It's A Knockout 1971
British Domestic Series

Presenters: David Vine and Eddie Waring

Referee: Arthur Ellis

Scoregirls: Glynne Geldart, Susan Gresham and Jennifer Lowe

Production Team:
Keith Phillips
Malcolm Scrimgeour
Geoff Wilson (uncredited)

Games Designer: Stuart Furber

Engineering Manager: Geoff Lomas

Producer: Barney Colehan

Director: Ian Smith

A BBC North West Production

GB

It's A Knockout 1971

Heat 1

Event Staged: Saturday 17th April 1971
Venue: Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Wednesday 21st April 1971, 7.10-8.00pm

Weather Conditions: Overcast and Cold

Teams: Blackpool v. Colwyn Bay

Team Members included:
Blackpool
- Bob Battersby (Team Manager), John Collins (Team Coach), L Baldwin, Roy Booth, Brian Bottomley, Rosemary Boyle, Karen Buckley, A Dawson, Sylvia Dewhurst, Willie Earnshaw, John Garland, Robin Hood, Phil Hooley, R Hyde, A Lowe, A McMann, James Merridew, Alexis Morrison, Jacqueline Newman, E Randall, John Robinson, Christine Scott, Barry Shearman, Dave Shires, Anthony Smith, Mike Taylor, Hayzon Watson, Maria Yates;
Colwyn Bay -
Leslie Shepherd (Team Manager), Fred ‘Tiger’ Wilson (Team Coach) G Alsop, Jackie Anderson, Barbara Barker, A Davies, C Davies, G Dyson, Howard Ellis, Catherine Evans, K Evans, Jack Fuller, David Gathern, Dennis Griffiths, E Griffiths, Bill Gulston, Don Hanson, John Hewitt, G Hodgeson, Eric Howells, Beverley Jackson, G Jones, Janet Kersey-Brown, Ted Kersey-Brown, Tony Locket, David Mitchell, Stuart Owen, K Rice, A Roberts, J Roberts, Richard Roberts, Dai Rowlands, Pat Rushton, Vanessa Saunders, Susan Webb, J Whitehouse.

Games: The Rope Bridge, Target Bounce, Seesaw Dip, Water Trampoline, One Man in a Tub, The Death Wire, The Champagne Waitresses;
Marathon: Log Bridge Building.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 6 MAR 7
Points Scored
(Joker games shown in red)
B 0 4 2 0 0 0 3

0

C 2 0 0 2 4 2 0

2

Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
B 0 4 6 6 6 6 9

9

C 2 2 2 4 8 10 10

12

Result

 Team

Points

Final Scoreboard

1st
2nd

 C • Colwyn Bay
 B Blackpool

12
9

Colwyn Bay qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Riccione, Italy:
staged on Wednesday 9th June 1971

Blackpool qualified as the highest scoring losing team to become the hosts of
Jeux Sans Frontières
at Blackpool, Great Britain:
staged on Wednesday 18th August 1971

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.

 

The Victorian-built pier at Colwyn Bay 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 in and around the boating lake in Eirias Park (Parc Eirias in Welsh), a 50-acre (20 hectares) public park in Colwyn Bay. Whilst the park never had any fairground rides, in the 1960s it was home to a Guinness Clock. These timepieces were originally created for the Festival of Britain (1951) by the well-known Irish brewery and were larger than life clocks. Every 15 minutes, a whole host of figures and cartoon animals would appear on parade from behind the clock’s doors. In the 1970s, the park made the most of the latest craze by installing a Space Hopper arena. Visitors could choose from the standard orange hopper or the larger blue ones and bounce around to their hearts’ content.

 

The boating lake in Eirias Park during its glory days

 

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, amusements and exhibitions. Sadly, the Welsh Ffargo disappeared from service in 1988 as did the Miniature Steam Railway towards the end of the 1990s. The Pavilion along with the bandstand and boathouse with 40 boats inside were all destroyed by a fire set by arsonists in August 1984, with only the latter building being replaced. Today, the boating lake is an overgrown mess and used as a dumping ground for plastic bottles, wooden planks etc... A very sad end all around.

Situated within the park today is the Colwyn Leisure Centre, whose facilities include a six-lane 82ft (25m) 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.

The games were played in and around the boating lake in Eirias Park. Most of the equipment was recycled and utilised again the following day in similar games when the first ever It's A Cup Final Knockout was recorded.

The Games in Detail

Game 1 - The Rope Bridge

The first game - ‘The Rope Bridge’ - was played in unison over three minutes duration and featured ten competitors (seven males and three females) from each team. Whilst three of the males were standing on floating podiums in the lake, two were standing on the pathway surrounding the lake and the two were on a static podium in the middle of the lake at the other end of the 75ft (22.8m) course. On the whistle, the first of the female competitors had to put a noose, attached to the rope itself, over her body and then raise her hands and feet over the rope. The male competitors on the static podium then pulled on the rope to bring her to the far end of the course. The other male competitors had to keep the rope high enough to prevent her from going into the water and getting wet. Once she had reached the end, the rope was then pulled back to the start and the game repeated until all three females had been transported across the finishing line. If the rope was not kept high enough and the female found herself in the water, there was no penalty provided that she remained on the rope and that her feet did not touch the bottom of the lake, which incidentally was only knee-high in depth. The team completing the course in the faster time would be declared the winners.

Despite its design, the game was closely fought throughout, with Colwyn Bay having the slight edge over Blackpool from the outset. Despite the females finding themselves being pulled along the surface of the water for most of the game, none were penalised as they had kept their feet on the rope throughout. Colwyn Bay was the first to reach the end of the course and release their female from the noose after 36 seconds of elapsed time with Blackpool doing the same after 39 seconds. The second of the Colwyn Bay trio was released after 1 minute 42 seconds with Blackpool in 1 minute 44 seconds. But Colwyn Bay crossed the line with their third competitor after 2 minutes 43 seconds, three seconds ahead of Blackpool in 2 minutes 46 seconds.

The first 2pts were awarded to Colwyn Bay and they were leading Blackpool 2-0.


