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Call for Papers: The Scottish Winter

Presented by the British Society of Sports History, Scottish Network
Dewars Centre, Perth – the Home of Scottish Curling
Wednesday, 15 November 2017

This one-day conference will examine the history/histories of tourism, sport, and leisure during the winter months in Scotland. Suggested paper topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • Winter holidays in the Highlands and Islands
  • Winter sports in Scotland (including curling, skiing, ice skating, etc.)
  • Mountaineering, hill walking, Munro bagging, and the winter landscape in Scotland
  • Outdoor activities and winter weather
  • Transport and winter tourism in Scotland
  • Labour and the winter tourist economy.

Abstracts should be no longer than 200 words, and should be sent by Thursday, 31 August 2017 to both Imogen Gibbon ( and Matthew McDowell ( Any queries should also be sent to Imogen or Matthew.

As BSSH Scotland does not typically receive institutional support for its events, a small fee will be charged by the conference organisers for attendance.
Please forward this to any of your colleagues and postgraduate students who may find this of interest.

The Scottish Summer


Presented by the British Society of Sports History (Scottish Network) and the National Galleries of Scotland Royal Montrose Golf Club Wednesday, 7 June 2017


11.00-11.30     Registration with tea/coffee

11.30 – 11.40  Welcome

11.40-12.00    The Scottish Summer in Winter: representations of Clyde holidays and sailing ‘doon the watter’ in Scottish pantomime fantasy · Paul Maloney and Adrienne Scullion, Queen’s University Belfast

12.00-12.20    Security, Sport, Sun & Sex Appeal: Scottish outdoor swimming pools with particular reference to Fife and Angus · Eric Simpson, author and lecturer

12.20-12.40   Golf and the Scottish Seaside · Alastair Durie, University of Stirling 12.40-1.00 Session discussion

1.00-2.00       Lunch

2.00-2.20      ‘To Retire was Ignominious’: class participation and masculine identity in Skye mountaineering, 1860-1901 · Michael James, University of Nottingham

2.20-2.40       A ‘world of solitude and romance’: mountaineers and tourists in the late-Victorian Highlands · Alan McNee, author

2.40-3.00      The Road to Crummie-Toddie: Anthony Trollope, sporting Scotland, and The Duke’s Children (1880) · Chris Harvie, University of Tübingen

3.00-3.30     Session discussion

3.30              End



Presented by the British Society of Sports History, Scottish Network and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

This one-day conference will examine the history/histories of tourism and leisure during the summer months in Scotland. Suggested paper topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • Holidays on the Scottish coast
  • Literary interpretations of the Scottish summer
  • Tourism from outwith Scotland
  • The family during Scottish summer holidays
  • Transport and Scottish tourism
  • Labour and the tourist economy
  • Sport and tourism during the Scottish summer
  • Outdoor education/fraternalism during the summer months
  • Food and drink during the holidays.

Abstracts should be no longer than 200 words, and should be sent by Friday, 30 January to both Imogen Gibbon ( and Matthew McDowell ( Any queries should also be sent to Imogen or Matthew.

As BSSH Scotland does not typically receive institutional support for its events, a £15 fee will be charged by the conference organisers for attendance.

Keep your eyes open for the call for papers for The Scottish Winter, a companion conference being held in Perth on 6 December 2017!

Please forward this to any of your colleagues and postgraduate students who may find this of interest.

Scotland Awheel

Duncan R. Jamieson, Ph.D.

Ashland University

Ashland, OH  44805,  USA

Despite popular belief, there is no evidence that Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan (1812-1878) invented the bicycle.  While he did build an early boneshaker which is on display in Glasgow, it is not the first, though it is an early rendition of a machine that went through significant changes until the 1870s when the high wheel appeared, to be followed by the safety in the 1880s, the diamond frame which remains the most popular design today.  Even if the bicycle was not invented in Scotland, the first woman to gain notoriety by riding one may well be Mary Marchbank who in 1842 rode the machine built by her uncle.

With the arrival of the high wheel or ordinary, people began riding further and further, traveling independently, when and where they wanted.  For those interested in setting records, John O’Groats became a popular destination, with the first ride from London made by members of the Middlesex Bicycle Club in June, 1873.  These men averaged ninety-seven kilometers a day, followed seven years later by two men from the Canonbury Bicycle Club who rode the 1407 kilometers from Land’s End to John O’Groats in twelve days, averaging 112 kilometers a day.  Not limited to bicycles, a tricyclist, Alfred Nixon, rode from Land’s End to John O’Groats in fourteen days in 1882 and then reprised the ride two years later, finishing in eight and one-half days (today with improved roads and better equipment the record is forty-one hours).  By 1892 the Cyclists Touring Club determined it to be a “classic route,” Though the first around the world cyclists, Thomas Stevens, did not venture into Scotland on his epic journey, many of the early imitators did.  The Australians George Burston and Harry Stokes, the Americans Thomas Allen and William Sachtleben and the Canadian Carl Creelman all cycled through parts of Scotland, with Creelman reaching John O’Groats.

