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Manual of British Rural Sports 17th Edition, 1888 (extract)

Stonehenge [John Henry Walsh], “British Rural Sports; Comprising Shooting, Hunting, Coursing, Fishing, Hawking, Racing, Boating, and Pedestrianism, with all Rural Games and Amusements.”, 17th Edition, 1888.

Part II. Racing in All its Branches.  Book VII. – Pedestrianism, and General Training of Man (three chapters)  pp. 615-654.

 

The author: 

John Henry Walsh trained as a doctor and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons when in his mid 30s.  It was perhaps because of this that he began his writing career under the pseudonym Stonehenge, when he submitted a series of articles on greyhounds to Bell’s Life in LondonBell’s Life had begun life in 1822 as a popular, weekly paper which contained ‘a rich repository of fashion, wit and humour and interesting incidents of real life.  It was published at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon so that it could be bought on a Sunday within 200 miles of London.  By the 1830s it specialised in sport of all kinds, and for any aspiring sports writer, was the paper to write for.  Walsh published his encyclopaedic British Rural Sports when in his mid 40s and it was an instant success.  Nothing previously had treated sport so thoroughly and with such respect, and it remained in print and in demand for as long as Walsh lived.  Shortly after the initial success of his British Rural Sports, Walsh became editor of The Field, and emerged as one of the leading sports journalists in Britain for over 30 years.

 

The place of Stonehenge’s “Manual of British Rural Sports” 17th Edition, in the history of Athletics literature:

This has added significance over the 1856 1st Edition, because the 15 pages of the 1st edition have expanded to 23 pages, and a comparison of the two editions tells much of the story of athletics in the intervening thirty years.  This edition is selected though because of Chapter II in which Walsh gives the most extensive list of “Best Performances” to date. 

 

The Text:

Walsh builds on the pioneering statistical work of Wilkinson (1868, and later editions), and even uses his headings and lay-out.  The importance of this listing to students and historians, however, is the way he extends the listing to additional events and longer distances, and even gives intermediate times. 

-          Best Amateur Walking Performances are given for 1 to 130 miles.

-          Best Professional Walking Performances are given for 1 to 531 miles

-          Best Amateur Running Performances are given for 120yds to 120 miles

-          Best Professional Running Performances are given for 120yds to 610 miles

-          Best Amateur Jumping

  • Running Wide Jump
  • Running High Jump
  • Running High Pole Jump
  • Running Hop, Step and Jump
  • Standing Wide Jump (with artificial aid)
  • Standing Wide Jump (without artificial aid)
  • Standing High Jump.

-          Best Professional Jumping

  • Running Wide Jump (with artificial aid)
  • Running Wide Jump (without artificial aid)
  • Running High Jump (with artificial aid)
  • Running High Jump (without artificial aid)
  • Running High Pole Jump
  • Running Hop, step and Jump
  • Standing Wide Jump (with artificial aid)
  • Standing Wide Jump (without artificial aid)
  • Standing High Jump
  • Standing Hop, Step and Jump

-          Best Amateur Throwing

  • Throwing the 16lb Hammer (run unlimited)
  • Throwing the 16lb Hammer (7ft run and no follow through)
  • Putting the 16lb Weight (7ft run and no follow through)

-          Best Amateur Hurdle Racing and Foot-Steeplechasing

  • Hurdles (120yds, 10 flights)
  • Rugby School Crick Run (about 13 miles).

Plus other events no longer considered ‘athletics’ events.


SEE ALSO: MANUAL of BRITISH RURAL SPORTS 1st EDITION, 1856 (extract)

 

Peter Radford


Bibliographic details:

Title: British Rural Sports; Comprising Shooting, Hunting, Coursing, Fishing, Hawking, Racing, Boating, and Pedestrianism, with all Rural Games and Amusements.17th Edition, 1888.
Extract Details:

Part II. Racing in All its Branches.  Book VII. – Pedestrianism, and General Training of Man (three chapters)  pp. 615-654.

Publisher: Routledge, Warnes, and Routledge.
Place of Publication: London and New York
Date of Publication: 1888
Date(s) of Re-Publication: 17 editions were published during Walsh's lifetime, from 1756, the date of the 1st Edition.
BL Catalogue: Document Supply W4/5562 (17th Edition)
"An Athletics Compendium" Reference: not listed

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