managers the world has seen.

Then there were the events of 1897 when there were professional championships held at Celtic Park.


We all like the quirky things from the sport’s history, the things that make us smile a wee bit.   How about this one that he found on Twitter.

Note too that the Rangers FC granted the use of the stadium to the teams for the match.   This of course made sure that the match would almost certainly make a profit which it is clearly stated would go to the unemployed of the city and of Govan.   The club frequently made such gestures.  While talking about Ibrox, a recap on the time Alfred Shrubb broke the world hour record

There are more historical items in the collection and we will extend this selection shortly.