Marathon, Round 1 - Log Bridge Building

The Marathon - ‘Log Bridge Building’ - was played in unison over six rounds of 1 minute 30 seconds duration and featured two male competitors from each team and a partially finished floating bridge comprised of 60 logs. On the whistle, each of the competitors had to carry a log across the bridge to the end and then the first had to get into the water and start to connect the carried logs to the bridge by ropes, ensuring that they were secure. The other competitor then returned to the start to bring further logs. Once the bridge was completed with all 10 additional logs, the male competitors then had to transport female team-mates on their backs across from the static podium in the middle of the lake to the starting line. Once across, the females then ran back round the lake over a bridge to the static podium to await a second crossing. The team transporting the greater number of team-mates over the six rounds would be declared the winners.

As this game was played over six rounds, not much progress was made during the opening three, with the time being used to carry and secure the logs and lengthening the bridge.

At the end of the first round, Blackpool had transported a total of four logs to the end of the bridge whilst Colwyn Bay had transported only three. Markers were placed at the points at which the competitors were standing when the whistle was sounded, and it would be from here that the competitors would restart the game when the cameras returned.

Point to Note: The original idea was to transport the females across the bridge on a litter. However, during rehearsals this proved to be unsuccessful and the method was changed to piggy-back.


Game 2 - Target Bounce

The second game - ‘Target Bounce’ - was the first of three consecutive games to be staged on terra firma and witnessed the visiting team of Blackpool presenting its Joker for play. It was played individually over 1 minute 30 seconds duration and featured two male competitors from each team and a large target board. On the whistle, the competitors had to throw a maximum of 100 small balls and try to hit the large board, whilst two opposition members stood underneath the board in a maze of elasticated ropes holding a net. There were three ways of scoring, but the method of scoring was unusual in the fact that the score achieved would be declared as the opposition’s. Firstly, any ball that hit the board would not count towards the final score but, if it was caught in the net on the rebound by the opposition, it would. Secondly, any ball that missed the target completely and went into the crowd would be deemed as scoring. Thirdly, all balls that were not used would also count towards the final score. This meant that the teams had to be accurate and fast with their execution of the game in order to keep their rival’s score to a minimum.

The first heat saw the participation of Blackpool and their 100 balls were depleted, five seconds before the permitted time. Having missed the target with 26 of the balls and with 16 being caught in the net by the opposition, the total score awarded to Colwyn Bay was 42. The second heat saw the participation of Colwyn Bay and at the end of the game they still had 4 balls remaining in the container. Added to the 16 balls that missed the target and the 23 balls caught in the net, the score awarded to Blackpool was 43.

Having played the Joker, the 4pts were awarded to Blackpool and they were now leading Colwyn Bay 4-2.


Marathon, Round 2 - Log Bridge Building

The cameras returned to the Marathon for the second round and witnessed the two teams continue to build the bridge by extending its length. At the end of the permitted time, Blackpool had transported a total of nine logs to the end of the bridge whilst Colwyn Bay had transported eight logs. Markers were once again placed at the points that the competitors were when the whistle sounded.


Game 3 - Seesaw Dip

The third game - ‘Seesaw Dip’ - was played individually over two minutes duration and featured two female competitors from each team and a large seesaw overhanging the edge of the lake. One end of the seesaw was of normal width whilst the other end was just 2¼ inches (5.7cm) wide. On the whistle, one of the females stood on the wide end of the seesaw whilst her team-mate had to walk along to the narrower end. Once she had reached the end, her team-mate had to counterbalance her weight so that she could retrieve a football which was floating in the lake below. Once she had a ball she then had to return to the wider end, still counterbalancing each other, and then place the ball in a wooden holding pen. The competitors then swapped roles and this would continue until the end of the game. The team collecting the greater number of balls would be declared the winners.

The first heat saw the participation of Colwyn Bay and on their first run the competitor collecting the ball made an error, which fortunately did not affect the overall outcome of the competition, but one which cost the team a point on the game. After collecting the ball successfully and returning to the start, she threw the ball back into the lake instead of placing it in the wooden pen. Referee Arthur Ellis explained that the competitors had been told that they had to use the pen and therefore did not count the run. With a successful second run and running out of time during the third, the score for Colwyn Bay was declared as just 1 ball. The second heat saw the participation of Blackpool and, despite the second of the competitors falling into the water on her first run, the team made two successful runs in total before running out of time on the third.

The 2pts were awarded to Blackpool and they were now leading Colwyn Bay 6-2.


Marathon, Round 3 - Log Bridge Building

The third round of the Marathon witnessed the final logs being transported to the end of the bridge by both teams and the ends of the ropes secured before the permitted time elapsed.


Game 4 - Water Trampoline

The fourth game - ‘Water Trampoline’ - was played individually over two minutes duration and featured two male competitors from each team and a trampoline above which there was a large hook hanging from a wire. On the whistle, a female assistant handed a bucket of water to the competitor on the trampoline and he had to bounce up and place the handle of the bucket over the hook. Once he had accomplished this, the other competitor pulled on a rope to counteract a weight which was holding the hook in place, and this resulted in the hook descending towards him. Once the bucket was in grabbing distance, he removed it and then released the rope which sent the hook back above the trampoline. Whilst he emptied the contents of the bucket into a large container on a set of industrial weighing scales, the game was repeated by the other competitor. The team collecting the greater amount of water would be declared the winners.

The first heat of this straightforward game saw the participation of Colwyn Bay and it at first appeared that the team would be slightly handicapped as their competitor on the trampoline had one of his arms in plaster, the result of an accident whereby he had fallen through a kitchen window after a drinking bout. Despite this incapacity, the team transported 7 buckets and collected a total of 46lbs (20.9kg) of water. The second heat saw the participation of Blackpool and their competitor could be seen spilling copious amounts of water during the early stages of the game as he was placing the buckets over the hook. At the end of the game, the team had also transported 7 buckets but only collected a total of 37lbs (16.8kg) of water.

The 2pts were awarded to Colwyn Bay and they were now trailing Blackpool 6-4.


Marathon, Round 4 - Log Bridge Building

The cameras returned to the Marathon to witness the fourth round and would see the real battle commence. Both teams struggled to transport their female team-mates across as the additional weight on their backs saw the floating bridge sink to the bottom of the lake. Nevertheless, at the end of this round, Blackpool had transported 3 team-mates and Colwyn Bay had transported 2 team-mates.


Game 5 - One Man in a Tub

The fifth game - ‘One Man in a Tub’ - was the first of three consecutive games to be played on the lake. It was played in unison and witnessed the Blackpool team presenting its Joker for play. It featured two competitors (one male and one female) from each team and a large tub. On the whistle, the male competitor, who was inside the tub at the start of the game, had to paddle his way out to his team-mate who was standing on a floating podium, 85ft (25.9m) out from the lake’s edge. Once he had reached the podium, the female climbed inside the tub and they both paddled back to the start. The team completing the game in the faster time would be declared the winners.

