West Bromwich Harriers - Historical Query (28/06/2013)

You may recall last season we explored the appearance of Kangeroos in West Bromwich, well on the logo of the Harriers anyway!

Since then Gary Glifton from that club has received further evidence of it's use. He was contacted from Australia by a Melbourne resident, John Armstrong, who sent Gary this picture of a West Bromwich Harriers medal from 1931. Gary in turn approached the League for help.

BDXCL - WBH Medal 1931

John's query was worded as follows:- 

"It was with my father's possessions when he passed away. He was born in West Bromwich in 1896. The medal was sent to him in Australia by his sister, who also lived in West Bromwich, and that unfortunately is all I know about the medal, apart from the fact that it would not have been my fathers, as he was in Australia in 1931.

Could you enlighten me as to any events of 1931, at which this medal may have been presented? Also the medal would have been given to one of my relatives with the surname "ARMSTRONG" or "RUSHTON"".

Whilst not obviously a Birmingham Cross Country League matter we thought it of use to suggest some possibilities for the benefit of other clubs who may be faced with the same sort of historical enquiry.

Our best suggestions (in no particular order) are as follows based on the sort of things that were being awarded within local clubs within that era :-

  • Internal Club Championship Medal (Road or XC)
  • Internal Club Championship Medal for Track & Field ?
  • Internal Club Handicap Medal (Road or XC)

Local clubs of the time like West Bromwich Harriers, Tipton Harriers or Stourbridge British Legion often staged, or helped promote, sports annual meetings in their area. Within these meetings the club would often hold "closed" club championships within the programme over a variety of distances. Successful athletes would probably be awarded medals in recognition of their performances.

If you are interested in such historical aspects of our sport, and the reporting that went on, then we suggest you seek out access to a Midland periodical of the time called "Sport & Play" which was published weekly during the summer "season".

It often contained articles on the various athletic meetings held around the Midlands as well as passing comment on the hot topics of the day.

It covers many sports but athletics was a major feature. Collections of this magazine are known to be available at the Birmingham Central Reference Library and the University Of Birmingham Cadbury Special Collection Library.