It's A Knockout 1967
British Domestic Series

Presenters:
MacDonald Hobley
David Vine

Referee:
Eddie Waring

Scoregirls:
Glen Macvean
Rita Morris

Producer:
Barney Colehan

Assistant Producer:
Cecil Korer

Directors:
Philip S. Gilbert (Heats 1-3)
Derek Burrell-Davis (Heats 4-6)

A BBC North West Production • Made in Black and White

GB

It's A Knockout 1967

Heat 1

Event Staged: Sunday 14th May 1967 from 4.40pm
Venue: Fairhaven Lake, Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 14th May 1967, 4.40-5.25pm (Live)

Weather Conditions: Raining

Teams: Lytham St. Annes v. Southport

Team Members included:
Southport -
Penny Bridge, Pauline Hurst, Susan Parkinson, Pat Switzer

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 L • Lytham St. Annes
 S Southport

15
2

Lytham St. Annes qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Bruxelles/Brussel, Belgium:
staged on Wednesday 28th June 1967

The Host Town

Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire

Lytham St. Annes is classed as a conurbation in the Fylde district of Lancashire. The neighbouring towns of Lytham and St-Anne's-on-the-Sea (nearly always abbreviated to St Annes) have grown together and now form a seaside resort. St Annes is situated on the northern side of the turning and overlooks the Irish Sea, whereas Lytham is on the eastern side and overlooks the Ribble estuary.

 

The striking Promenade Gardens of St. Annes

 

Lytham and St. Anne’s each had their own town council who were responsible for everything; the roads, paving, public transport, all the public parks and their theatres, the open air baths on the front at St. Anne’s and the public baths at Lytham, electricity and gas supplies and the local fire brigade. It was considered more practical to combine the two and so on 1st May 1922 with some reluctance on both parts they became a single borough to create Lytham St. Annes.

The Venue

Fairhaven Lake

The games at this heat were staged on Fairhaven Lake, located on the banks of the River Ribble in Lancashire in north-west England. 

 

A recent aerial view of Fairhaven Lake

 

The original development of the area known as Fairhaven was started in 1892 by Thomas Riley who intended building a new resort on the salt marsh and sand dunes on the north bank of the Ribble estuary. In 1895 however, the Fairhaven Estate Company took over this development, and by the following year, 43 residences, shops and a hotel had been established. Boats began to appear on the lake and a golf course complete with clubhouse was opened on the north side of the lake. The original intention was to extend the sea wall and the gardens as far as St. Anne’s, however this was abandoned after heavy seas flooded the lake in 1896. Over the next two decades, the sea wall was reinforced with sandstone rocks and the lake became more popular as Fairhaven itself began to develop. A landing stage and pagoda-shaped boathouse were constructed, the former as an area where boats could be built, the latter doubling as living-quarters for the manager. During this period, a portion of the lake was utilised as an open-air swimming baths complete with diving boards, slide and changing huts. After the end of World War I, a private tennis club, bowling green and public tennis courts were created to the north of the lake and flowerbeds were nurtured.

A plan for the redesign of the park, which covers an area of 19.5 hectares (including the lake), was submitted in 1923 by Thomas Hayton Mawson & Sons, but only a few elements of this design were adopted. In 1926, at a cost of £34,000, the lake and surrounding park were bought from the Fairhaven Estates Company and presented to the Corporation of Lytham St Annes by linoleum magnate Lord Ashton of Lancaster, and was named Ashton Marine Park in his honour. The name reverted back to Fairhaven Lake in 1963.