From the outset, it was a close race with Blackpool reaching the podium first in 32 seconds. Although Colwyn Bay were five seconds behind at this point, the Blackpool duo were less adept at paddling together than their rivals. The Colwyn Bay team began to pick up rhythm and speed and overtook Blackpool and finished the game in 1 minute 10 seconds with the Blackpool team finally finishing in 1 minute 28 seconds.

Having played the Joker, the 4pts were awarded to Colwyn Bay and they were now leading Blackpool 8-6.


Marathon, Round 5 - Log Bridge Building

The fifth and penultimate round of the Marathon saw the competitors begin at the exact point they had reached at the end of the previous one. At the end of this round, Colwyn Bay had closed the deficit and both teams had now transported 6 team-mates in total. However, Blackpool appeared to have the slight advantage, as they had almost completed their seventh trip before the whistle was sounded and this held them in good stead for the next round.


Game 6 - The Death Wire

The sixth and penultimate game - ‘The Death Wire’ - was played individually over 2 minutes 30 seconds duration and featured five male competitors from each team standing on a 30ft (9.15m) high scaffold tower. Descending to the ground from the tower at a 60° angle, there was a zip wire which had a handle grip on a pulley wheel attached and halfway across the pool there was a floating podium. On the whistle, the first competitor had to descend the wire by hanging from the handle grip and drop onto the podium. The handle grip was then retrieved by an attached rope and pulled back to the top of the scaffold. This process was then repeated by second competitor until all five of the team were on the podium. Any competitor that failed to drop onto the podium would have to return to the scaffold and repeat the game. The team completing the game in the faster time would be declared the winners.

The first heat saw the participation of Blackpool and the first two competitors descended the wire successfully but on the third descent, the team had failed to ensure that the rope attached to the handle grip had been kept taut and this resulted in the pulley wheel jamming halfway between the top and the podium. So as not to delay the game, the competitor dropped into the water and returned to the scaffold. The team were delayed whilst they untangled the rope and pulled the wheel back to the top but the next competitor made a successful descent. With the final two competitors also making successful descents, the team finished the game in 2 minutes 28 seconds, but the earlier delay was to prove their downfall. The second heat saw the participation of Colwyn Bay and the team, having observed the problem encountered by Blackpool, ensured that the rope was kept taut and away from the wire. This was to prove advantageous to the home team and they completed the game without mishap in 2 minutes 2 seconds.

The 2pts were awarded to Colwyn Bay and they were now leading Blackpool 10-6.


Marathon, Round 6 - Log Bridge Building

The cameras returned to the Marathon for the sixth and final round and Blackpool took full advantage of their starting position and increased their score within seconds of the starting whistle. At the end of the game Blackpool had transported a total of 10 team-mates across the bridge whilst Colwyn Bay had only transported 8 team-mates across.

The 3pts were awarded to Blackpool and they were now trailing Colwyn Bay 10-9.


Game 7 - Stretchers Across the Pontoon

The seventh and final game - ‘The Champagne Waitresses’ - was played in unison and featured four competitors (two males and two females) from each team in two dinghies on the lake. Above the 150ft (45.7m) course, there were four large rings hanging from a wire which spanned the lake and one of the females was armed with a tray with two champagne bottles and six glasses. On the whistle, the male competitors had to row the dinghies towards the centre of the course in order for the tray to be passed through the ring to the other female. Once accomplished, the dinghies were then rowed to the next ring and the game repeated. Once all four rings had been negotiated, the dinghies had to be rowed to the end of the course and the female disembark and place the tray and all its contents on a podium. All items had to be intact before a finishing time was achieved. The team completing the game in the faster time would be declared the winners.

Within a few seconds of the starting whistle being sounded, the Blackpool team found itself in trouble after the contents of the tray fell into the water as the females passed the tray to each other. However, although the items fell into the water, none of them had actually been passed through the ring. The team recomposed itself but only retrieved four glasses, instead of the six, before moving on to the second ring. Contemporaneously, the Colwyn Bay team had already reached and successfully passed their tray through the second ring. The home team were to hold the lead and finished the game in 1 minute 32 seconds. The game was permitted to be played out and Blackpool finished in 1 minute 51 seconds. Before announcing the result, referee Arthur Ellis delivered a blow to the Blackpool team and stated that they had been disqualified as they had failed to pass the tray through the first hoop once it had recomposed itself and that they had also not delivered all the 8 items to the podium.

The final 2pts were awarded to Colwyn Bay and the final scoreboard showed that they had beaten Blackpool by 12-9.

Point to Note: Referee Arthur Ellis was incorrectly informed of the finishing time of the Colwyn Bay team by scoregirl, Jennifer Lowe. Although the team had actually finished in 1 minute 32 seconds, he declared their time as 1 minute 36 seconds. However, this error did not make any difference as Blackpool had already been disqualified by this point.

Returning Teams and Competitors

Blackpool team member Barry Shearman (later to become professional wrestler, Rex Strong) had previously participated for the Shrewsbury team in the 1969 International Final. He also played the Blackpool Joker - in the guise of Rex Strong - when Blackpool participated in the 1981 series.

Blackpool team manager Bob Battersby would return five years later as team captain when the town participated in the 1976 series.

Colwyn Bay team member Barbara Barker, who walked the seesaw in Game 3, had previously competed for Rhyl in the 1970 series.

Additional Information

In his opening introductions, presenter David Vine made a blooper by informing viewers that this was the first of the qualifying heats for Jeux Sans Frontières and that in Europe the other six countries were staging similar competitions to decide their representatives. This in fact was incorrect, as West Germany (Spiel Ohne Grenzen) and Netherlands (Zeskamp) were the only other two that actually did this. The representatives from the other four countries were chosen purely from a location and suitability basis by their respective TV broadcasters!

The team colours at this heat were quite unique for two reasons. Firstly, Blackpool chose to adopt the colours of its local football team and played in tangerine and white, a colour scheme that was not to be repeated by a Domestic team again. Secondly, Colwyn Bay adopted two different colour schemes - the male competitors were attired in white tops and black shorts whilst the female competitors were attired in an all-blue outfit!