Land’s End to John O’Groats may be a “classic route,” but there are many other parts of Scotland that have attracted cyclists for decades.  People racing from point A to point B to set a new record miss the pleasure of riding in the slow lane, which is enjoying the sights and sounds and meeting the people along the way.  When the American churchman Winfred Ernest Garrison rode through Scotland in the 1890s he took six hours to climb Ben Nevis before continuing north to Inverness.  There he turned south, touring Stirling Castle before arriving in Edinburgh, where he felt the presence of John Knox.  He found the Scott Memorial “as lofty as a cathedral and graceful as a lily,” but the bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln, a memorial to the Scottish dead in the American Civil War, moved him the most.  The American expatriate, Joseph Pennell, who cycled the length of Great Britain, enjoyed the Scottish lowlands for their scenic beauty, an opinion shared by several other riders who took the time to write of their experiences.  However much Pennell enjoyed cycling in England and on the continent, nothing surpassed the beauty of Scotland or the friendliness of the people.

A dozen American high school students, chaperoned by two teachers, rode through England and Scotland in 1892, developing a deeper interest in British history and literature.  When they returned to the United States they each made presentations to their schoolmates at Brookline High School.  The low cost of traveling by bicycle made the journey possible while traveling independently added to their learning.

Tony Hammerton spent two weeks in the Highlands with friends.  The freedom to travel where and when they wanted at their own pace made the bicycle the ideal vehicle in 1900. They saw the best of Scotland, from Loch Lomond, “the Queen of inland waters,” to the mighty mass of Ben Cruachan.  Familiar with the works of Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott, Hammerton compared his experiences to those of Boswell and Samuel Johnson in Fort Augustus or Robert Burns in Aberfeldy.  Hammerton’s itinerary took him past Balmoral Castle, Queen Victoria’s Scottish home.  He noted the flag which signified her presence, the last time before her death in 1901.  A contemporary of Hammerton, the Reverend Alexander A. Boddy regularly rode through the borderlands.

E.E. Henderson found it disappointing that so many of his fellow Scots knew more of Europe than their native land. He reveled in the fresh air and freedom, making multiple trips of a few days to a few weeks in the late 1890s and early 1900s. He traveled in weather ranging from sunny and warm to cold and wet.  Nothing fazed him as he enjoyed his journeys so much words failed to capture the scenes.  He treasured these breaks from the crowded city which imprisoned him until his next bicycle escape.

Riding a few years later Walter Arnold Mursell’s travels always gave him a new lease and a new grip on life.  Not merely a machine, his bicycle, which he viewed as a dragon or a chariot of fire, allowed him to travel for the sake of the journey, not the destination.  The only drawback had become the motor car, The Road Hog, far more dangerous than dogs.  Motors spewed noxious fumes while their drivers were “infernally aggressive and provocative.”  Despite the increasing abundance of automobiles the passing scenery so struck Mursell he found words incapable of capturing the beauty.  Each ride was a miracle, with the continuous going the chief delight.

During World War Two Bernard Newman, the most prolific bicycle travel author, lectured frequently on the war effort due to his intimate knowledge of European geography from his many bicycle journeys on the continent.  He rode through Scotland often, reveling in the fact that he rode where Scott, Burns and Annie Laurie had lived.  While being transported to another lecture by the RAF he rode in a two seat airplane with no room for his bicycle, affectionately called George.  After he was seated the crew put George in his lap, a wheel on either side.

Two Americans posted to Great Britain during the war rode through much of Scotland.  Fred Birchmore who a decade before had ridden around the world toured Scotland awheel while Clifford Graves saw his first ten speed bicycle when posted to England.  It took him six months to get one, which he then rode through Scotland.

As nearly everyone who takes a cycling holiday will confirm, the last day is always bittersweet, though the journey’s memory carries the rider to the next event.  Though all these cyclists rode in many other places, they each praised Scotland’s varied beauty and encouraged others to follow in their wheel tracks.  If you’re interested in more about cycle journeying in general, may I point you toward my book, The Self-Propelled Voyager (New York and London: Rowman and Littlefield, 2015).  For the specific journeys mentioned above, the bibliography is as follows.

Birchmore, Fred A.  Miracles in my life:  tales of a happy wanderer.  Hockessin, Delaware: Cucumber Island Storytellers, 1996.

Graves, Clifford L.   My life on two wheels: with an appendix describing the most popular tours of the International Bicycle Touring Society.  La Jolla, CA: Manivelle Press, 1985.

Hammerton, Tony.  Tony’s Highland Tour. London: Horace Marshall & Son, 1901.

Henderson, E. E. and J. Walker. Camp, Cycle and Camera in the Highlands.  Edinburgh: John Menzies and Company, 1905.

Mursell, Walter Arnold. Two on a Tour.  Paisley, Scotland: A Gardner, 1909.

Newman, Bernard. British Journey.  London: R. Hale Ltd., 1945.

Yankee schoolboys abroad; or, the New England bicycle club in Scotland, England, and Paris. July-September, 1892.  Brookline, MA: C.A.W. Spencer, 1893.

