Cultural events; sports and games
Page last modified 20/9/2020
See also Football
See also Olympics Sports Events
Athletics, Sprinting, Running – see appendix below
Baseball – see appendix below
Basketball – see appendix below
Boxing – see appendix below
Chess – see appendix below
Cricket – see appendix below
Croquet – see appendix below
Curling – see appendix below
Cycling – see appendix below
Golf – see appendix below
Greyhound racing – see appendix below
Hockey and Ice Hockey - see appendix below
Horseracing – see appendix below
Rowing - see appendix below
Rugby. – see appendix below
Swimming. – see appendix below
Tennis – see appendix below
Wrestling – see appendix below
19/5/2007, In London, the new Wembley Stadium was officially opened.
1/5/1994, Formula One driver Ayrton Senna (born 1960) died in a crash in Italy.
30/9/1991, At the first World Scrabble Championship, held in London, Peter Morris, representing the US, won the first prize of US$10,000. He scored 86 for ‘inhaler’.
4/10/1974, The American, David Kunst, completed the first round the world trip on foot, 14,450 miles, having started in 1970.
6/9/1974. Stuntman Evel Knievel, a 34 year old former salesman, failed in his attempt to fly a rocket across the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. He plunged 1,500 feet into the river 30 seconds after take off.
1973, Skateboarding became popular in the USA, after the invention of the polyurethane wheel.
22/3/1972, Elvis Stojk, Canadian ice-skater, was born.
17/10/1938, Evel Kneivel, US stunt motorcyclist, was born in Butte, Montana.
17/9/1929, Stirling Moss, motor racing champion, was born.
2/11/1924. The first crossword appeared in a British newspaper, the Sunday Express. It was bought from an American paper, operated by C W Shepherd, where crosswords had appeared 11 years earlier.
4/9/1923. Birth of Birmingham politician Lord Howell, Britain’s first Minister for Sport.
1918, Volleyball was introduced to Europe, by US troops.
21/12/1913. The world’s first crossword was published, in the New York World, compiled by Liverpool-born Arthur Wynne. The first British crossword appeared on 2/11/1924.
1903, In Britain, the National Federation of Anglers was formed.
30/4/1901, The game of ping pong was created by James Gibb.
1895, Volleyball was invented by William Morgan at the Holyoke YMCA. It was introduced to Europe by US troops during World War One.
1894, Bridge (successor to Whist) was first played in England at the Portland Club.
1893, The Badminton Association was formed in England.
28/5/1891, The first world weightlifting championships were held at the Cafe Monico in Piccadilly, London.
20/6/1887. Queen Victoria met Annie Oakley, the famous American markswoman who could slice a playing card in two at 30 paces sideways on.
1884, Bobsleigh; the Cresta Run was built at St Moritz.
1884, The first set of rules for the game of snooker were drawn up, in India. The game itself dates from the Devonshire Regiment’s HQ in 1875.
1879, First large-scale skiing competition, at Huseby Hill, Oslo, Norway.
2/8/1875, Britain’s first roller skating rink opened, in Belgravia, London.
1871, The first recorded game of polo in Britain. The name derives from a Tibetan word for ‘willow stick’ and was already popular across Asia from Persia and India to China and Japan. Hurlingham Polo Club, in Fulham, London, was started in 1875.
1865, John MacGregor built his own canoe and sailed it for 1,000 miles across the rovers and lakes of North America. The books and lectures he authored from this helped found canoeing as a sport and in 1866 the Canoe Club was founded at the Star and Garyer Hotel, Richmond, London, UK.
1860, Dr Jigoro Kano was born in Settsu Province, Japan; he originated the sport of Judo in its modern form.
30/6/1859. The great tightrope walker, Charles Blondin, crossed Niagara Falls in eight minutes. He traversed a rope 1100 feet long, 160 feet above the water. This was the first crossing of Niagara on a tightrope.
1851, The US schooner Americas won a race around the Isle of Wight. The Americas Cup is named after this ship.
1848, The London Fencing Club was established.
1843, Start of skiing as a civilian sport, at Tromso, Norway.
1839, The Montreal Lacrosse Club was founded. The original sport was of indigenous Amerindian origin.