Eagle-eyed viewers would see future It’s a Knockout director and producer Geoff Wilson making an early appearance as a member of the production team. Geoff can be seen giving directions to and also assisting the teams throughout the programme.

Although all the other countries had decided the venue for their International Heats at this point, West German television had still not confirmed. This was apparent from what was displayed on the right-hand side of the scoreboard at the end of the programme when presenter David Vine placed the name of Colwyn Bay in the appropriate place as the winners of this heat. Whilst all the names of the other six venues were clearly displayed, there was a blank space for the West German venue!

This was the second occasion that this venue had been used to stage the contest. It also hosted It's A Knockout during the 1967 series.

The production crew and presenters spent the whole weekend of 17th to 18th April 1971 in Colwyn Bay, recording this Domestic Heat on the Saturday and staging the 1971 It's A Cup Final Knockout (to be aired on Saturday 8th May) on the Sunday.

So as to avoid confusion, it should be pointed out that the Anthony Smith who played for Blackpool in 1971 is not the Tony Smith that later played for St. Albans and Stevenage between 1977-1979 and went on to be employed as Course Referee by Ronin Entertainment for the 1999-2000 It's A Knockout series.

Made in Colour • This programme exists in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1971

Heat 2

Event Staged: Sunday 25th April 1971
Venue: Barrow Park, Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Wednesday 28th April 1971, 7.10-8.00pm

Teams: Barrow-in-Furness v. Kendal

Team Members included:
Kendal - Tony Gill (Team Coach), John Bell, James Blacow, Frazer Broomby, Joan Brown, Alan Campbell, Hilary Campbell, Brian Cox, Peter Greenbank, Malcolm Hendrie, Judith Houghton, Colin Hunter, George Inchmore, Jean Malkin, Terence O'Laughlin, Sheila Proctor, George Rigg, Beryl Smith, Clive Wilson, George Wilson, Marjorie Wilkinson and Bob Bethell (Reserve).

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 K • Kendal
 B Barrow-in-Furness

13
6

Kendal qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Solothurn, Switzerland:
staged on Wednesday 23rd June 1971

The Host Town

Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire

Barrow-in-Furness is a town with a population of around 58,000 inhabitants located on the Irish Sea in the county of Cumbria. It lies 49 miles (79km) north of Liverpool, 51½ miles (83km) east of Douglas on the Isle of Man, 55¼ miles (89km) south of Carlisle and 114¼ miles (184km) west of Scarborough. The town is sheltered from the Irish Sea by the crescentic Walney Island, a 14 mile (22.5 km) long island connected to the mainland by the bascule type Jubilee Bridge and which is home to 11,000 of the town’s population.

During the Middle Ages, the Furness peninsula was controlled by the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of St Mary of Furness, known as Furness Abbey. Originally founded for the Savigniac order, it was built on the orders of King Stephen (1092-1154) in 1123. Soon after the abbey's foundation, the monks discovered iron ore deposits, later to prove the basis for the Furness economy. These thin strata, close to the surface, were extracted through open cut workings, which were then smelted by the monks. The proceeds from mining, along with agriculture and fisheries, meant that by the 15th century, the abbey had become the second richest and most powerful Cistercian abbey in England, after Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire.

 

The ruins of Furness Abbey lay testament to the town's early mining trade

 

In 1839, Henry Schneider (1817-1887) arrived as a young speculator and dealer in iron, and he discovered large deposits of haematite in 1850. He and other investors founded the Furness Railway, the first section of which opened in 1846 to transport the ore from the slate quarries at Kirkby-in-Furness and haematite mines at Lindal-in-Furness to a deep water harbour near Roa Island. The docks, built between 1863 and 1881 in the more sheltered channel between the mainland and Barrow Island, replaced the port at Roa Island. The first dock to open was Devonshire Dock in 1867 and Prime Minister William Gladstone (1809-1898) stated his belief that 'Barrow would become another Liverpool'. The increasing quantities of iron ore mined in Furness were then brought into the centre of Barrow to be transported by sea.

The sheltered strait between Barrow and Walney Island was an ideal location for the shipyard. The first ship to be built, Jane Roper, was launched in 1852; the first steamship, a 3,000-ton liner named Duke of Devonshire, in 1873. Shipbuilding activity increased, and on 18th February 1871, the Barrow Shipbuilding Company was incorporated. However, the company was taken over by the Sheffield steel firm of Vickers in 1897, by which time the shipyard had surpassed the railway and steelworks as the largest employer and landowner in Barrow. During these boom years, a planned town to accommodate the large workforce was proposed and in 1901, the company constructed Vickerstown, modelled on the one at Bournville in Birmingham by George Cadbury (1839-1922), on the adjacent Walney Island to house its employees.

Barrow's population reached a peak of 77,900 in 1951, by which time the long decline of mining and steel-making, as a result of overseas competition and dwindling resources, had already begun. The Barrow ironworks closed in 1963, three years after the last Furness mine shut. The small steelworks followed suit in 1983, leaving Barrow's shipyard as the town's principal industry. By the 1890s, the shipyard was heavily engaged in the construction of warships for the Royal Navy and also for export. The Royal Navy's first submarine, Holland 1, was built in 1901, and by 1914, the UK had the most advanced submarine fleet in the world, with 94% of it constructed by Vickers. The end of the Cold War in 1991 marked a reduction in the demand for military ships and submarines, and the town continued its decline. The shipyard's dependency on military contracts at the expense of civilian and commercial engineering and shipbuilding meant it was particularly hard hit as government defence spending was reduced dramatically.

Two interesting points are that the town’s most famous son is Emlyn Hughes (1947-2004) who captained both Liverpool and England football teams and in 2014, the town was voted the 'least happiest' area to live in Britain, after a survey was carried out by the Office of National Statistics!

Although now located in the county of Cumbria, following the complete redistribution of county boundaries under the Local Government Act 1972 (which took effect in April 1974), Barrow-in Furness was at the time of this recording located in the county of Lancashire.

The Venue

Barrow Park

The games were played in Barrow Park, located in the Parkside area of the town. Set in 45 acres (0.18 km²), it was designed by landscape gardener Thomas Mawson (1861-1933) in 1908 and was constructed in stages over the following two decades. Originally sited on the outskirts of Barrow, the park is now more or less central due to rapid growth of the town northwards during the early 20th century.

