Many of the sports that have spread across the world, from athletics and boxing to golf and tennis, had their origins in nineteenth-century Britain. They were exported around the world by the British Empire, and Britain's influence in the world led to many of its sports being adopted in other countries. (Americans, however, liked to show their independence by rejecting cricket for baseball.) The Victorians and Sport is a highly readable account of the role sport played in both Victorian Britain and its empire. Major sports attracted mass followings and were widely reported in the press. Great sporting celebrities, such as the cricketer Dr W.G. Grace, were the best-known people in the country, and sporting rivalries provoked strong loyalties and passionate emotions. Mike Huggins provides fascinating details of individual sports and sportsmen. He also shows how sport was an important part of society and of many people's lives.
Mike Huggins is an Emeritus Professor of Cultural History at the University of Cumbria, and has published widely on the history of leisure and sport in Britain.
Mike is on the editorial consultancy panel for four separate sports history journals, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Fellow of the European Council for Sport History, the Chair of the North American Society of Sport History Book Prize awarding panel, and won the International Society for Sport History and Physical Education Award in 2009 for 'outstanding scientific contribution to the history of sport'. He has lectured widely across Europe and the United States. He has appeared regularly in the media.
He didn't start off in sports history. In his youth he preferred music and sport to academic work, but later trained as a primary teacher at Nevilles Cross College in Durham. a women's training college just going co-educational, and taking a teaching certificate. Whilst teaching and playing music in the clubs of north-east England he did an Open University degree, getting one of the first First Class Honours in the north of England. After twenty years of teaching young children he moved first to teacher training, and leading the post-graduate route to teaching at Lsncaster University, and then into OFSTED. But his early love of sport led him to take a part time Ph.D. in sport history, and then leave inspection for a lecturing post at the University of Cumbria, where he rapidly built a reputation as an international expert.