1767, First recorded (military) skiing races, in Norway.
22/4/1760. The first pair of roller skates were seen.
1742, The world’s first skating club was formed in Edinburgh.
1576, Mary Queen of Scots, imprisoned, complained of being deprived of her billiards table.
264 BCE, The first accounts of Roman gladiatorial games. They were banned in 325 AD by Emperor Constantine.
1190 BCE, Records of fencing matches in Luxor, Upper Egypt.
5200 BCE, A form of bowling was being played in ancient Egypt.
Athletics, Sprinting, Running
5/12/1988, Elizabeth Gleadle, Canadian athlete, was born.
26/9/1988. The Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson flew home from the Seoul Olympics in disgrace after being stripped of his 100m medal after failing a drugs test. He had run the 100m 2 days earlier in a record time of 9.79 seconds but was found to have taken steroids. Afterwards Ben Johnson divided his time between his family in Toronto and acting as personal bodyguard for Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi.
30/3/1983, Donald Cerrone, athlete, was born.
29/3/1981. The first London Marathon was run, with 6,700 competitors; the Norwegian, Inge Simonsen, won.
31/3/1980, The Black American athlete Jesse Owens died, aged 67. He won 4 medals at the 1936 ‘Aryan’ Olympics in Germany, enraging Hitler, who refused to shake Owens’ hand.
13/8/1968, Tony Jarrett, English sprinter, was born.
28/10/1957, Glen Hoddle, athlete, was born.
29/9/1956, Sebastian Coe, British international athlete, was born in Chiswick, London.
6/5/1954, Roger Bannister, 25 years old, ran the first mile in under four minutes in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds, on the Iffley Road track in Oxford. The previous record, 4 minutes 1.3 seconds, had stood since 1945. In September 1993 Algerian athlete Noureddine Morceli ran a mile in 3 minutes 44.39 seconds, currently the world record.
21/12/1942. Bob Hayes, athlete, was born.
25/5/1935. The US athlete Jesse Owens broke 5 world records in one day.
28/3/1953, James Francis Thorpe, athlete, died.
23/3/1929, Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes (3 minutes, 59.4 seconds), was born in Harrow, London.
16/1/1902, Eric Liddell, Scottish athlete, was born (died 1945)
7/3/1983, Taylor Tankersley, US baseball player, was born.
12/4/1972, Paul Lo Duca, US baseball player, was born.
10/4/1962, The Dodger Stadium, major league baseball’s modern showpiece, opened in Los Angeles, USA.
2/8/1960, The Continental League, proposed as a third major league for baseball, came to an end after CL President Branch Rickey and co-founder William Shea concluded a meeting in Chicago with representatives of the National League and American League.
16/8/1948, George Herman Ruth, US professional baseball player, died aged 53.
21/3/1925, Merle Keagle, US baseball player, was born.
25/11/1914, Joe Di Maggio, US baseball player who married Marilyn Monroe, was born.
10/9/1905, Pete Browning, American baseball player, died aged 44.
13/10/1903, The first US baseball World Series was won by Boston Red Sox.
1868, The first all-professional baseball club, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was founded.
1845, The first baseball code of rules was drawn up in the USA, by the Knickerbocker Club of New York.
1843, The Washington Baseball Club was founded in New York State. The game was becoming popular in the New York area.
1839, Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball, at Cooperstown, New York State, USA.
30/9/1989, Jordan Taylor, US basketball player, was born.
18/9/1989, Serge Ibaka, basketball player, was born.
7/2/1978, Timothy Floyd Fuller, Missouri University basketball coach, was born.
2/10/1971, Aaron Williams, US basketball player, was born.
6/12/1952, Chuck Baker, US basketball player, was born.
1936, Basketball became an official Oympic sport, at the Games in Berlin.
7/1/1927. The Harlem Globetrotters basketball team was founded.
1897, The first world basketball championships were held in the USA.
1894, The international rules of basketball were drawn up.
20/1/1892, The game of basketball, devised by Canadian doctor James Naismith, was first played at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts.
2/6/1991, Ashley Williams, Welsh amateur boxer, was born.
27/3/1983, Robert Guerrero, US boxer, was born.