The park, whose motto is ‘Always something going on, always something growing on!’, contains a miniature railway, skate park, various playgrounds and The Park Leisure Centre - a multi-functional leisure facility comprising two large swimming pools, a gym, exercise studios and a sports hall. Large sections were redeveloped in 2005 to include a new pavilion, café, bandstand and display glasshouse. It is also home to a large boating lake on which the recreational sport of zorbing - rolling inside a transparent plastic orb - takes place.

 

The bandstand in Barrow Park as seen from the steps
leading down from the Cenotaph

 

The most iconic feature of Barrow Park is the town's principal cenotaph which commemorates almost 900 Barrovians who lost their lives in various wars. The memorial is located at the highest point of the park on the site of a late Bronze Age fort and offers 360° views of the town.

The park is renowned for its abundance of trees and ornamental flower beds and won a Landscape Institute Award in 2007 for Heritage and Conservation, has been awarded Green Flag status and was also the North West Regional Winner of the Briggs and Stratton ‘Britain's Best Park’ Competition in 2008.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1971

Heat 3

Event Staged: Sunday 2nd May 1971
Venue: Tewkesbury Abbey Grounds, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Wednesday 5th May 1971, 7.10-8.00pm

Teams: Hereford v. Tewkesbury

Team Members included:
Tewkesbury -
Ian Rodger.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 T • Tewkesbury
 H Hereford

11
8

Tewkesbury qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Rotterdam, Netherlands:
staged on Wednesday 7th July 1971

The Host Town

Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

Tewkesbury is a town with a population of around 11,000 inhabitants and lies on the River Avon near to its confluence with the larger River Severn. It is located 41½ miles (67km) north-east of Bristol, 86 miles (138.5km) east of Aberystwyth, 93 miles (149km) north-west of London and 103 miles (166km) south of Manchester. The name Tewkesbury comes from Theoc, the name of a Saxon who founded a hermitage there in the 7th century. In the Old English tongue the town was called Theocsbury.

The town has a character all of its own and features many notable Tudor buildings and is one of the few places in the Cotswold area where you will see black and white half-timbered buildings. In fact, there are almost 400 listed buildings in the town and this makes it very popular with visitors. The beautiful Norman abbey, built in the early 12th century, dominates the town and was originally part of a monastery. The Abbey Mill still remains, resting upon the Mill Avon, a channel built by the monks. The weir exists to this day, and the channel represents one of the biggest projects in Tewkesbury's history, though the present sluice gate dates only from the 1990s, replacing two installed in the 1930s.

 

The Mill Avon weir at Tewkesbury marks the western limit of the town

 

The Abbey Cottages, over 500 years old, were rescued from dereliction in the 1970s - one houses a museum, the others are residential homes and commercial offices. The local branch of Store Twenty-One (formerly Marks & Spencer and before that Iceland) was once the location of the Swan Hotel, where a balcony still exists today and from which local election results were announced.

In the past, the locals have turned their hand to many industries. Brewing and malting, pin making, boat building and the framework knitting of stockings were at one time major industries. One of the specialities of the town is Tewkesbury mustard, a creamy blend of mustard and horseradish. It made the town famous in the 17th century and is once again being manufactured. The mustard was mentioned in some of Shakespeare's works - In Henry IV Part II, the character of Falstaff has the line ‘Wit as thick as Tewkesbury Mustard’.

Tewkesbury has something to offer everyone from great local food dining in many of the cafes, bistros or pubs, excellent shopping at a range of independent shops, to accommodation at a variety of places to suit everyone’s needs. In October, the town holds the annual mop fair. Originally a hiring fair where people came to seek employment, the event is now a large travelling funfair taking over much of the centre of town. The fair itself is also an underlining point of Tewkesbury's industrial past.

As well as being the birthplace of Anna Ford, ITV’s first female newsreader, in October 1943, Tewkesbury will always be remembered in the entertainment world for the last appearance of comedian Eric Morecambe (1926-1984). After six curtain calls at the Roses Theatre, Morecambe stepped into the wings and then collapsed after suffering his third heart attack. He was rushed to Cheltenham General Hospital, where he died just before 4.00am on Monday 28th May 1984.

The Venue

Tewkesbury Abbey Grounds

The games were played in the grounds of the town’s Norman Abbey which was originally part of a Benedictine monastery. It was saved from the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536-1541) ordered by King Henry VIII (1491-1547) by the people of Tewkesbury. Insisting that it was their parish church which they had the right to keep, they bought it from the Crown for the sum of £483 - being the value of its bells and lead roof which would have been salvaged and melted down. Most of the monastery buildings, as well as the vineyards, were destroyed during this time.

The present abbey was founded in 1092 by Robert Fitzhamon (1045-1107), cousin to William the Conqueror (1028-1087), with Giraldus, Abbot of Cranborne. However, building did not start until 1102, employing Caen stone imported from Normandy and floated up the Severn. The central stone tower was originally topped with a wooden spire, which collapsed in 1559 and was never rebuilt. Some restoration undertaken in the 19th century under Sir Gilbert Scott (1811-1878) included the rood screen that replaced the one removed when the Abbey became a parish church.

 

The south-east facing side of Tewkesbury Abbey
overlooks the games arena (foreground)

 

It is thought to be the third largest church in Britain that is not a cathedral (after Westminster Abbey and Beverley Minster). From end to end it measures 331ft (101m), though prior to the destruction of the original Lady Chapel (also at the time of the dissolution), the total length was 375ft (114m). The abbey, known locally as the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, is still used for daily services, and is believed to be the second-largest parish church in England, again, after Beverley Minster.

On 4th May 1471, the fields to the south saw the penultimate and decisive battle in the Wars of the Roses (sporadically fought between 1455 and 1487). In July of each year, the town hosts the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, promoted as ‘Europe's largest battle re-enactment and fair’. Thousands travel to the town from around the world to re-enact the Battle of Tewkesbury near to the original battle site. The festival includes a ‘living history’ recreation of a medieval encampment, games, food and a large fair where re-enactment clothing, furniture and weaponry can be purchased. In 2015, the festival celebrated its 33rd anniversary.

The Abbey hit the headlines in July 2007, when intense rainfall left the 900-year old building and its grounds completely surrounded by water, threatening to flood the Abbey itself. The town, which stands at the confluence of the River Severn and the River Avon, suffered from some of the worst flooding in recorded British history when both rivers were overwhelmed by the volume of rain (up to 5 inches (130mm) in five days) that fell in the surrounding areas.

