The Story of Your Life: A History of the Sporting Life Newspaper (1859-1998)

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Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2010 - Sporting life (London, England) - 611 pages
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The intriguing story and turbulent history of a paper Charles Dickens praised for its ‘range of information and profundity of knowledge’, and which Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, simply endorsed with the remark: ‘Of course I read The Sporting Life’. It was the Queen Mother’s love of horseracing that made her such an avid reader of the Life and coverage of that sport forms the core of this book, but there is so much more to fascinate the reader including eyewitness accounts of the first fight for the heavyweight championship of the world and Captain Webb’s heroic Channel swim of 1875. Highlights in the history of cricket, football and rugby are also featured, while chapters on coursing and greyhound racing rank alongside surreal reports on ratting contests and songbird singing competitions. And for 30 years Tommy Wisdom made his motoring reports unique by competing against the best at Brooklands, Le Mans and in many Monte Carlo rallies, while Henry Longhurst’s golfing column was simply the best. The paper’s strident campaigns for racing reforms are also chronicled along with its coverage of major news stories, from Fred Archer’s shocking suicide to its own untimely demise. Its travails in the law courts are documented from its first year, when it was forced to change its title, to its last, when it had to pay libel damages to the training team of Lynda and Jack Ramsden and their jockey, Kieren Fallon. A higher price was paid by its French correspondent who was killed in a duel over an article he had written, while the terrible toll the First World War took on the nation’s sporting heroes is catalogued by the Life’s embedded army correspondent, against a background of political bungling that is being repeated today.
 

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Contents

a newspaper with an eclectic mix of sports pastimes editors reporters
3
The Penny Press
9
Harry Feist Augur the Lifes founding editor
12
How the Penny Bells Life masthead evolved into The Sporting Life
20
Bankrupt and Beeton
21
Map of Fleet Street Ludgate Hill and Cheapside
24
Betting in Bride Lane
30
The Life flouts the Metropolitan Streets Act by posting up the tissue
38
Frontpage appeal for the Sportsmens Ambulance Fund
311
A Sporting Life ambulance destined for the Front
312
Racing and the War
313
Primo Carnera v Larry Gains fullpage advert
330
A Land Fit For Heroes?
331
Sergeant Murphy and Tuppy Bennet an illfated partnership
339
The Race Gang Wars
341
The first day of the 1926 betting tax at Birmingham
350

Scribes and Touts
42
Henry Hall Dixon The Druid the Tacitus of sporting writers
49
The Jockey Club stewards attempt to banish touts
55
Welshers and Dead Uns
57
The Tarragona Affair
66
Irwin Willes Argus the Exile v Admiral Rous the Dictator of the Turf
68
Campaigns and Consumption
78
The Rules of the Game
88
Aston Villa v West Bromwich the 1895 FA Cup Final teams
97
A Transatlantic Challenge
99
Jack Heenan and Tom Sayers the champions of America and England
103
Fisticuffs at Farnborough
107
The famous fight at Farnborough
111
Competition
117
On Dogs Rats and Songbirds
130
Master McGrath the king of the canine race portrait and photo
134
No New Thing
142
The infamously libelled Sir Joseph Scratchawley
148
The Lost Leaders
152
View of Fleet Street and St Pauls
164
A Vet in the Chair
165
Charles Blake the Lifes second editor
168
Captain Webbs Channel Trip
172
Matthew Webbs heroic Channel swim
177
Wobble Westons Walkabout
180
Blakes Daily Balderdash
189
The Pink Uns famous Ashes obit on English cricket
194
The SP Wars
196
Caricature of Fred Archer winning the 1881 Derby on Iroquois
199
Tragedy and Scandal
207
Fred Archers portrait by Rosa Corder
211
Principal figures in the Chetwynd v Durham case
220
The Irish Connection
222
Bigfight weighins at the Life attracted large crowds
224
Elliot Hutchins and George Lowe as sketched by Phil May
226
The Trodmore Coup
231
Cooks Campaigns
237
George Lohmann the very finest allround cricketer Surrey ever had
242
The American Invasion
245
Tod Sloan the dandy Yankee
251
A Lethal Legacy
259
A Marathon Trophy
272
Dorando Pietri breasts the tape at the finish of the 1908 Olympics marathon
274
The Sporting Lifes marathon trophy + Harry Barrett its first winner
277
The Fight Against the Faddists
282
Football Bandits
290
Prepare for the Horrors
296
Tex cartoons deriding Winston Churchills betting tax
354
Long Live the Nanny Goat
357
Mel sees the 1924 All Blacks perform the haka
366
Some 1927 Grand National personalities + Mrs Partridge leads in Sprig
368
Going to the Dogs
371
A whippet is given a flying start
372
Mick the Miller in his prime
378
The Irish Sweeps
380
Battling Against The Old Guard
388
A Staff of Experts
394
Meyrick Good and Walter Meeds the best of enemies
395
A Wartime Weekly
403
silhouettes of German troopcarrying aircraft
409
The four Grand Nationalwinning jockeys who were killed during WWII
413
King George VI leads in Sun Chariot after her win in the 1942 Oaks
415
A Nation in Crisis
418
Rough Justice
426
Bobby Petre and Lovely Cottage return from their 1946 National victory
432
The Nobblers
439
Micheline Lugeon who spied out stables for the dopers
447
An anesthetised Relko storms to victory in the 1963 Derby
451
A Licence to Print Money
453
Ossies Signings
461
Lester Piggott studies the Paper the Professionals Read
465
The author gets his info straight from the horses mouth
468
A Trier on NonTriers
470
Len Thomas and Ossie Fletcher waged a campaign against nontriers
472
The Last Bastion
477
War on Wyatt
485
Anarchy
502
Spitting Images caricature of the Queen reading her favourite newspaper
507
An emergency edition of the Life
510
Courting Success
514
Monty Court flanked by Robert Maxwell and Lord Wyatt of Weeford
529
Man Overboard
531
A New Broom
541
The Final Nail
551
Michael Williams and Tom Clarke
553
Whos a Liar Then?
558
The Wake
568
The last day of your Life
570
Sources
577
Bibliography
585
Index
591
Chronology
609
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

James Lambie started in Fleet Street as a sub-editor cum reporter in the Press Association's racing department (1964-74) before being employed in a similar capacity by the Sporting Life from 1974, until becoming that paper's chief northern correspondent (1982-98).

Bibliographic information