24/8/1968, James Toney, US boxer, was born.
5/2/1965, Jeff Harding, Australian boxer, was born.
28/2/1961, Barry McGuigan, world featherweight boxing champion, was born.
1/3/1949, Joe Louis retired as world heavyweight boxing champion.
12/1/1947, Joe Frazier, heavyweight boxing champion in the 1970s, was born.
10/6/1946, Jack Johnson, US boxer, died aged 68.
18/12/1942, Cassius Clay, champion boxer, was born in Kentucky.
1921, The World Boxing Association was founded in the USA. Originally known as the National Boxing Association, it changed its name in 1862 as the sport became more international.
3/5/1921, Sugar Ray Robinson, African-American boxer, was born (died 1989)
2/11/1900, "Terrible Terry" McGovern successfully defended his title as featherweight boxing champion against challenger Joe Bernstein in a bout at Louisville.
1866, The Queensberry Rules were introduced, making boxing safer and better prganised.
9/3/1863, John Gully, English boxer, died (born 21/8/1783).
21/8/1783, John Gully, English boxer, was born (died 9/3/1863).
16/8/1743, The earliest prize-ring code of boxing drawn up in England by champion fighter Jack Boughton. From 1740, public boxing matches became popular in Britain.
1704, Jack Broughton was born. He drew up the Queensberry Rules. He died in 1789.
1695, James Figg, early British boxing champion, was born in Oxfordshire (died 1734).
17/1/2008, Bobby Fisher, American world chess champion, died aged 64.
2/1/2005, Arnold S Denker, US chess player (born 20/2/1914) died.
25/12/1993, Death of US (Russian-born, 8/2/1940) chess champion, Boris Kogan.
19/12/1987, Gary Kasparov took the world chess title, defeating fellow Russian Anatoly Karpov.
10/5/1974, Anatoly Karpov defeated Boris Spassky to become world chess champion.
17/6/1969, Boris Spassky became world chess champion when he beat Tigran Petrosian.
30/3/1958, Gilles Andruet, French chess player, was born.
23/5/1951, Anatoly Karpov, Russian world chess champion in 1975, was born.
3/6/1944, Richard Verber, US chess master, was born.
1924, The World Chess League was founded at The Hague.
1561, Ruy Lopez wrote the first manual of chess instruction.
7/3/1987, Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar became the first to scored 10,000 runs in Test Cricket.
5/1/1971, International One Day Cricket began when England played Australia in Melbourne.
31/8/1965, Willie Watson, New Zealand cricketer, was born.
21/12/1963, Leeds Rugby Club, the first with undersoil heating, used it during a game with Dewsbury.
20/10/1957, Chris Cowdrey, English cricketer, was born.
24/11/1955, Ian Botham, cricketer, was born.
12/9/1948, Max Walker, Australian cricket player, was born.
1947, Cricket matches in England attracted 2 million paying spectators. This figure dropped to 500,000 by 1970.
16/2/1933, England won the Ashes against Australia using a controversial ‘bodyline’ bowling technique, aiming the cricket ball at the batsman’s legs and body, making the game more dangerous.
25/6/1932, The first England – India test cricket match began at Lords, London. England won by 158 runs.
4/6.1926, Frederick Spofforth, Australian cricketer, died.
23/10/1915, William Gilbert Grace, cricketer, died this day.
25/7/1914, 66 year old WG Grace batted for the last time in a competitive match, scoring 69 not out.
1907, The International Cricket Council was established (then known Imperial Cricket Conference as the).
27/8/1903, Donald George Bradman, Australian cricketer, was born.
6/1/1891, Ted McDonald, Australian cricketer was born in Launceston, Australia (died 1937)
12/5/1890, In the UK, the first ever official County Championship cricket match began in Bristol. Yorkshire beat Gloucestershire by eight wickets.
5/4/1884, John Wisden, cricketer and compiler of Wisden record books, died in London.
30/1/1883. ‘The Ashes’ were created when after a cricket match in Sydney a bail was burnt and the ashes given to the England side, who had won.
8/4/1882, Warwickshire County Cricket Club was formed at a meeting in the Queen’s Hotel, Coventry.
