Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Borough of Bexley Team

This is the 1910 Gymnastics team of the London Borough of Bexley, a place I visited once.
It's between Bromley and Dartford, which probably means nothing to most of you, lol.



  1. Bexley - 13 miles from Charing Cross in London, the Ordnance Survey point for all distances between anywhere and the capital - was a borough and an ancient parish in the county of Kent in 1910 and not absorbed into Greater London until 1965. Here we see an adaptation of the wide-necked, light wool, Victorian running vest that was adapted for gymnastics. I wonder how many of these handsome specimens survived the war so few short years distant.

    1. I read somewhere that some athletes insisted on front-line duty in the Great War, while others were happy to provide physical training at boot camps in the UK. If true, they might have had a somewhat better chance of survival.

  2. As a result of the deprivations of the Industrial Revolution, there was great anxiety about the fitness of our youth in the first decade of the 20th century, which resulted Lt General Robert Baden-Powell ("hero" of the disgraceful Boer War) founding the international Scout Movement. Many lessons were learned in the Great War and my Maths, Navigation and also Sports master as a sub-Olympic athlete entered the Royal Navy as an officer PT instructor. (He saw action in the disastrous Norwegian Campaign.) He left the service as a respected Lt Commander to become, as Monty Python once rather cruelly put it, "a part-time notice board in a boy's public school". I remember him at the same age as I am today, with more than a passable physique and very fit, and would entertain Old Boys for hours on end - provided we bought him a pint. RIP Atty.