Category: golf

Britain’s sporting museums, galleries and collections

By , 21st November 2009 22:39

The map below shows the locations of sporting museums, galleries and collections in Britain.  It includes institutions involved in Our Sporting Life as well as other museums and collections mentioned in the June 2006 Sports Heritage Network Mapping Survey by Annie Hood.

Many are dedicated to a particular sport. Others are museums with a more general remit which include significant collections with a sporting connection.

There are currently 56 collections featured on this map. It’s probably no surprise that 11 of the museums – the biggest group – are dedicated to football. As one of the longest established organised sports, cricket accounts for seven establishments. Follow the link at the foot of the map to see a listing of the museums alongside a larger map.

Museums related to hunting have been included on the grounds that national hunt racing, equestrianism, and shooting sports have the pastime in their ancestries. Its also worth remembering that before Victoria ascended the throne in 1837, in Britain the word “sport” was most often associated with hunting and angling.

It’s interesting to see that sporting museums can be found the length and breadth of Britain. Let me know if you know of any I’ve missed.

PS: its a shame Google maps doesn’t offer icons for archery, motor sport, cricket, shinty, fencing, shooting, badminton, rugby or tennis!

View Britain’s sporting museums and galleries in a larger map

Samuel Ryder sews the seeds of the Ryder Cup in St Albans

By , 28th October 2009 18:59

Ryder House, Holywell Hill, St AlbansOne of the inspirations for creating this blog was discovering that although Samuel Ryder had lived in St Albans, recognition of the man who had conceived the world’s greatest team event in golf is remarkably sparse within the City.

I found this even more remarkable when I learned, partly through reading the excellent Samuel Ryder The Man Behind the Ryder Cup by Peter Fry (Wright Press, Dorset, 2000) that Ryder had also been a highly successful entrepreneur – his mail order seed business would teach a thing or two to modern online retailers – a progressive employer, City councilor, Mayor and generous benefactor – to non-conformist Christian causes as well as professional golf.

Together with his brother, he was also a pioneer of the use of golf sponsorship as a marketing tool.  Between 1923 and 1925, as partners in Heath & Heather, a herbal remedy business, the Ryder brothers organised and sponsored a series of match play tournaments for professional golfers.

Ryder first decided to present a cup “to foster warm relations and goodwill” between representative teams of professional golfers from Britain and the United States in 1926.  Although the match was played – at Wentworth – the trophy wasn’t presented.  It was felt the contest didn’t fully match Ryder’s vision since the US team had been selected by Walter Hagan from Americans in Britain for the Open, rather than by the US PGA.  The first official Ryder Cup was played at the Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts the following year.

The other fascinating thing about Ryder’s story is that virtually every significant landmark connecting his life with St Albans – homes, business premises etc – are still standing.  They are also concentrated in a remarkably small area which only serves to remind us just how much British towns and cities have expanded during the 20th century.

Take a virtual walk around St Albans with my Flickr photo set of Ryder-related landmarks.

View Samuel Ryder in St Albans in a larger map

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