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Harrier
Coventry
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1 of 14  Wed 11th Jul 2012 2:38pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:220

Was sport for the apprentices and the Apprentices' Sports unique (?) to Coventry? The Sports (athletics) certainly offered an invaluable source of recruitment for Godiva Harriers in the post war years. But did other sports offer a similar competitive structure for youngsters when they became an apprentice? Football seems pretty obvious. When did competitive sports (ie which year) start for apprentices in Coventry and when did it die out? Was it a post war phenomenon? Did factories recruit from within their firm experienced sportsmen to organise each sport, or bring in outside help? Did one person supervise all the different sports? Was it a male preserve?
Apprentice Sports
Mick Strong
Coventry
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2 of 14  Thu 26th Sep 2013 8:38pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2020  Total posts:144

Remember playing football in the Wickman Cup competition. Knock out competition for all Coventry firms who could put out an apprentice team, final was played at the old Butts stadium.
Mick Strong

Apprentice Sports
Harrier
Coventry
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Thread starter
3 of 14  Mon 8th Jun 2015 7:06pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:220

Did anyone take part in the Apprentice Sports at the Butts? Were the Sports always held at the Butts Stadium? According to an old programme I have, the Sports appeared to have started during the war, if you count back the years, which seems strange? I have found no reference to the first Sports in the old newspaper files; does this mean that the Sports were not held during the war years, or was it because space in the newspaper was at a premium and the Sports were not considered important enough to warrant a report? Women first competed in about 1961 but their events did not allow points and they did not contribute to their company's total. Were women apprentices ever able to contribute to their works total points?
Apprentice Sports
RogerN
Honiton Devon
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4 of 14  Tue 21st Jul 2015 8:56pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2014  Total posts:14

I trained with Rootes from '49 to '52 and we entered a full team for the sports at the Butts. We had weekly PT and a lot of us played football or rugby for Rootes. Nearly every factory had a number of Welshmen who were all keen rugby players as well as hard working committee men who ran the club and teams. For Rootes we had Ken James who was a hard working chairman of the rugby club. I digress but at the Apprentice Sports of 1951 at the Butts I was in the Rootes tug of war team that beat the Dunlop in the final. PS Sorry Harrier for this being in the wrong place but cannot see how the 'respond to a quote' works
Apprentice Sports
camperman
South Wales
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5 of 14  Thu 30th Jan 2020 7:14pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2014  Total posts:9

RogerN, Hope these photographs will bring back some memories for you. Not sure if they are relevant to the Sports Days you were talking about but I think they are near the time frame. On the back of one of the photographs is the following: "Bill (Oliver) 4th from left, Humber Eng. Dept. Late 1940's Tug of War Match. Hope you enjoy them. Camperman
Apprentice Sports
bohica
coventry
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6 of 14  Thu 30th Jan 2020 10:54pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:294

A couple of pictures of AWA apprentices, likely late 50s, early 60s. Sourced from the Albert Whitehouse archive on the Bitteswell F/B page
Apprentice Sports
NeilsYard
Coventry
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7 of 14  Fri 31st Jan 2020 9:24am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:2695

Harrier will like those!
Apprentice Sports
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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8 of 14  Fri 31st Jan 2020 9:31am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3683

A lot of questions. Of course there were sports and sports days, but mainly in the summer - reports tucked away in little pockets - but no it wasn't big. Look at the clothes for instance, shirt sleeves, ties, no such thing as Adidas, track suits. It got popular when forces had to do keep-fit, competed, younger ones became interested, joined sports clubs. Look how few football matches occured back then, just progress, now they're complaining too much, bodies breaking down. Oh gosh, those old tug-o-war, just clean fun, once or twice a year, you slipped your suit off, got mucky, you laughed, only one in a hundred took it seriously and trained.
Apprentice Sports
Harrier
Coventry
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9 of 14  Fri 31st Jan 2020 10:09am  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:220

