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Conclusion he vast majority of ordinary people in Britain between the wars paid far more attention to sport, and the doings of ‘society’, than to the interests of the country’s intellectual elite. Racing was one of Britain’s leading national sports, and the media gave it more prominence than football or cricket, its main competitors. Involvement in or opposition to it were integral factors in British cultural life. Previous pages have explored its place in detail, and discussed social and economic changes in racing between the wars, power and control in racing

in Horseracing and the British 1919–39
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Introduction orseracing has a powerful claim to be Britain’s leading interwar sport. Cricket had its adherents; indeed, Jack Williams, the historian of interwar cricket, shows that its supporters presented it as the English ‘national game’.1 But British racegoers claimed that racing was ‘our real national sport’.2 On the basis of active participation, cricket was certainly superior with somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000 playing each week in the early 1930s, although football had even more participants, with 37,000 clubs affiliated to the Football Association

in Horseracing and the British 1919–39
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Visions of history, visions of Britain

C. L. R. James had intended in late 1938 to travel from his London base to the United States. His plan was to work with the Trotskyist movement there, but to return to England in time for the 1939 cricket season. We may well speculate that, in fact, his American sojourn would have extended for far longer than he envisaged, had world history not intervened. Neville Chamberlain

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain

, rowing, bowls and boxing, but its circulation was falling and it shut in 1924. The dominant northern daily racing paper was Hulton’s Sporting Chronicle, printed in Manchester at 2d, which claimed to provide ‘the Best and Latest STABLE Information’. With the Sporting Life it provided official starting prices.15 It covered football, cricket, dog racing and other sports, but concentrated on racing. Before the First World War few daily papers, beyond the Daily Telegraph and Morning Post, had their own racing representative. Instead the Press Association had supplied a

in Horseracing and the British 1919–39
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the captain of an opposing cricket team’.13 Naturally, good news, when it finally came, also had an effect on morale. In November 1942, for example, Mass-Observation reported the dramatic impact at home of the victory at El Alamein, the advances in Libya and the Allied landings in Morocco and Algeria: much more interest in the news, increased optimism, the disappearance of war- weariness and a surge in production in the war factories.14 Brendan Bracken wrote of the barely suppressed public excitement at the long awaited good news: ‘they are now as suspicious as the

in Half the battle
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Crossing the seas

short fiction. 15 He brought with him a manuscript novel. 16 He had too some draft material on cricket and, more particularly, on Learie Constantine, who had been influential in persuading James to make the journey to Britain. 17 In 1933 Leonard and Virginia Woolf abridged some of his earlier writings on colonialism, republishing them as The Case for West Indian Self-Government . 18 To hold together

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain

daily opportunities for riding or how they spent their off-duty hours in learning to ride. They attended regular musical concerts within camps or in local towns, croquet and polo parties and went on numerous picnics across the veldt, in addition to afternoons spent rowing with medical officers, before participating in games of cricket and hockey.49 Emily Wood, a Scottish Reserve nurse based at the Royal Red Cross Hospital in Kroonstad, proudly wrote to her family that she had formed part of the nurses’ team pitted against the hospital’s male cricket team, before going

in Colonial caring

complaint which was rebutted on the interesting if illogical grounds that ‘the individuals in our club do more good in the charity field (and for the image of Manchester University) than our so-called caring Union’. Less easily assailable were the Cricket Club. When reproved for allegedly holding a Compulsive Hookers’ Party, they replied that the event was to be a Compulsive Hooking Party, and that the name had been picked because ‘“compulsive hooking” was a cliché used on cricket commentaries during the recent Ashes series, referring to the Australian openers’ habit of

in A history of the University of Manchester 1973–90
The BBC’s Caribbean Voices

and Barbados and Jamaica in a way that nothing else, except cricket broadcasting, ever has. Furthermore, in a society not too well known for reading, the spoken word, by way of radio, even when it was producing literature, had an impact that books would have lacked, except among the very few. 28 For a critical period Caribbean

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain

slow turns, undulations, and varying going to challenge the most expert gambler. Geographical distribution of courses Entertainment and sport were amongst the most powerful of Britain’s civil cultures. Cricket was played and followed throughout the country by all social classes. Football, ‘the people’s game’ and greatest winter sport, had its professional heartland in the North and the industrial Midlands, while the South had a disproportionately high number of recreational sides. If racing was as aristocratic-plutocratic as McKibbin has claimed, one might expect

in Horseracing and the British 1919–39