Midland Counties Amateur Athletic Association, Records of the

Scope and Content

Records of the Midland Counties Amateur Athletic Association (MCAAA). Comprises an extensive sequence of minutes and meeting papers, dating from 1900, generated by the committees which directed the actions of the MCAAA; attendance registers; a small number of financial papers; circular correspondence; and publications, including a number of athletics programmes.

These records are of interest to those studying amateur sports, especially athletics culture in England during the 20th century. Although these records cover the vast majority of the Association's years of operation, including the years of both World Wars, there are no papers pre-dating 1900. It is possible that early records may have been damaged by fire.

Administrative / Biographical History

During the first half of the nineteenth century, athletics had been dominated by the upper middle classes who had experienced athletics at public schools, at universities and in the army. However, during the 1860s and 1870s, athletics became a popular national sport and working men in the North and the Midlands in particular were drawn to the sport. Many local clubs, run by committees, were set up and these often held open meetings and competitions which attracted large numbers of spectators. The Amateur Athletic Club, founded in 1866, was one of the principal clubs and it organised an annual national championship. However, there was growing concern about malpractice and corruption in the sport arising out of betting practices and the requirement to make a clear distinction between amateurs and professionals. In 1879 representatives of northern clubs had established the Northern Counties Athletic Association (NCAA) in order to regulate the sport of athletics in the north of England. In February 1880, Frank Smith, the Secretary of the Birmingham Athletic Club invited clubs in the Midlands to send delegates to a meeting on 1 March to consider forming a Midland Counties Athletic Union to regulate similarly the sport in the midlands. The Midland Counties Amateur Athletic Association (MCAAA) was established at this meeting.

Following the establishment of the MCAAA and the NCAA, Montague Shearman, a former President of Oxford University Athletic Club and a member of the London Athletic Club intervened to ensure that there was national coordination and leadership for the sport. He invited delegates from the MCAAA, the NCAA and athletic and cross country clubs in the south to a meeting in April 1880 at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford to establish a national governing body and the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) was formed. The Association was to be managed by a General Committee composed of representatives of various athletics organisations, including the NCAA and the MCAAA, and other elected members and it was also agreed that the annual championship meeting was to be held in different parts of England in rotation.

Athletics remained a sport for men until the 1920s when women entered the sport. The independent men's and women's organisations have now merged and the amateur-professional separation has been abandoned. In 1989, the MCAAA (founded in 1880) and Midland Counties Women's Amateur Athletic Association (MCWAAA, founded in 1925) amalgamated to form the Midland Counties Amateur Athletic Association. This now serves as the governing body for athletics within the Midlands

Sources: papers of the MCAAA; P. Lovesey, 'The Official Centenary of the Amateur Athletic Association', Enfield: Guiness Superlatives Limited, 1979; Richard Cox, Grant Jarvie and Wray Vamplew, 'Encyclopedia of British Sport', Oxford: ABC-CLIO Limited, 2000


These papers have been arranged into the following four series:

  • Administrative records
  • Financial records
  • Publications and printed material
  • Miscellaneous

Access Information

Access to all registered researchers

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in 1988

Other Finding Aids

Please see the full catalogue for further details

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

It is possible that gaps in this sequence of records occurred due to destruction caused by a fire as many of the volumes suffered from smoke damage and on occasion have clearly been burned

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Director of Special Collections (email: special-collections@contacts.bham.ac.uk). Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material

Custodial History

This collection was previously in the custody of the National Centre for Athletics Literature (NCAL).

Related Material

Other archive collections, formerly held as part of the National Centre for Athletics Literature (NCAL), are catalogued as collections distinct from this collection. They comprise both institutional archives and collections of personal papers of athletes, athletics administrators, journalists and others associated with the athletics world.