Measuring 3937ft x 1312ft (1200m x 400m) and just 4ft (1.2m) at its deepest point, the lake is well-maintained and is predominantly used for leisure. It had proved to be very popular with regatta, water skiing displays and hydroplane racing, attracting crowds of up to fifteen thousand in the 1950s and 60s, with the last of the regattas being staged in 1972 when the Borough of Lytham St. Annes was formed. Along with the pleasure and rowing boats, the lake is also home to ducks and swans, and is also a haven for wildlife and somewhere for the migrant birds to take shelter from any rough prevailing weather. Despite recent activity on the lake declining, a new pleasure craft Jubilee was launched in 2002 to provide lake cruises during the summer months. On Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings from April through to October, the north-west end of the lake is used by the Blackpool & Fylde Boat Club, and the café, which was originally built as the clubhouse for the Fairhaven Golf Club (they retreated inland after the huge flood in 1896!) predates all the other buildings in the area. In 2008 the former pagoda-shaped boathouse and manager's living quarters has been converted into the RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre.

Returning Teams and Competitors

Despite losing this Domestic heat, four female members of the Southport team participated later in the year as part of the Cheltenham Spa team at the British International Heat held at Blackpool and the International Final held at Kohlscheid, West Germany!

Additional Information

At the time of this transmission, the planned venue for the French heat was given as Bayonne. However, this had been changed to Vincennes in Paris before the transmission of the second heat.

Made in B/W • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1967

Heat 2

Event Staged: Sunday 21st May 1967
Venue: Boating Lake, Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 21st May 1967, 4.40-5.25pm (Live)

Weather Conditions: Raining

Teams: Colwyn Bay v. Llandudno

Team Members included:
Llandudno -
Vernon Moore (Team Captain)

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 L • Llandudno
 C Colwyn Bay

9
8

Llandudno qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Locarno, Switzerland:
staged on Wednesday 12th July 1967

The Host Town

Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire

Colwyn Bay (Bae Colwyn in Welsh) is a town and seaside resort of around 30,000 inhabitants, located on the Gwynedd coast in North Wales overlooking the Irish Sea.

 

Colwyn Bay's Victorian pier has seen better days...

 

The town is predominantly dependant on the tourist trade, due mainly in fact of its famous beaches, and parks and gardens such as Eirias Park. The Welsh Mountain Zoo, opened in 1963 by wildlife enthusiast and nauralist Robert Jackson and covering an area of 37 acres (15ha), is located nearby. The town once had a thriving pier which was first opened in 1900, but since 2009 the 227m (750ft) structure has been closed to the public when its owner, Steve Hunt, was declared bankrupt. In its heyday, the Dixieland Showbar sited on the pier hosted many live concerts and featured acts as diverse as Motorhead, The Damned, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Elvis Costello, Slade, Madness, The Specials and the Cockney Rejects. In 2011, Conwy County Borough Council attempted to buy the pier from the official receivers, but this was denied. A National Lottery grant to save the pier was also denied in March 2012. Today, the structure still lies in a bad state, with fencing blocking people from being able to go under the pier for Health and Safety reasons.

The Venue

Eirias Park

The games at this heat were staged on the boating lake in the aforementioned Eirias Park (Parc Eirias in Welsh), a 50-acres (20 hectares) public park in Colwyn Bay.
 

In recent years, the Eirias Park boating lake has fallen into a dilapidated state

 

During the summer months, tourists were encouraged to ride the Miniature Steam Railway along from Colwyn Bay Pier to the Eirias Park Arches, where they could take the Welsh Ffargo (a pun on Wells Fargo) Land Train up into the park itself. This train would travel around the boating lake and then stop outside the Pavilion, which had a café, amusements and exhibitions. Sadly, the Welsh Ffargo disappeared many years ago, as did the Miniature Steam Railway. The Boating Lake is now an overgrown mess, and the Pavilion in Eirias Park was destroyed by a fire set by arsonists in the 1980s and was never replaced... A sad end all around.

Today, situated within the park is the Colwyn Leisure Centre, whose facilities include a six-lane 25-metre swimming/leisure pool with various water features and a separate water slide. There is also a fitness suite, health suite, sauna, steam room and warm spa pool. Outdoor facilities include a sports stadium with grandstand and floodlit synthetic hockey / football playing area. Additional facilities include indoor and outdoor tennis courts, bowling greens, boating lake, children's playground and picnic area. Local football team, Colwyn Bay F.C. have played on three different grounds at Eirias Park during their history. The Arena was a temporary home during the early 1980s prior to the club's move to their present Llanelian Road home ground.

