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Sports and Leisure History Research Team (SpLeisH)

MMU's International Sports and Leisure History Research Team is based within the Department of Exercise and Sport Science on the Cheshire campus in Crewe although it has significant links with the Department of History, Politics and Philosophy, and the Manchester Centre for Regional History, as well as the Institute of Humanities and Social Science Research. The research team consists of full-time staff members with a specific remit for sports history, Professor Dave Day, Dr Samantha-Jayne Oldfield, Dr Gary James and Martyn Cooke, together with MMU colleagues engaging with aspects of sports and leisure history as part of their personal research agenda, such as tennis historian Dr Simon Eaves and motoring historian Dr Craig Horner. Renowned sports historian Professor Wray Vamplew is a Visiting Research Professor and Dr Julia Walsh of Deakin University, Australia, Dr Rob lake, Douglas College, Canada, Dr Daphné Bolz, University of Rouen, and Professor Jean-Francois Loudcher, University of Bordeaux, are Visiting Research Fellows. Other international academics working closely with SpLeisH include Dr Hans Henrik Appel, Greve Museum, Mosede Fort, Denmark, Dr Stijn Knuts, Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium, Paul Newsham, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland, and Dejan Zec, Institute for Recent History of Serbia, Serbia. Research associates include Professor Alison Goodrum, Dr Carrie Dunn, Dr Claire Robinson, Keith Myerscough, Sylvia Kolling, Gary Shaw and Margaret Roberts, Additional members include research students Geoff Swallow, Derek Martin, Liam Dyer, Lisa Taylor and Mike Devlin plus Rachel Johnson (Royal Northern College of Music). Some profiles can be accessed in our members' section.

SpLeisH provides a focus for research into nineteenth and twentieth century sport and leisure, and is actively engaged in employing all historical approaches, including oral history, biography, and prosopography, to uncover the individual and collective lives of the men and women involved in sporting and leisure activities. The research team has an interest in the sport and leisure history of the North West of England and SpLeisH researchers are currently exploring the history of pedestrianism (the predecessor of modern athletics), football, motoring, music, and swimming, in Victorian and Edwardian Manchester. SpLeisH members are also currently initiating a major inter-disciplinary project in Cheshire with sports science colleagues in which nineteenth century training practices will be subjected to contemporary scientific analysis. Some proposed future projects can be seen by going to PhD positions.

SpLeisH organises several symposia and conferences annually and hosted the British Society of Sports Historians annual conference in September 2013 ( Events in 2014 included a two-day symposium on Sport and Leisure on the Eve of the First World War and the team's first International Sport and Leisure History symposium, which hosted over twenty papers on topics ranging from cricketer Learie Constantine to Victorian zoos and theatres, was held in 2015. This has now become an annual event and is held in February/March each year with the next event scheduled for March 2017. In June 2015, SpLeisH hosted a symposium on The Future for Sports and Leisure History, the outcomes of which can be seen as blogs on the futures blog page. SpLeisH presents its research in a number of public forums, both academic and non-academic and the research group is always happy to present its work to the public and to any organisation that might be interested.

All enquiries about that aspect of our work or on any of the activities of SpLeisH should be directed to Professor Dave Day at