Brighton and the 1948 Olympics

With the 2012 Olympics opening tomorrow, it is interesting to note that Brighton can claim several connections with the Olympic Games of 1948 – the last time London was the host city.

Black Rock Swimming Pool
Black Rock Swimming Pool

Jean Caplin took part in the Women’s 200 metre breast stroke at the Wembley Pool in August 1948. Eighteen year old Jean, of the Brighton Ladies Swimming Club, was national ASA champion in 1946. Her trainer was Jack Thompson, Superintendent of the Black Rock Swimming Pool. She made it through to the second semi-finals but lost out to Nancy Lyons of Australia.

At the Goldstone Ground in July, Afghanistan played Luxembourg in the Olympic football competition. Despite the crowd yelling ‘encouragement in Arabic and Hindustani’, Afghanistan lost to Luxembourg six goals to nil.

Goldstone Ground, Hove where the Olympic football match took place
Goldstone Ground, Hove where the Olympic football match took place

Also present at the Olympics was Brighton man, Mr A J P Martin, a timekeeper at the boxing events. He was present at a match where Arnoldo Pares, Argentine bantam-weight, tried to reduce his boxing weight by cutting his hair with a borrowed penknife.

Roger Musgrave, son of Clifford Musgrave, the Director of the Royal Pavilion and Museums,  was an interpreter for the French team attending the Olympic Games. Despite being based in Acton, he seemed unperturbed, stating that he was ‘interested in everything – except sport’

Paul Jordan, Senior History Centre Officer

With thanks to Vicki Tambling for her research.

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