This venue was used again when the programme returned to Colwyn Bay in 1971. The inaugural It's A Cup Final Knockout was also recorded in tandem with the 1971 domestic heat at the same location.

Made in B/W • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1967

Heat 3

Event Staged: Sunday 28th May 1967
Venue: Scott Park, Galashiels, Selkirkshire, Scotland

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 28th May 1967, 4.40-5.25pm (Live)

Weather Conditions: Sunny and Cold

Teams: Galashiels v. Hawick

Team Members included:
Galashiels -
Christine Hardy, Alex Gilchrist, Henry Turnbull, John Pheasant, Peter Fairburn;
Hawick - Mrs. McPherson, Martin Scott.

Games included: Game 1 (Title Unknown), Posting the Box, The Mini Jelly Rally, Anchors A-Weigh, Up and Under Together, Celtic Chivalry;
Marathon: Distance Cycling.

Game Results and Standings

Games

  1 2 3 4 5 6 MAR
Points Scored
(Joker games shown in red)
G 2 0 2 0 4 0 0
H 0 4 0 2 0 2 5
Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
G 2 2 4 4 8 8 8
H 0 4 4 6 6 8 13

Result

 Team

Points

Final Scoreboard

1st
2nd

 H • Hawick
 G Galashiels

13
8

Hawick qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Pisa, Italy:
staged on Wednesday 26th July 1967

The Host Town

Galashiels, Selkirkshire

Galashiels (known locally as Gala) is a town of around 13,000 inhabitants in southern Scotland, located on the Gala Water river, from which it takes its name. At the time of recording, the town was in the county of Selkirkshire, but since 1974 following the redistribution of county boundaries under the Local Government Act of 1972, it has been in the Scottish Borders region.

 

The pleasing roofscape of Galashiels

 

Known for its textile-making industry, it is the location of the Heriot-Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design, named after philanthropist and goldsmith, George Heriot (1563-1624) and inventor and mechanical engineer, James Watt (1736-1819). The town's coat of arms shows two foxes reaching up to eat plums from a tree, and the motto is Sour Plums pronounced in Scots as soor plooms. It is a reference to an incident in 1337 when a raiding party of English soldiers were picking wild plums close to the town and were caught by Scots who came across them by chance and slaughtered them all.

The Venue

Scott Park

The games at this heat were staged in Scott Park located in the south-west corner of the town. The park is named after the Scott family who gifted the land to the town in 1939. The lodge house just inside the ornate cast iron main gates and railings was built in 1881 as the entrance lodge for New Gala House. This was quite grand with its crow-stepped gables, tall chimneys and entrance porch. During his life, Sir Walter Scott was a frequent visitor to Old Gala House as he was friendly with Captain Scott of Gala.

 

Scott Park looking north towards the town of Galashiels

 

New Gala House was constructed from 1872 and was inhabited by the Scott family in 1876 as a replacement for Old Gala House. However, it is ironic that Old Gala House has outlasted its newer namesake, which was demolished in 1985. The ground around the site is well wooded and within minutes, you feel as if you are in the countryside, even although the town is just a short distance away.

The Games in Detail

The BBC Archives tele-recording of this broadcast is the earliest surviving video footage from any It's A Knockout programme, but it is unfortunately incomplete at just 23 minutes 15 seconds long. From the information contained in the footage it is clear that each heat began with the Marathon and this was played continually throughout the programme, only being visited by the cameras in between the main games.