6/9/1880, The first cricket Test match played in Britain, between England and Australia, took place at The Oval.
25/3/1879, Leicestershire County Cricket Club was formed in Leicester.
31/7/1878, Northamptonshire Cricket Club was founded.
15/3/1877, The first cricket Test Match, in Melbourne between Australia and England, was won by Australia.
14/1/1876, Essex County Cricket Club was founded at a meeting at The Shire Hall, Chelmsford.
18/8/1875, Somerset County Cricket Club was founded.
4/11/1870, Derbyshire County Cricket Club was founded at a meeting in the Guildhall, Derby.
3/3/1865. Worcestershire County Cricket Club was founded at a meeting at the Stag Hotel, Worcester.
2/2/1864, Middlesex County Cricket Club was founded at a meeting at the London Tavern, Bishopsgate.
12/1/1864, Lancashire County Cricket Club was founded in Manchester.
12/8/1863, Hampshire County Cricket Club was founded in Southampton.
8/1/1863, Yorkshire County Cricket Club was founded at a meeting at the Adelphi Hotel, Sheffield.
1/3/1859, A second Kent County Cricket Club was founded at Maidstone.
18/7/1848, The cricketer W G Grace was born at Downend near Bristol.
22/8/1845, Surrey County Cricket Club was founded at a meeting at The Horns, Kennington.
6/8/1842, The first Kent County Cricket Club was formed.
1/3/1839, Sussex County Cricket Club, the oldest, was founded.
5/9/1826. John Wisden, original compiler of Wisden’s Cricketing Almanac, was born in Brighton, Sussex.
22/6/1814. The first cricket match was played at the present Lords Cricket Ground, between the Marylebone Cricket Club and Hertfordshire. The original Marylebone Cricket Club first played at White Conduit Fields before moving to a better ground at Dorset Square, located by an employee of the Club, Thomas Lord. Dorset Square, or Lord’s Old Ground, was utilised 1787-1810, before a move to their next venue, known as Lord’s Middle Ground. In 1813 this ground was taken for the Regents Canal, and the Club moved to their present venue in St Johns Wood, then a pleasant rural area.
1744, The first formal code of rules for cricket was drawn up.
1477, An early form of cricket, called ‘hands-in-hands-out’, was banned by King Edward IV of England because it interfered with archery practice.
1870, The All-England Croquet Club was established at Wimbledon, London.
1857, First set of rules for croquet drawn up.
19/12/1920, The first US indoor curling rink opened, at Brookline, Massachusetts.
1820, Curling was introduced to the USA.
1807, Curling was introduced to Canada.
1510, The first curling club was established at Kilsyth, near Glasgow, Scotland.
28/4/1941, Lucien Aimar, French sports cyclist, was born.
19/7/1925, Italian cyclist Ottavio Bottecchia won the Tour de France for the second straight year.
25/1/1907, Rene Pottier, French racing cyclist, died aged 27.
1/7/1903, The first Tour de France cycle race began. It was sponsored by Henri Desgrange, the proprietor of a French newspaper, L’Auto, to poach readers from a rival publication, Le Velo, which already staged what were till then the biggest cycle races in France, Bordeaux to Paris and Paris to Brest. The Tour de France, announced in January 1903, was to be 2,500 km long, taking 19 days to complete. Just 21 of the 60 entrants completed the race, competing for prize money totalling 20,000 Francs.
7/7/1944, Tony Jacklin, British golf champion, was born in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire.
17/10/1860. The first professional golf tournament was held at Prestwick, Scotland. It was won by Willie Park.
6/1/1957, Nancy Lopez, US golfer, was born.
18/2/1945, Judy Rankin, US golfer, was born.
9/11/1942, Tom Weiskopf, US golfer, was born.
1889, Royal Birkdale Golf Club was founded, as Birkdale Golf Club; the Royal was added in 1951.
1869, Royal Liverpool Golf Club was founded, gaining its Royal in 1871.
1791, The Burntisland Golf Club was founded.
1787, The Glasgow Golf Club was founded.
1786, The Crail Golfing Society was founded.
1780, The Royal Aberdeen Golf Club was founded.
1774, The Royal Musselburgh Golf Club was founded.
