News from Played in Britain

London's Olympic Games and their heritage

October 27 2008

Those interested in the Olympics and their heritage may like to attend the following lecture being given at 5.15pm on November 17 by Professor Garry Whannel of the University of Bedfordshire.

'From Trade Fair to Shopping Mall: Elements of Modernity in the Three London Olympic Games of 1908, 1948 and 2012'.

This event, which is part of the Sport and Leisure History Seminar series will be held in the Ecclesiastical History Room of the Institute of Historical Research, which is housed in Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.

Below is a short description of the theme of the paper:

"In 1908 the London Olympics had close links with and shared a site with the Anglo-French Trade Fair in Shepherds Bush. In 1948 the hastily arranged London Olympic Games occupied the Wembley site originally constructed for the Empire Exhibition of 1923. In each case, after the Olympic Games the sites suffered years of decline, neglect and decay. The White City stadium was demolished in 1985 and there is no visible memorial proclaiming its moment of glory as The Great Stadium of 1908. Wembley stadium has been demolished but reborn in rebuilt form, and the Empire Pool survives, largely reconstructed as the Wembley Arena, but the rest of the site has been crumbling for years.

"After the 2012 Olympic Games for which facilities are currently under construction around Stratford in east London, a vast privately owned shopping mall will become the beneficiary of the massive public investment in infrastructure. This paper explores the significances that we can read into these events, crossing as they do concepts of nation and internationalism; past and future, heritage and tradition, spectacle and consumption."

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