Marathon - Distance Cycling

The Marathon - ‘Distance Cycling’ - was competed in unison, and featured two bicycles (one from each team) mounted on podiums in which were set roller test brakers. Each player, assisted by a team-mate that held the bicycle steady, had to cycle as fast as possible in order to notch up the greatest distance travelled throughout the programme. Each team could change cyclists as often as they wanted from a pool of five players. When the programme joined the game, it had been in play for around 10-11 minutes and after a short viewing it could be seen that Hawick were leading with 9 miles (14.4km) whilst Galashiels had only covered 8 miles (12.8km). During the game, presenter MacDonald Hobley stated that the bicycles being used were those akin to ones utilised by professional cyclists and costing in the region of around £60. A comparable model today could cost anything between £900 and £2000+!


Game 1 - Title Unknown

The first game is missing from the surviving recording, but the scoreboard appears before the Game 2 scores are added, revealing that Galashiels won the first game and went into the lead with a score of 2-0.


Game 2 - Posting the Box

Also missing from the recording is the vast majority of the second game - ‘Posting the Box’ - in which a large wooden packing case had to be smashed to pieces and then posted through a letter box. Enough is preserved for us to ascertain the content of the game and that, from the scoreboard shown at the start of the surviving material that Hawick played their Joker on Game 2 and had won (being awarded 4pts rather than 2pts). An early blooper in the BBC version is made by presenter MacDonald Hobley at the end of this game when, after stating that Hawick had gone into the lead after receiving the extra 2pts for winning their Joker, he announced the scores as Hawick 2, Galashiels 2!


Game 3 - The Mini Jelly Rally

The third game - The Mini Jelly Rally’ - was introduced by David Vine from the tarmacked area outside the park’s buildings. On the whistle, eight girls had to each grab a plate with a jelly on it from a table and then all clamber into the small Mini car. The driver then had to carry out a number of manoeuvres up an obstacle course, and then return back to the start in the quickest time. However on reaching the end of the course, the girls had to alight from the car and then place the jellies back onto the table in order for the time to be taken. There were 5-second penalties for any jellies that had been damaged and any of the obstacles that had been hit by the car. The Hawick team went first in a white Mini (registration number BLS 673E) and achieved their target without penalty in 1 minute 7 seconds. Galashiels played second using the same vehicle for parity, and akin with their rivals also picked up no penalties. However, when the time was announced they had completed the course in 1 minute 4seconds. Galashiels were awarded the 2pts to bring the scores level at 4-4.

Returning for a short visit to the on-going Marathon, Hawick had slightly increased their lead having covered 13 miles (20.9km), whilst the Galashiels team had only covered 11 miles (17.7km).


Game 4 - Anchors A-Weigh

The fourth game - 'Anchors A-Weigh' - was played inside a large circular water tank which had been specially constructed and filled by the Galashiels Fire Brigade. In the middle of the tank was an unanchored 6ft (1.82m) circular diameter raft which was attached to 12 ropes each of which had a hoop (in reality cycle tyres) attached to its end, and were hanging over the edge of the pool. Located around the pool and adjacent to each of the hoops were 12 iron posts. On the whistle, two female competitors had to jump into the pool and make their way to the raft and then climb aboard. It was then a matter of pulling on individual ropes to retrieve the hoops and then attempting to throw the hoops over the posts outside the pool. The team scoring the greater number of successful throws would be deemed the winners. The Galashiels competitors participated first but had difficulty in keeping afloat as they threw the hoops to the posts. It was suggested by presenter David Vine that as the raft was unanchored, it might be easier if they paddled the raft closer to the pool’s edge before attempting to throw the hoop (something that was actually permitted in the rules). However, this advice appeared to be missed by the competitors who continued to play the game from the centre of the pool. After 3 minutes play, the Galashiels competitors had failed to score anything. Whilst the game was being played long camera shots could see that the scores on the Marathon had moved on and were standing at Hawick 14 miles (22.5km) and Galashiels 13 miles (20.9km). The Hawick team participated second and they had listened to the advice from David Vine and paddled the raft closer to the edge. This proved beneficial when, after 1 minute 13 seconds, the team successfully hooked one of the posts with a hoop. In essence, the game was over and would be awarded to Hawick, but it was played to its conclusion and ended with Hawick scoring another 2 hoops. However, the third one had been disallowed as it had been hooked over the same post as the second one. The game ended 2-1 in Hawick’s favour and they were leading 6-4 on the master scoreboard.