Yep!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bang goes my Friday - my wife will have to light the fire, do the washing and cleaning, tidy up the garden, wash the car, sweep the paths etc. while I spend today chasing up details, especially that picture of the runners at the Butts track. My first problem is that I am not on social media so cannot access any other information from that Bitteswell Facebook page reference. However, a couple of things that strike me at first glance. Firstly, six of the ten starters are wearing adidas spikes with only one (second left) in those old canvas type boots, and he is not in 'athletic kit'. And those adidas were not cheap!! Or readily available. Nearly all the field are wearing, what would be classified as 'proper' athletic kit, shorts etc. and vests. The event is the mile… the Butts track measured 360 yards so the starts for standard races were scattered all around the track, certainly not where you expect them to be. Are not the competitors a bit on the old side to be apprentices?? The starting stance of the runners is typical of club athletes, i.e. totally incorrect!!! I wonder if the event could have been an 'invitation event' of which there were several during the course of each yearly Sports? The caption seems to imply that the runners were all Armstrong Whitworth apprentices which must logically be highly unlikely? If I knew the year I could fill in more details. The search begins after I have found time to make my wife a cup of tea to sustain her while I am busy.
Apprentice Sports
OldBrummie
Coventry
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10 of 14  Sun 20th Sep 2020 9:52am  
Member: Joined Sep 2020  Total posts:2

Regarding Harrier’s words on the picture of athletes in the Coventry Apprentices sports (31 January 2020) the event is NOT the mile but the 880 yards. The start of the mile was at the beginning of the back straight which meant running four and three quarter laps of the track to complete a mile. The date of this particular race was probably 1963 or 1964. The winner was Gordon Horne, who on the photo is third from the left, in a time of 1.59.7. Gordon was running for Coventry Radiator. Pete Carey of Bristol Siddeley was second (centre of picture with black shorts and striped vest) and in third place was J. Abercrombie who was running for Courtaulds (black vest and white shorts on the extreme outside of the line up).
Apprentice Sports
Helen F
Warrington
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11 of 14  Fri 25th Sep 2020 11:53pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2335

Hi OldBrummie Wave a belated welcome to the forum. Thanks for the detailed information. A specialist bit of history but sooner or later someone will be pleased to find it. Thumbs up
Apprentice Sports
bohica
coventry
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12 of 14  Sat 26th Sep 2020 12:00am  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:294

I was very chuffed with it, thanks Brummie. Thumbs up
Apprentice Sports
Harrier
Coventry
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Thread starter
13 of 14  Sat 26th Sep 2020 6:30pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:220

You are quite correct Brummie. I cannot believe I made such an error!!! What a p*****r!! If you do have any memories of the Apprentices' Sports, or any memories of the Butts you would like to share, I would be most interested to hear from you.
Apprentice Sports
OldBrummie
Coventry
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14 of 14  Fri 2nd Oct 2020 2:01pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2020  Total posts:2

Hi again Harrier, I do have a few memories of the Apprentices Sports, but I'm afraid my memory bank is depleting as time goes on. But I first took part in these sports in 1955. Almost press ganged into taking part by our then apprentice supervisor at what was then Armstrong Siddeley Motors. I ran in the 440 yards and came last in my heat. After that I ran in the mile event which seemed to suit me better as I finished about 8th. But it was hard, and I vowed never to run again. But the following year I watched the National Cross Country Championships at Warwick Racecourse and it inspired me to join Godiva Harriers which I did the very next week. So then, with some training under my belt I did run again in the Apprentices Sports and won the mile. Then in 1957, 58 and 59 won the mile each time together with the 880 yards in '58 and 59. There was always a brilliant display of trophies for the winners of the various events which included all track events from 100 yards right up to the mile. There was also a medley relay included in the programme (440, 220, 220, 880) and there was always an invitation race. I remember in 1956 there was an invitation 880 yards handicap. A guy by the name of Derek Johnson from Woodford Green turned out for this race and he ran off "scratch". He won the race by a very narrow margin. Then later in the year he represented Great Britain in the Olympics in Melbourne, Australia and won the silver medal in the 800 metres. So the Butts Stadium, and the CAA were hosts that year to a top class athlete. On another occasion, I THINK in the Apprentices Sports but not sure, an open invitation two mile race attracted a Ken Norris to run, Ken having won the National Cross Country title in 1956.
Apprentice Sports

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