British Society of Sports History

Promoting the Study of the History of Sport

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Officers and Fellows

BSSH Committee

  • Matt McDowell (trustee), Chair

  • Fiona Skillen, Past Chair

  • Raf Nicholson (trustee), Vice Chair

  • Pearse Reynolds (trustee), Treasurer

  • Geoff Levett (trustee), Secretary
  • Luke Harris (trustee), Web editor/Twitter

  • Catherine Budd (trustee), Membership Secretary

  • Nicholas Piercey (trustee), Postgraduate/ECR representative

  • Kay Schiller, Editor-in-Chief, Sport in History

  • Jo Halpin, Media/Publicity Officer.

Fellows of the Society

Roberta Park 

Graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and French.     Went to the Ohio State University and received a Master’s degree .    Then taught high school for three years before being invited to join the faculty of the Department of Physical Education at UC Berkeley. Began there in 1959.    Anna Espenschade (a professor in the department known for her excellent research about exercise and motor performance) encouraged me  to study for a doctoral degree.     The Department arranged my teaching so that I could do both.    Received a PhD from UC Berkeley (in Education and History).      Retried in 1994 but returned to teach part-time in the American Studies Program for a few years.    In addition to chapters for a number of books, I have had published more than seventy articles such as ‘Play, Games and Cognitive Development: Late Nineteenth-Century and Early Twentieth-Century Physicians, Neurologists, Psychologists and Others Already Knew What Researcher Are Proclaiming Today,’ and ‘Sports, Recreation, and the Military on the Island of Puerto Rico During World War II’. These were published in The International Journal of the History of Sport, Stadion: Internationale Zeitschrift  fur Geschichte des Sports, Olympika: International Journal of Olympic Studies, and several other journals.     Fortunate to have been invited to be keynote (or similar) speaker at more than twenty conferences; the last was the Sir Derek Birely Address (British Society for Sport History’s Eastbourne conference) in 2008.    Always enjoyed participating in sports and was fortunate to be the Captain of a United States Field Hockey Association (Pacific Southwest Section) Field Hockey Team that played more than twenty games in Australia and New Zealand in 1965.​

Frank Galligan

Dick Holt

Richard Holt previously worked at the University of Leuven (Belgium) and Stirling University before joining the ICSHC in 1996. He has written general histories of both British and French sport and also professional golf. He is currently working on sporting heroes and national identity. He is the author of Sport and the British (OUP).

Mike Huggins

Mike Huggins is an author and historian specializing in the history of British leisure during the past three centuries. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Cultural History at the University of Cumbria, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow and President of the European Committee for Sports History.  His books include two general histories of British sport: The Victorians and Sport (Bloomsbury: 2004); and Sport and the English 1918-1939 (Routledge, 2006), written with Jack Williams. He has also published three social, economic and cultural histories of horse-racing: Horseracing and the British 1919-1939 (Manchester University Press, 2003); Flat Racing and British Society 1790-1914 (Frank Cass, 2000); and Horse Racing and British Society in the Long Eighteenth Century (Boydell and Brewer, 2018). His books and edited collections have covered topics as diverse as Victorian vice, racehorse training, inter-war tourism, the visual in sport, match-fixing in historical perspective, and sports tourism. He serves on the editorial consultancy boards of five peer-reviewed academic leisure and sports history journals. He has received awards for his work from the North American Society for Sport History and the International Society for the History of Physical Education and Sport.

Tony Mason

Tony Mason’s pioneering study of how football became an important part of the popular culture of the English in Association Football and English Society 1863 - 1915 remains the classic work on the subject. He has written extensively on world football and more recently a book on the history of sport and the MILITARY.

Dilwyn Porter​

Professor Porter has written widely on sport in twentieth century Britain with an emphasis on amateurism and national identity. He is a former editor of the journal Sport in History. Current research projects include the social and cultural history of amateur football in England.

Wray Vamplew

Wray Vamplew is Emeritus Professor of Sports History at the University of Stirling and Global Professorial Fellow, University of Edinburgh Academy of Sport. Author or editor of 37 books, he has also published 140 articles and book chapters as well as over 100 other publications. He was the inaugural winner of NASSH book prize for Pay Up and Play the Game in 1988. His work on sports violence won the Australian Sports Commission’s National Sport Science Education Award in 1992. A special issue of Sport in History, the journal of the British Society of Sports History, was published in his honour in 2009 and in 2016 a special issue in of Sport in Society was commissioned for his work. In 2011 he was named the ISHPES Award winner for his contribution to sport history and was also awarded a BSSH Fellowship. In 2016 he gained the NASSH Service Award. In 2006 he was appointed Editor of the Journal of Sport History and became Managing Editor of the International Journal of the History of Sport in 2010. Currently he is Special Projects Editor for the IJHS. Currently he is writing a global history of sport for Reaktion Press and is a General Editor of Bloomsbury’s six-volume Cultural History of Sport.

Jack Williams​​

For all of my professional life I was a teacher of history.  I taught in secondary schools for seven years and then moved into teacher education before joining the History Department at Liverpool Polytechnic which became the Liverpool John Moores University. After my retirement I was appointed a Visiting Professor in History at the JMU.   As a research student at Leeds University I concentrated on urban politics in the mid-nineteenth century but in the 1980s began considering what sport reveals about gender, class, religious, regional and national identities.   Looking at representations of sport led me to investigate the wider social and cultural impacts of broadcasting in the twentieth century.  My major publications included the books Cricket and England: A Cultural and Social History of the Inter-war Years (1999), Cricket and Race (2001), Entertaining the Nation: A Social History of British Television (2004) and Cricket and Broadcasting (2011).  I co-edited with Jeff Hill Sport and Identity in the North of England (1995), co-authored with Mike Huggins Sport and the English 1918-1939 (2006) and wrote articles and book chapters on the history and social context of cricket, rugby league, association football, speedway and the rise of aeroplane sport.  I believe that I was the first to introduce modules on sport history into History degree programmes at British universities.  From 1985 to 2000 I was a member of the BSSH executive committee and BSSH treasurer from 1994 until 2000.  The BSSH made me one of its Honorary Life Fellows in 2007.