With the help of a film-clip contained within a compilation programme from the BBC entitled TV Hell broadcast in 1992 (see Knockout TV), the mileage covered on the Marathon by both teams at this point was Hawick 20 miles (32.2km) and Galashiels 17 miles (27.4km).


Game 5 - Up and Under Together

The fifth game, like the first and second games, is also absent from the recording and it saw Galashiels play their Joker. However, whilst the ‘Anchors A-Weigh’ game was being contested, it can be seen that the game would have involved competitors tied together and participating in a three-legged rugby match entitled ‘Up and Under Together’. The Galashiels team went on to win the game and make the score 8-6 in their favour. This is supported by the confirmation of the scores after the sixth game.


Game 6 - Celtic Chivalry

The sixth game - ‘Celtic Chivalry’ - was one that has been highlighted over the years in the many retrospective programmes packaged as The Best of Knockout. The game featured horses and initially involved four players from each team battering down two castle gates. Once completed, a mounted knight with a flagged lance from each team passed through the castle entrance and then galloped a short distance in order to reach the end of the course. On reaching the end, the knight had to dismount and tether his horse to some scaffolding (which was part of the scenery) and then remove the flag from his lance and climb a long ladder in order to reach his damsel waiting aloft. After climbing the ladder, the flag had to be flown from a flagpole and then the damsel had to be carried down the ladder to the waiting horse. It was then just a simple case of the knight leading the horse with the mounted girl to the start of the course. On the whistle, both teams set off together and it was the Hawick team that reached and climbed to the top of the ladder first. Whilst trying to make up some ground on his rival, the Galashiels knight failed to tether his horse correctly and this resulted in the horse breaking free and running halfway back up the course. Having said this, the Hawick team were faster on all aspects of the game and would clearly have won the game even if he had completed his task in the correct manner. With the 2pts secured, the Hawick team had drawn the game level at 8-8.

With the scores all level at 8-8, the competition would be decided by the outcome of the Marathon. Hawick had clearly been leading throughout the event and things did not change in the closing minutes - in fact they increased their lead even further. Hawick were declared the winners after covering 30 miles (48.2km) whilst Galashiels could only notch up 26 miles (41.8km). The 5pts were awarded to Hawick and they had won the competition overall. Although presenter MacDonald Hobley had stated moments earlier that the winners of this programme would be travelling to Pisa in Italy, co-presenter David Vine made a massive blooper when he stated that the winning team would be going to play in Switzerland!

Additional Information

After two consecutive weeks wherein the games had been played in torrential rain throughout, it appeared that the same was going to be true about this heat. During rehearsals earlier in the afternoon, rain had once more played havoc with the games, but fortunately shortly before the actual competition, the sun finally broke through to brighten up proceedings.

Interestingly none of the competitors in the potentially dangerous sixth game - 'Celtic Chivalry' - had safety harnesses attached and there was nothing in place on the ground should any of the competitors have fallen from the ladder. This shows that Health and Safety issues were clearly not as important back in 1967 as they are in the 21st century.