Programme: Cross-Border Sport, the 3rd annual symposium of the British Society of Sports History, Scottish Network

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Robert Burns Cinema, Dumfries




1020       WELCOME — Matt McDowell, University of Edinburgh


1030       ON THE BORDER

Hugh Hornby, Played in Britain

How the Scottish Rules became the English Rules: the importance of cross Border links in the evolution of the sport of bowls

Richard McBrearty, Scottish Football Museum

‘Football’ in the south of Scotland in the mid-nineteenth century

Lindsay Scotland, Independent Researcher

The Historical Curling Places Project


1200       BREAK


1215       PLENARY ADDRESS — Chair: Matt McDowell, University of Edinburgh

Tony Collins, De Montfort University

Rugby in the Borders and at the Borders


1315       LUNCH



Nicola Burton, Independent Researcher

One Gaffer; Two Countries – Jock Wallace in Glasgow and Leicester

Derek Martin, Manchester Metropolitan University

Pedestrianism: the six-day races in Scotland 1879-1882




Call for Papers: Histories of Cross-Border Sport in Scotland and England

Saturday, 17 October 2015 at the Robert Burns Centre, Dumfries

The British Society of Sports History, Scottish Network, is pleased to invite you to ‘Histories of Cross-Border Sport in Scotland and England’, our annual one-day symposium, this year at the Robert Burns Centre in Dumfries.

Suggested paper topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • The South of Scotland, the North of England, and civic, ‘regional’, and ‘national’ identities
  • Sport, gender, and work in the region
  • Cross-Border sporting events, competitions, and leagues
  • Sport, environment, and agriculture
  • Biographies of sportspeople and sporting ‘heroes’

Papers from emerging scholars, community historians, as well as museum and heritage practitioners, would be particularly welcome.

Our keynote address will be given by Professor Tony Collins, International Centre for Sports History and Culture, De Montfort University, who will be discussing: ‘Rugby in the Borders and at the Borders’.

Abstracts should be no longer than 200 words, and should be sent to BSSH Scotland ( by Sunday, 13 September 2015, along with any other queries.


Programme: Scottish Sport and the Arts


Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Friday, 28 August 2015

Presented by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the British Society of Sports History, Scottish Network


9.00-9.15            Registration with tea/coffee

9.15 – 9.30         Welcome · Imogen Gibbon, Chief Curator and Deputy Director Scottish National Portrait Gallery

9.30-9.50            The Search for a Great Scottish Football Novel · Andy Mitchell, Compiler and Editor Scottish Sport History

9.50-10.10          Against All Odds: The Underdog Myth in Scottish Football Fiction · Cyprian Piskurek, Lecturer British Cultural Studies at TU Dortmund University

10.10-10.30        Gordon Williams, Straw Dogs, Gregory’s Girl and Denis Law’s Book of Soccer · Ian Scott, Curator Sport, Leisure & Newspapers National Library of Scotland

10.30-10.50        Football, Popular Culture, and Identity in the Novels of Irvine Welsh · Dr Anthony May, Centre for the Study of Football and its Communities Manchester Metropolitan University

10.50-11.10        Session discussion


11.10-11.30        Tea/Coffee/biscuits


11.30-11.50        What to Wear for Gymnastics: Thinking through Artworks and Absences in Museum Collections · Tiffany Boyle, PhD Candidate Department of Art History Birkbeck University of London

11.50-12.10        Margaret Morris: Artist, Educationalist and Remedial Therapist · Wendy Timmons, Programme Director: MSc Dance Science & Education University of Edinburgh, Iliyana Nedkova and Maria Papageorgiou

12.10-12.30        Has the Highland Fling – Flung? Interrogating the Art/Sport Binary within Highland Dancing Practice · Bethany Whiteside, PhD Candidate (Sociology of Participatory Dance) Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

12.30-12.50        Session discussion


12.50-2.00          Lunch


2.00-2.20            A Rich Tapestry with many a Web and Weave · Dr Hugh Dan MacLennan, broadcaster, author and Professional Fellow Academy of Sport, University of Edinburgh

2.20-2.40            Fitba’ Daft: Scottish Sport and the Silent Screen · Maria A. Velez-Serna, Post-Doctoral Research Assistant University of Glasgow and Caroline Merz, PhD researcher University of Edinburgh

2.40-3.00            Session Discussion


3.00-3.20            Tea/coffee


3.20-3.40            ‘Papa had a famous deer hunt yesterday’: The Sporting Life of John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830) · Nel Whiting, PhD Student University of Dundee

3.40-4.00            Sir David Baird of Newbyth (1795-1851) in “The Golfers” by Charles Lees, RSA – “Whatever he took in hand, he steadily pursued until he acquired the complete mastery of it.”A review of his achievements by David Affleck, East Linton

4.00-4.20            Charles Lees and the Grand Curling Match on Linlithgow Loch, 1848: the portrait of a society? · John Burnett

4.20-4.40            Session discussion


4.40-4.45            Conclusion


5.00-5.30            Walkround Playing for Scotland exhibition