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Interview with Ian McInnes

Ian McInnes, of the Dulwich Society, returns to this year’s Festival with an illustrated talk that will give an historic insight into the range of different sports and personalities to have graced our green pastures.

Why do you think Dulwich has become synonymous with sport over the years?
The large number of playing fields, rich residents with large houses on big plots and private schools.

What inspired you to research the history of sport in the area?
Something different from my normal research on streets and houses and who lived in them.

Tell us about some of the more bizarre sports that have been practised in Dulwich over the years.

Rabbit hunting in a field at the Greyhound Inn, Basket racing and/or Gaelic football and lacrosse at the Herne Hill Velodrome, Trap, bat & ball in many East Dulwich pubs.

Do you have a favourite sporting personality from your research?
Either county cricketer George Nevill Wyatt, who was a noted breeder of prize chickens and dogs, or Percy Wilberforce Rootham, a local tennis player, who organised the building of the old covered courts (now rebuilt as the Dulwich College Sports Centre).

What’s the most interesting legacy of sport in Dulwich?
The retention of all the sports fields giving us the amount of open space we enjoy.

Who’s the most famous sporting personality to come out of Dulwich?
Henry Cotton, the golfer, probably.

How important is Dulwich Hamlet’s Football club to the local area?
To some residents in East Dulwich it’s important, not so much in other parts of Dulwich – though it’s good to have a local football club. Many people support Crystal Palace who are in the Premier League.

Sports and sports personalities in Dulwich 1870-1970, Thursday 13 May, 7:00PM details here


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