Made in B/W • This programme exists incomplete in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1967

Heat 4

Event Staged: Sunday 4th June 1967
Venue: Black Rock Lido, Brighton, East Sussex, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 4th June 1967, 4.40-5.25pm (Live)

Teams: Brighton v. Worthing

Team Members included:
Worthing -
Richard Blaydon, Martin Diplock, Peter English, Keith Hammond and Bob Rogers.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 W • Worthing
 B Brighton

9
6

Worthing qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Straubing, West Germany:
staged on Wednesday 9th August 1967

The Host Town

Brighton, East Sussex

Brighton is a large town of over 155,000 inhabitants located on the south coast of the county of East Sussex. First mentioned as Brighthelmstone in 1086, it emerged as a health resort in the mid-18th century after Lewes-based general practitioner, Dr Richard Russell began prescribing the use of sea water for drinking and bathing. From 1780 onwards, the development of the Georgian terraces grew at an astounding rate, and the fishing village became the fashionable resort of Brighton. Growth of the town was further encouraged by the patronage of the Prince Regent - later to become King George IV 1762-1830 - after his first visit in 1783. He spent much of his leisure time in the town and constructed the Indo-Saracenic influenced Royal Pavilion, under the direction of the architect John Nash, during the early part of his Regency.

 

The Royal Pavilion brings a taste of India to the south coast resort

 

After the arrival of the railway in 1841, the resort became a playground destination for London day-trippers, and is in fact known by many as London-by-the-Sea. For almost a century Brighton was quite unique on the south coast as it had two piers. The West Pier built in 1866 was classified as a Grade I listed building and was joined by the Palace Pier in 1899. However, after decades of neglect as a result of financial difficulties, the West Pier was declared unsafe and was closed to the public in 1975. For some time the pier was under consideration for restoration, but following a violent storm on 29th December 2002, which caused the dramatic collapse of the south east corner of the Concert Hall, and two fires set by arsonists in 2003, finances were withdrawn and the restoration plans being abandoned. The Volk’s Electric Railway runs along the inland edge of the beach from the existing pier to Black Rock (site of the town’s open-air lido until 1978 when it was demolished) and the Marina at the eastern end of Brighton's seafront. Created in 1883, it is the world’s oldest operating electric railway.

The Grand Hotel on the western promenade was built in 1864 and was the scene of the 1984 Brighton bombing by the Provisional Irish Republican Army’s attempt to assasinate the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. In 1997, the town was joined with nearby Hove to form the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove, which in turn was granted city status by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II as part of the millenium celebrations in 2000. Brighton has featured in a number of hit movies including Brighton Rock (1947), Genevieve (1953), Half a Sixpence (1967), Carry On At Your Convenience (1971), Carry On Girls (1973), Quadrophenia (1979), Mirror Mask (2005), The Boat That Rocked (2009) and Brighton Rock (remake) (2010). A great many television series have also visited the seaside town including the fondly remembered Public Eye, The Persuaders! and Doctor Who, shows which filmed there in 1969, 1971 and 1980 respectively.

The Venue

Black Rock Lido

The games at this heat were played at the Black Rock Lido, an outdoor swimming pool located in the Kemp Town district of Brighton at the eastern end of Madeira Drive. The pool was built in 1936 at beach level on the site of an ornamental garden and was designed in art-deco style. It measured 165ft x 60ft (50.29m x 18.29m) and held a maximum capacity of 334,000 gallons (1,518,394 litres) of ionised water.
 

The long forgotten Black Rock Lido swimming complex
on Brighton's eastern seafront

 

Black Rock marks the point where the white chalk of the South Downs meets the sea. The name is believed by many to be derived from the fact that if coal was brought through the town, they had to pay a tax on it. Black Rock, at the time, was out of town and the boats delivering the coal used to dump it here. However, the official version is that it derives from a large rock or cave that once laid at the foot of the cliff.

The people of Brighton were very proud of their beautiful pool with its prominent seashore position which led to an under-cliff walk. Gazing over the pool from the top of the cliff, many a passer-by would have been entertained by the happy, carefree spectacle below them. In 1971, a new yachting marina began to be constructed adjacent to the pool and coupled with the unpredictable British summer weather and cheap foreign package holidays, the seeds of doom were beginning to be sewn. Heavy deposits of dirt and cement dust discouraged patrons, with numbers dropping from 80,000 per year to 21,000. Cracks also appeared in the brickwork and the pool began to tilt to one side with many claiming this was the result of the marina’s construction. The pool was eventually closed in 1978 and demolished the following year - a fun-filled little paradise which has been missed ever since.