1766, The Royal Blackheath Golf Club was formed.
1761, Bruntsfield Links Golf Club was formed.
14/5/1754, The Royal and Ancient (St Andrews) Golf Club was founded. The first game was played here this day.
1744, The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (Muirfield) was founded.
1735, The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh was founded.
6/3/1457, King James II of Scotland banned golf, because it distracted men from archery training. There was a constant threat of invasion from England, The ban was reiterated in 1471 and 1491, and was not formally lifted until 1744.
2013, Annual attendance at Britain’s dog racing tracks had fallen to 2 million. In 1960 it was 16 million, down to 4 million in 1993 and 3 million in 2006. The number of tracks in Britain has fallen from 64 in 1960 to 25 in 2013. In 1961 dog racing tracks lost their betting monopoly when UK Parliament allowed betting shops to open, for the first time since the 19th century. The rise of TV and the Internet also eroded attendance.
16/8/2008, The dog racing track at Walthamstow, London, held its last meeting. This left Wimbledon as the last dog racing track in the London area.
15/3/1995, Harlow greyhound racing stadium, Essex, UK, opened.
1931, Walthamstow greyhound racing stadium opened,
1930, Dagenham greyhound racing stadium opened.
1928, West Ham greyhound racing stadium opened.
10/12/1927, As greyhound racing grew in popularity, London’s third racecourse opened, at Wembley, to join those at Haringey and White City. Harringey stadium closed in 1987 to make way for a Sainsbury superstore.
20/6/1927, Greyhound racing began at London’s White City Stadium.
1926, Oxford greyhound racing track opened.
24/7/1926. The first greyhound racing track was opened by Brigadier Critchley, at Belle Vue in Manchester.
7/10/1876, The first greyhound race with an artificial hare, the Hendon Cup, was run at the Welsh Harp, Hendon, London.
Hockey and Ice Hockey
21/4/1928, Jack Evans, Welsh-Canadian ice hockey player, was born.
1914, The British Ice Hockey Association was founded.
1903, A small English ice hockey league was formed.
25/1/1895, Wales lost 3 – 0 to Ireland in the first ever hockey international, held at Rhyl in Wales.
1886, In Britain, the National Hockey Association was formed.
1883, The rules for hockey were formally codified.
1879, The rues for ice hockey were drawn up by WF Robertson and RF Smith at Montreal, Canada.
1875, The Men’s Hockey Association was formed.
2/4/1977, Red Rum became the first horse ever to win three Grand Nationals.
28/11/1967. Horseracing was suspended in Britain because of an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.
1/6/1953. Gordon Richards became the first jockey to be knighted.
1949, The first annual Badminton eventing competition.
1926, Chepstow racecourse opened.
27/3/1925, Double Chase won the 84th Grand National horse race at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England.
24/3/1922. Only 3 of the 32 horses in the Grand National finished the race.
16/3/1915, Britain’s Jockey Club decided that the War should not stop horse racing.
1903, In Britain, the Jockey Club took action against the doping of horses.
3/6/1896, King Edward VII (then Prince of Wales) won the Derby on a horse called Persimmon.
1859, Bangor on Dee racecourse opened.
1857, The Longchamps horseracing track opened in the Bois de Bolougne, Paris.
26/2/1839. The Grand National at Aintree, Liverpool, was first run.
4/5/1780. The first Derby horse race was run, at Epsom.
24/9/1776. The oldest of the classic horse races, the St Leger, was first run at Doncaster.
17/8/1711. Ascot became ‘Royal’ after the attendance of Queen Anne at the horse races.
11/8/1711, The first Royal Ascot horse race took place, attended by Queen Anne.
1636, Newmarket horse race course was established.
9/2/1540. The first recorded horse-racing meeting in Britain took place on Roodeye Field (now Roodee), Chester.
1174, The first recorded horse races in England.
18/3/1984, The Oxford and Cambridge boat race was run on a Sunday for the first time. The day before, the race had been abandoned because the Cambridge boat had been damaged in a collision.
25/3/1978, In the Oxford-Cambridge boat race, the Cambridge boat sank.
19/7/1969, John Fairfax became the first person to row the Atlantic when he arrived at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after 180 days at sea.