Returning Teams and Competitors

Tewkesbury team member Ian Rodger had previously participated in the programme as a member of the Cheltenham Spa team in 1968. He would go on to compete for the successful Ely team in 1973.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1971

Heat 4

Event Staged: Sunday 9th May 1971
Venue: St Ninian's Park, Prestwick, Ayrshire, Scotland

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Wednesday 12th May 1971, 7.10-8.00pm

Teams: Falkirk v. Prestwick

Team Members included:
Prestwick -
Johnny Hubbard (Team Coach), Jim Innes (Team Manager), Hugh Alexander, Ann Beaton, Bill Collin, John Colville, Jim Doolan, Jim Ferguson, Jim Fields, Laurence 'Laurie' Hood, Linda Hubbard, Donald McKechnie, Brian Morrison, Brian Picken, Pat Slessor and Morag Thow.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 P • Prestwick
 F Falkirk

14
5

Prestwick qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Vichy, France:
staged on Wednesday 21st July 1971

The Host Town

Prestwick, Ayrshire

Prestwick is a town with a population of around 16,000 inhabitants and has a coastline on the Firth of Clyde (part of the Irish Sea). It is located 29 miles (47km) south-west of Glasgow, 78 miles (126km) north-east of Carlisle, 103 miles (166km) west of Berwick-upon-Tweed. It adjoins the larger town of Ayr, the centre of which is 2 miles (3km) south and the two are separated by the River Ayr which empties out into the Firth of Clyde at this point.

 

Aerial view of Prestwick airport which bore witness to a
very famous singer's stop-over in 1960

 

Prestwick is Scotland's oldest baronial burgh, dating back over a thousand years. It’s name derives from the Old English for ‘priest's farm’ - preost meaning ‘priest’ and wic meaning ‘farm’ - and was originally an outlying farm of a religious house. Robert the Bruce (1274-1329) is reputed to have drunk water from the well at St. Ninian’s church and been cured of leprosy. The well bearing his name - Bruce’s Well - still exists behind the church.

Although a burgh, it remained a village until the railway arrived in the 1840s and the middle class from Glasgow started to build large houses along the coast. The remains of the old parish church are located near the town’s railway station. Thought to have originally been built in the 12th century, the small church building is now a ruin, and is surrounded by an ancient graveyard. Andrew Strath (1837-1868), a Scottish professional golfer and known as the ‘Keeper of the Green’ at Prestwick Golf Club in the 1860s, is buried in the cemetery. The Prestwick Old Course hosted the first Open Golf Championship in 1860. The first twelve Open Championships were played there, from 1860 to 1872. (except for 1871, when the Championship was not played).

The town has a one mile (1.6km) long esplanade alongside Prestwick Bay, which has two children's playgrounds. At the north end, Kid'zplay, an indoor activity centre, can be found next to the large play-area that was formerly a large open air swimming pool. Running parallel to the esplanade is a line of large houses which overlooks the Isle of Arran, 19 miles (30km) in the distance.

Glasgow Prestwick International Airport, formerly Prestwick International Airport, opened in 1934, mainly as a training airfield. It expanded over the years, as for some time, it was the only Scottish airport allowed to operate Transatlantic flights, due to it being on the coast with rarely any fog. The United States Air Force had a base there from 1952-1966, and British Airways used the long runway at Prestwick for training Concorde pilots. The supersonic aircraft would fly round all day, just touching the runway then taking off again. People in cars would line the roads watching this amazing sight, but nobody realised then, just how special it was, as there are no such aircraft in service today, and unlikely to be for some time. Though a period of sharp decline in the 1980s and 1990s saw it lose its status as Scotland's primary transatlantic airport, Prestwick continues to handle many US military flights and is the main Scottish hub for Irish budget airline Ryanair.

The airport’s main claim to fame is witnessing Elvis Presley’s only visit to the UK on 3rd March 1960, but he only used the airport to change flights. Elvis was finishing his American army national service and stopped over in Ayrshire for a precious two hours. Despite a massive security clampdown, the news leaked out that a mystery V.I.P. was flying in ... and when Sgt. Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-1977) stepped off the plane, local fans rushed to greet him. Without the restraining influence of aides and his personal manager, 'Colonel' Tom Parker (1909-1997), the star felt relaxed enough to mix with them.

The Venue

St. Ninian's Park

The games were played at St. Ninian's Park (more commonly known locally as The Oval), a public park located in the centre of the town.

 

St. Ninian's Park (The Oval) with the football pavilion to the right

 

The park was gifted to the town in 1954 on a site previously occupied by farmland. It comprises two full size football pitches with indoor changing rooms, a tennis centre with three indoor and eight outdoor courts, an 82ft (25m) indoor swimming pool and gym, indoor bowling green and cricket club.

Returning Teams and Competitors

Prestwick team members Laurence 'Laurie' Hood and Brian Picken participated again in 1975 as members of the Ayr team.

Additional Information

The Prestwick team coach Johnny Hubbard, was a retired South African footballer who had spent the majority of his playing career at Rangers Football Club, a team he joined in 1949. During his tenure at Rangers, he made 238 appearances for the club and scored 106 goals. His speciality was penalty taking, scoring 65 penalties for Rangers and missing only three. At one point, he converted twenty-two consecutive penalties and came to be nicknamed "Penalty King". Released by Rangers in 1959, Johnny then ventured south of the border to play for the English League club Bury for three seasons, before returning to Scotland in 1962 to see out the last years of his playing days at Ayr United. After retiring in 1964, Johnny became a PE teacher, a position he held when coaching the Prestwick It's A Knockout team.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1971

Heat 5

Event Staged: Sunday 16th May 1971
Venue: Arbourthorne Playing Fields, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Wednesday 19th May 1971, 7.10-8.00pm

Free Gift from JSFnetGB!
Download the Original Souvenir Programme from this event (PDF)