Returning Teams and Competitors

The Worthing team participated again in the programme at Cheltenham Spa in 1968 and the team was again victorious.

Made in B/W • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1967

Heat 5

Event Staged: Sunday 11th June 1967
Venue: Pittville Gardens, Cheltenham Spa, Gloucestershire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Sunday 11th June 1967, 4.40-5.25pm (Live)

Teams: Cheltenham Spa v. Leamington Spa

Team Members included:
Cheltenham Spa -
Barrie Lewis (Team Captain), Norman Allen, Susan Arkell, Maureen Christie, Lynn Davies, Tony Davies, Mary Eggleton, Heather Newman and Ron Tapsell

Games: Unknown;
Marathon: Linking the Chains.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 C • Cheltenham Spa
 L Leamington Spa

15
2

Cheltenham Spa qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Blackpool, Great Britain:
staged on Wednesday 23rd August 1967

The Host Town

Cheltenham Spa, Gloucestershire

Cheltenham Spa (more commonly known as Cheltenham) is a large spa town in Gloucestershire, located on the edge of the the Cotswold Hills, and is home to around 115,000 inhabitants.

 

Cheltenham's Neptune Fountain was built in 1893 and was
reputedly inspired by Rome's Fontana di Trevi

 

It is the home of the flagship race of British steeplechase (National Hunt) horse racing, the Gold Cup, the main event of the Cheltenham Festival staged each year in March since 1902.

The Venue

Pittville Gardens

The games at this heat were staged in Pittville Gardens located in the small suburb of Pittville in the north-east corner of the town. Joseph Pitt (1759-1842), the developer of Pittville, wanted to create a 100-acre (0.40km²) estate, with its own Pump Room, with imposing houses for the rich and famous who came to live in Cheltenham. The estate would also include beautiful landscaped gardens and various walks and rides. He envisaged Pittville as a new spa town, one which would rival Cheltenham. Development began in 1824-25, with Pitt employing local architect John Forbes, who not only designed the basic layout of the estate but was also the creator of the magnificent Pump Room situated at the northern end of the park, which opened on 20 July 1830 at a cost of over £40,000. Pittville's spa water was recommended for treating skin complaints and patients would take the waters then promenade around the pleasure gardens.
 

The magnificent Grade I listed Regency Pump Room
located in Pittville Gardens

 

The Gardens were formally opened to the public four years after Cheltenham Borough Council had bought the Pittville Estate on 25th April 1894. In 1924, the Gardens were renamed Pittville Park, although locals refuse to recognise this and today still refer to them as Pittville Gardens. The park now provides 33 hectares of parkland, including an ornamental lake with elegant bridges dating from 1827 and a boating lake, formerly known as Capper's Fish Pond. It was named after Robert Capper (1768-1851), owner of Marle Hill House, the grounds of which now constitute the western part of the Pittville Park.

The lakes were created by damming a stream known as Wyman's Brook. Like most of Cheltenham's historic parks and gardens, Pittville Park was originally enclosed by railings and was private to the residents and subscribers to the spa. A refreshment kiosk, dating from 1903, with unusual terracotta dragons on its roof, is opened in the summer months in the Long Garden, a stretch of parkland to the south of Pittville Park facing Pittville Lawn. On its place originally stood a small spa called Essex Lodge, erected in the 1820s.

The Games in Detail

Marathon - Linking the Chains

The marathon this week was a chain-linking competition. Cheltenham won by 63 links to 57, despite Leamington having a genuine blacksmith on their team!

Additional Information

The Cheltenham Spa team comprised of nineteen men and fifteen women. These included Ron Tapsell, a muscle man who stood at six-foot four inches and weighed in at sixteen-stone, Tony Davies, a lecturer in ceramics at Gloucestershire Art College and Norman Allan, a local golf professional.

Made in B/W • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

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