26/3/1951, Cambridge won the Boat Race. The race had been rerun after Oxford’s boat sank on 24/3/1951.
28/3/1925, In the Boat Race, the Oxford boat sank.
28/3/1912, In the Boat Race, both Oxford’s and Cambridge’s boats sank. The race was re-run.
24/3/1877, The only dead-heat in the history of the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race took place.
1856, The Oxford-Cambridge boat race became an annual event.
14/6/1839. The first Henley regatta, on the Thames, took place. See 26/3/1839.
26/3/1839, The annual Henley rowing regatta was inaugurated. The first regatta was held on 14/6/1839.
10/6/1829. The first Oxford and Cambridge boat race took place, 2 ¼ miles from Hambledon Lock to Henley Bridge. It was won easily by Oxford.
1/8/1715, Doggett’s Coat and badge race first run on the Thames.
16/1/1985, Matt Holloway, New Zealand rugby player, was born.
31/1/1930, Roslyn Reynolds, English rugby player, was born.
2/10/1909. The first Rugby match at Twickenham was played – Harlequins versus Richmond.
4/11/1900, The German Rugby Federation (Deutscher Rugby-Verband) was founded at Kassel.
29/8/1895. The Rugby League was formed at a meeting at the George Hotel in Huddersfield.
22/10/1878, The first rugby match to be played under floodlights was held at Broughton, Lancashire; they played Swinton.
27/3/1871. The first international rugby match was played between Scotland and England at Edinburgh; Scotland won.
26/1/1871. The Rugby Football Union was founded in London, England, by 20 clubs.
20/1/1990, Misaki Yamaguchi, Japanese Olympic swimmer, was born.
10/2/1950, Mark Spitz, champion US swimmer, was born in Modesto, California.
1908, An international regulatory organisation for the sport of swimming was established.
28/5/1742. The first indoor swimming pool in England opened in London. The entrance fee was one guinea.
7/7/1990, Martina Navratilova beat Zina Garrison to win a record 9th Wimbledon women’s singles.
19/9/1988, Thiemo de Bakker, Dutch tennis player, was born.
4/7/1982, The men’s finals of Wimbledon were scheduled for a Sunday for the first time. Jimmy Connors beat his fellow-American John McEnroe.
9/3/1982, Mirjana Lucic, Croatian tennis player, was born.
10/3/1980, Julien Jeanpierre, French tennis player, was born.
14/6/1969, Steffi Graf, tennis champion, was born.
1968, Tennis tounraments were opened to professional players – ending the amateur game.
15/9/1965, Dyan Castillejo-Garcia, professional tennis player, was born.
18/10/1956, Martina Navratilova, tennis champion, was born in Prague.
28/11/1945, Dwight F Davis, founder of the Davis Cup tennis tournament, died.
9/8/1938, Rod Laver, Australian tennis player, was born.
1922, Seeding, to rank the players, was first used at the US National Championships.
1922, King George V opened the new concrete tennis stadium at Wimbledon, seating 15,000.
1/3/1913, The International Lawn Tennis Federation was set up at a meeting in Paris attended by 13 countries.
1900, The Davis Cup was founded after Dwight F Davis donated his trophy.
1891, First French tennis championship. Until 1925 this was open to French players only.
1881, First US tennis championship.
5/7/1879, Dwight F Davis, US Secretary for War 1925-29, who donated the Davis Cup for tennis, was born in St Louis, Missouri.
9/7/1877. The first lawn tennis championships were staged at Wimbledon, at the original site at Worple Road.
23/2/1874, Major Walker Wingfield patented the game of lawn tennis, under the name of ‘Sphairistike’, a version of the Greek for ‘playing ball’. Between July 1874 and June 1875, 1,050 of his tennis sets were sold.
11/3/1988, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Japanese professional wrestler, was born.
27/5/1982, Natalya Neidhart, Canadian wrestler, was born.
13/3/1966, Akira Nogami, wrestler, was born.
30/5/1955, Jake Smith (Roberts), professional wrestler, was born in Texas.
9/6/1924, Ed Farhat, professional wrestler, was born in Lansing, Michigan (died 2003).