Kindly donated by Andy Geneux

Teams: Scunthorpe v. Sheffield

Team Members (Full Squads):
Scunthorpe
- Peter Wigley (Team Manager), Malcolm Douthwaite (Team Coach), Albert Bettison, Kenneth Booth, Richard Booth, Anne Burdett, Jeffrey Burdett, Alistair Codona, Diane Creswick, Jane Elliott, Betty Ellis, Tony Evans, David Ford, Christopher Gillott, Peter Glover, Malcolm Grace, Brian Harney, Pat Jarvis, Andrew Kress, Geoffrey Mawson, Susan Naylor, David Oldfield, Nicholas Pearson, Nigel Pearson, Leon Pedryc, David Pilmore, Zenka Pryor, Bradley Richardson, Alan Rodgers, Alan Stevenson, Peter Swift, Margaret Toyne;
Sheffield -
Alastair C. Lister (Team Manager), John Kitson (Team Coach), Lesley Barclay, Keith Barker, Gethyn Baynham, Tony Coney, Alan Cooper, Philip Dudson, Ken Fairey, Marion Gill, David Hardy, Harry Hardy, Tony Havercroft, Martin Hopley, Margaret Kelsey, Janet Leather, Luciano Lissiak, James Longley, Peter Newbury, Malcolm Nicklen, Catherine Pattison, Alan Pickwell, Robert Pogson, Robert Powell, Peter Seaman, Brian Sheppard, Stuart Shirley, Stella Walker, Michael Wall, Frank West, Alan Wilson, Bob York.

Games (Official Titles): Barrow and Brick Race, Mattress Race, Tipping Truck, Stretcher and Bucket Race, Football Game, Tin Stacking Race, Water Slide;
Marathon: Water Trapeze.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 MAR
Points Scored
(Joker games shown in red)
SC 0 0 2 4 0 2 2

3

SH 2 4 0 0 2 0 0

0

Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
SC 0 0 2 6 6 8 10

13

SH 2 6 6 6 8 8 8

8

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 SC • Scunthorpe
 SH Sheffield

13
8

Scunthorpe qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Offenburg, West Germany:
staged on Wednesday 4th August 1971

The Host Town

Sheffield, Yorkshire

Sheffield, with a population of around 565,000 inhabitants, is located 58½ miles (94km) west of Grimsby, 63 miles (101km) east of Liverpool, 111 miles (179km) south of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and 113 miles (182km) north of Oxford. It is a city which dates back to around the 8th century and is renowned for its steel industry. By 1296, a market had been established at what is now known as Castle Square, and Sheffield subsequently grew into a small market town. In the 14th century, Sheffield was already noted for the production of knives, as mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and by the early 1600s it had become the main centre of cutlery manufacture in England outside London.

During the 1740s, a form of the crucible steel process was discovered that allowed the manufacture of a better quality of steel than had previously been possible. In about the same period, a technique was developed for fusing a thin sheet of silver onto a copper ingot to produce silver plating, which became widely known as Sheffield plate. These innovations spurred Sheffield's growth as an industrial town, but the loss of some important export markets led to a recession in the late 18th and early 19th century. The resulting poor conditions culminated in a cholera epidemic that killed 402 people in 1832. The town was incorporated as a borough in 1842 and was granted a city charter in 1893. The influx of people led to demand for better water supplies, and a number of new reservoirs were constructed on the outskirts of the town. The collapse of the dam wall of one of these reservoirs in 1864 resulted in the Great Sheffield Flood, which killed 270 people and devastated large parts of the town.

In the 1950s and 1960s, many of the city's slums were demolished, and replaced with housing schemes such as the Park Hill Estate. Large parts of the city centre were also cleared to make way for a new system of roads. Increased automation and competition from abroad resulted in the closure of many steel mills. The 1980s saw the worst of this run-down of Sheffield's industries, along with those of many other areas of the UK. The building of the Meadowhall Centre on the site of a former steelworks in 1990 was a mixed blessing, creating much needed jobs but hastening the decline of the city centre.

 

Sheffield’s magnificent Gothic-style City Hall was built between 1890 and 1897

 

One of the most prominent buildings in Sheffield is the City Hall, which is an example of Victoria era Gothic revival architecture. It was constructed over a seven-year period from 1890 to 1897, opening on 21st May 1897. The current building is Sheffield's fourth city hall and was designed by the London-based architect Edward Mountford (1855-1908). The design of the exterior echoed the architecture of the adjacent St. Paul's Church of 1720 (now demolished). During construction, the building was criticised for its expensive embellishments. The exterior is built of Stoke stone from the Stoke Hall Quarry in Derbyshire and is decorated with carvings by sculptor Frederick Pomeroy (1856-1924). The friezes depict the industries of Sheffield, and the 210ft (64m) high clock-tower is surmounted by a statue of Vulcan.

Roughly a third of Sheffield lies in the Peak District National Park and is one of only two English cities which include parts of a National Park within its boundary. The other is Brighton and Hove with parts of its boundaries within the South Downs National Park - created in March 2010. Estimated to contain over two million trees, Sheffield has more trees per person than any other city in Europe, and according to Sheffield City Council, it is England's greenest city, a claim that was reinforced when it won the 2005 Entente Florale competition.

The city has been home to several well-known bands and musicians which include The Human League, Heaven 17, ABC, Joe Cocker (1944-2014), Def Leppard, Arctic Monkeys and Pulp. It even has its own Sheffield Walk of Fame in the city centre honouring famous Sheffield residents, past and present, in a similar way to the Hollywood version. Sheffield also has close ties with snooker, with the city's Crucible Theatre being the venue for the annual World Snooker Championships since 1977.

Although Sheffield has two professional football clubs - Sheffield United, known as The Blades, and Sheffield Wednesday, known as The Owls - the city has two other clubs. Sheffield F.C. is the world’s oldest club and was formed in 1857 by a collective of cricketers. Hallam F.C., which is the world’s second oldest football club, plays its home matches on the world's oldest football ground in the suburb of Crosspool. On 15th April 1989, Hillsborough Stadium, home to Sheffield Wednesday, was witness to what has become known as The Hillsborough Disaster. A human crush that caused the deaths of 96 people and injured 766 others, at a match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest resulted in the elimination of standing terraces at all major football stadiums in England, Wales and Scotland. It remains the worst stadium-related disaster in English sports history, and one of the world's worst football disasters.

Although now located in the county of South Yorkshire, following the complete redistribution of county boundaries under the Local Government Act 1972 (which took effect in April 1974), Sheffield was at the time of this recording located in the combined county of Yorkshire.

The Venue

Arbourthorne Playing Fields

The games were played on playing fields located out of the main city centre in the suburb of Arbourthorne. Very little is known about the venue except that it was part of large open grassland on the Arbourthorne Estate.