Catalogues of the institutional archives available on the online archive catalogue are as follows:

  • Amateur Athletic Association: papers, 1880-1992. Finding No: ATH/AAA
  • English Cross-Country Union: papers, 1911-1989. Finding No: ATH/ECCU
  • Midland Counties Amateur Athletics Association: papers, 1900-1991. Finding No: ATH/MCAAA
  • Midland Counties Cross Country Association: papers, 1898-1985. Finding No: ATH/MCCCA
  • Midland Counties Women's Amateur Athletic Association: papers, 1949-[1980s]. Finding No: ATH/MCWAAA
  • Northern Counties Women's Amateur Athletic Association: papers, 1933-1989. Finding No: ATH/NCWAAA
  • Northern Cross-Country Association: papers, 1906-1983. Finding No: ATH/NCCA
  • Northern Women's Track and Field League: papers, 1982-1983. Finding No: ATH/NWTFL
  • Southern Counties Amateur Athletic Association: papers, 1958-1983. Finding No: ATH/SCAAA
  • Southern Counties Cross-Country Association: papers, 1911-1990. Find No: ATH/SCCCA
  • The Sports Council: papers, [1940s]-2001. Finding No: ATH/SC
  • Women's Amateur Athletic Association: papers, 1932-1989. Finding No: ATH/WAAA

Catalogues of personal papers available on the online archive catalogue are as follows:

  • Abrahams, Harold Maurice (1899-1978), athlete, administrator, commentator and journalist: papers, 1902-1989. Finding No: ATH/HA
  • Adam, George Mair (1898-1989), athlete, coach and athletics administrator: papers, 1909-1989. Finding No: ATH/GA
  • Binks, Joseph (Joe) (1874-1966), athlete and athletics commentator: papers, [1920s-1950s]. Finding No: ATH/JB
  • Cardew, Martin H. (b 1927), athlete: papers, 1964-1988. Finding No: ATH/MHC
  • Cullum, Dennis Noel Johnson (1913-1985), athlete and coach: papers, [1930s]-1985. Finding No: ATH/DC
  • Ives, Bert (1890-1975), athlete and athletics administrator: papers, [1920s-1970s]. Finding No: ATH/BI
  • Jewell, John Christopher (1912-2001), athlete and athletics commentator: papers, 1897-2002. Finding No: ATH/JJ
  • Lloyd-Edgley, Ralph: scrapbook, [c 1924]-[c 1931]. Finding No: ATH/RLE
  • MacLean, Duncan (1884-1980), athlete and coach: papers, 1948-1977. Finding No: ATH/DM
  • Monk, Walter Harry (Wal) (1896-after 1965), athlete: papers, 1918-1961. Finding No: ATH/WHM
  • Morgan, Wilf (b 1935), athlete and athletics historian: papers, 1937-2012. Finding No: ATH/WM
  • Newton, Arthur Francis Hamilton (1883-1959), athlete: papers, [c 1904]-[1990s]. Finding No: ATH/AN
  • Payne, Howard (1931-1992), athlete: papers, 1899-[c 1975]. Finding No: ATH/HP
  • Percy, Joe W. (1912-2001), athlete and athletics administrator: papers, 1910-1997. Finding No: ATH/JWP
  • Perry, George (b 1903), athlete: papers, [1920s]-1956. Finding No: ATH/GP
  • Powell, Edgar Robert Leslie (Peter), (fl 1920s-70s), athlete: papers, 1813-1988. Finding No: ATH/ERLP
  • Richards, Wilf (b 1906), athlete and journalist: papers, 1924-[mid 20th century]. Finding No: ATH/WR
  • Roberts, Dave (fl 1930s-1990s), athlete and statistician: papers, [1930s]-1991. Finding No: ATH/DR
  • Simpson, Colin J. (1929-2011), athlete and athletics administrator: papers, 1945-1990. Finding No: ATH/CS
  • Tatham, Wilfrid George (Gus) (1898-1978), athlete: papers, 1908-1960. Finding No: ATH/WGT
  • Thomas, Dr Philip, athletics administrator and coach: papers, [c 1900]-[late 20th century]. Finding No: ATH/PT
  • Vargas, Charles Climaco (1905-1975), athlete: papers, 1921-31. Finding No: ATH/CCV
  • Ward, Leonard H., athletics coach: papers, [mid-20th century]. Finding No: ATH/LW
  • Watman, Melvyn Francis (Mel) (b 1938), athletics journalist and statistician: papers, 1980-1993. Finding No: ATH/MW
  • Wight, Robert M., athletics administrator: papers, [mid-20th century]. Finding No: ATH/RW
  • Winter, Arthur E. H. (d 1990), athlete and athletics commentator: papers, [early 20th century]-1983. Finding No: ATH/AW
  • Yarrow, Squire Stevens (1905-1984), athlete and athletics administrator: papers, 1938-1984. Finding No: ATH/SY