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Catherine Beale

Born Out of Wenlock. William Penny Brookes and the British origins of the modern Olympics

Born Out of Wenlock. William Penny Brookes and the British origins of the modern Olympics

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This title presents gripping story chronicling the history of the Wenlock Olympian Games, the pre-cursor to the modern Olympics. It includes a detailed Athletes Biographies section, listing every competitor that took part between 1850-95.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, London Mayor Boris Johnson memorably said of London 2012 that 'Ping-Pong is coming home'. In fact, he might justifiably have said that 'the modern Olympic movement is coming home'.

In 1850, Shropshire doctor William Penny Brookes began Olympian Games for the 'moral, physical and intellectual improvement' of the local population of Wenlock Borough.

Within a decade he had donated a prize for athletics in Athens and was urging the Greeks to revive their ancient Games. He had also begun agitating for physical education to be compulsory at primary schools in England.

Brookes, with help from John Hulley of Liverpool and Ernst Ravenstein of London, staged Britain's first National Olympian Games at the Crystal Palace in 1866. In this engaging account, Catherine Beale tells the story of the Wenlock Olympian Games.

Catherine Beale is a writer and historian living in Herefordshire. She has written for Garden History, Hortus, and Country Landowner. She regularly gives talks and tours and recently contributed to the BBC Antiques Roadshow.

Bringing history to life is a challenge that she enjoys. Her first book, Champagne and Shambles illustrated the changes in country house life in the second half of the 19th century. Bom out of Wenlock builds on her knowledge of this period and its issues.

Educated at Cheltenham Ladies' College and Cambridge University, her sporting success was entirely limited to school and college hockey.

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