 

Arbourthorne Playing Fields looking north towards the city centre

 

The northern edge of the fields is open but it ends in a steep bank which drops down towards Park Grange Road and overlooks the Norfolk Park Estate. This gives a good panoramic view of the city centre beyond. The land still lies undeveloped and the reason for this is probably due to an underlying stream which runs down to the Jervis Lum Woodlands, part of the city’s largest park, Norfolk Heritage Park.

Media Attention

This edition was reported as being attended by 50,000 people by the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph, the second highest attendance at that point for It's A Knockout. Part of the appeal was that Sheffield were out for revenge following Sheffield Wednesday's exit from the 1970 FA Cup competition at Scunthorpe's hands.

Additional Information

The final marathon in which Scunthorpe competed was delayed by a disturbance emanating from supporters of the Sheffield team near to the location of the equipment. It was decided that the final game would be played prematurely as it was located a distance away from the trouble whilst police and stewards in attendance calmed the crowd.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1971

Heat 6

Event Staged: Sunday 23rd May 1971
Venue: Mansel Park, Southampton, Hampshire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Wednesday 26th May 1971, 7.10-8.00pm

Teams: Bournemouth v. Southampton

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 B • Bournemouth
 S Southampton

12
8

Bournemouth qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Oostende, Belgium:
staged on Wednesday 1st September 1971

The Host Town

Southampton, Hampshire

Southampton, with a population of around 255,000 inhabitants, is a major port and the largest city in Hampshire, located 11 miles (18km) north of Cowes on the Isle of Wight, 19 miles (30km) north-west of Portsmouth, 25 miles (40km) north-east of Bournemouth and 75 miles (121km) south-west of London. It lies at the northern-most point of Southampton Water - a drowned river valley (ria) formed at the end of the last Ice Age - at the confluence of the River Test and River Itchen, with the River Hamble joining to the south of the urban area. The city's name is sometimes abbreviated in writing to ‘Soton’, and a resident of Southampton is called a Sotonian.

Archaeological finds suggest that the area around Southampton has been inhabited since the Stone Age. Following the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43 and the conquering of the local Britons in AD 70, the fortress settlement of Clausentum was established. The site is believed to be located in Bitterne, which is now a suburb of Southampton. The Anglo-Saxons formed a new, larger, settlement across the River Itchen and centred on what is now the St. Mary's area of the city. The settlement was known as Hamwic, which evolved into Hamtun and then Hampton. It is from this town that the county of Hampshire gets its name. Viking raids from AD 840 onwards contributed to the decline of Hamwic in the 9th century, and by the 10th century, a fortified settlement which became medieval Southampton, had been established.

 

The luxury Cunard liner Queen Mary 2 in Southampton
before setting sail on another world cruise

 

Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, Southampton became the major port of transit between the then capital of England, Winchester, and Normandy. Southampton Castle was built in the 12th century and by the 13th century, Southampton had become a leading port, particularly involved in the import of French wine in exchange for English cloth and wool. In 1348, the Black Death reached England via merchant vessels calling at Southampton. The town was sacked in 1338 by French, Genoese and Monegasque ships (under Charles Grimaldi, who used the plunder to help found the principality of Monaco). On visiting Southampton in 1339, Edward III (1312-1377) ordered that walls be built to 'close the town'. The extensive rebuilding culminated in the completion of the western walls in 1380. Roughly half of the walls, 13 of the original towers, and six gates survive. In 1740, Southampton became a spa town and, despite the lack of a good quality beach, it had also become a popular site for sea bathing. Innovative buildings, specifically for this purpose, were built at West Quay, with baths that were filled and emptied by the flow of the tide.

Shipbuilding had been an important industry for the town since the Middle Ages and in 1835, the Southampton Docks company was formed. In October 1838, the foundation stone of the docks was laid and the first docks - Eastern Docks - opened in 1842. On 10th April 1912, the RMS Titanic sailed from Southampton on her maiden and final voyage. After colliding with an iceberg in the North Atlantic, she sank on the morning of the 15th April. Four in five of the crew were Sotonians, with about a third of those who perished in the tragedy hailing from the city. The Western Docks date from the 1930s, when the Southern Railway Company commissioned a major land reclamation programme. Most of the material used came from the dredging of Southampton Water, ensuring that the port could continue to handle large ships and due to the benefit of a double high tide (two high tide peaks), the movement of the ships is made easier. However, this tidal anomaly is not caused as popularly supposed by the presence of the Isle of Wight, but is a function of the shape and depth of the English Channel.

Southampton subsequently became the home port for the transatlantic passenger services operated by Cunard with their Blue Riband liner RMS Queen Mary and her running mate RMS Queen Elizabeth. On 11th November 2008, the Cunard liner RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 departed the city for the final time amid a spectacular fireworks display after a full day of celebrations. Cunard ships are regularly launched in the city: Queen Victoria was named by H.R.H. The Duchess of Cornwall in December 2007, H.M. The Queen named Queen Elizabeth in the city during October 2011 and The Duchess of Cambridge performed the naming ceremony of Royal Princess on 13th June 2013. At certain times of the year, the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria may all visit Southampton at the same time, in an event commonly called 'Arrival of the Three Queens'.

Beside luxury cruises, Southampton was once the home to a number of ferry services to the continent, with destinations such as San Sebastian (Spain), Lisboa (Portugal) and Casablanca (Morocco). A ferry port was built during the 1960s. However, a number relocated to Portsmouth and by 1996, there were no longer any car ferries operating from Southampton with the exception of services to the Isle of Wight.

The Venue

Mansel Park

The games were played at Mansel Park, the largest park on the west side of Southampton. It is situated in Millbrook housing estate, an area of high deprivation within the Redbridge Ward. Before 2005, Mansel Park was deemed an ‘uninspiring urban public open space’ and a ‘green desert’ offering only a few facilities in its 10.6 hectare area - three football pitches, a ‘kick wall’, a basketball court and a children’s play facility desperately in need of repair. The park’s facilities were of poor quality and were consequently under-utilised.

 

Aerial view of Mansel Park in Southampton with its own AdiZone sports gym

 

However, following major investment by Southampton City Council, the park has undergone extensive improvements in recent years and now comprises a children’s play area, football pitches, a multi-games area, a family garden area by Millbrook Towers, a natural and wildlife interest area, a community and sports pavilion known as the 'MP3' and an AdiZone, an outdoor community multi sports gym covering an area of 6,747ft² (625m²) in the shape of the 2012 Olympic logo.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

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