Tag Archives: British Pathé

archery golf (and an idea)

8 June, 2015



Another treat from the British Pathe archive, with some archery golf from back in 1929. Apparently they used to only play this in winter in order not to damage the turf.

There’s plenty more BP archery films in the YouTube archive, and I put several of the best ones up last year.  Enjoy.

I’m going to think out loud here: I’ve often thought a form of archery played on golf courses would be a great idea and could even provide the mainstream TV breakthrough the sport is looking for – and the infrastructure and TV technical experience is already in place. Think how good the Masters at Augusta looks on a sunny late afternoon. Imagine the same thing, but with archers. People would lap that up. Wouldn’t they? 🙂

The thing in my brain would be somewhere between target, field and clout archery. I’ve watched field comps on TV, and unfortunately, because so much takes place under tree cover, it makes for a murky, what’s-going-on viewer experience. If you could make the arrows glowing bright yellow or bee-striped or whatever shows up best on the cameras, that would help. There’s technology like this which, combined with excellent commentary, would make for an informed viewer experience.

The scoring could basically be the same as golf, with a par number of ‘strokes’ per hole, with an actual ringed target as the hole providing a way to score and break ties. You could split things into ‘tee’ and ‘hole’ shots, too. One thing that target archery could badly do with as a spectator sport is an element of strategy.

Also, all archers could use a standard bow weight, or maybe a small range of weights (which would also add a strategic element). Maybe a completely standardised ‘class’, all bows set up exactly the same, you are only allowed to change the grip. Or maybe you get to choose the bow and poundage, but you can only use one bow for all ‘strokes’ – you don’t get a caddy with a rack of them. Barebows only, even? That would be something very special.

Anyway, there’s a bunch of ideas. Now all I need is a billionaire or two to get behind it, and we’re away… 🙂


Artful Archery (1937)

13 May, 2014

It’s the last British Pathé Tuesday, and I’ve dug up a brief clip from 1937 featuring some footage from an archery competition in Lancaster, PA, some soundless instinctive trick shots, and… well, have a look for yourself. The voiceover is exactly the sort of posh, patronising rattle satirised so well by Harry Enfield in the 90s.

There’s quite a few more archery clips on the British Pathé channel – have a look at them all here.

brit path



Olympic Archery in 1908

6 May, 2014

It’s British Pathé Tuesday, and I’ve dug up a brief clip from the London Olympics of 1908. Naples was originally scheduled to host the event before a devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius sunk that plan. London rose to the challenge, and organised a games in two years flat, building a single new stadium that held almost every event – there was a pool in the middle for the swimming events and raised platforms for the boxing, wrestling etc. Compare and contrast with what is happening in Rio.

There is just a brief clip of the women’s event here, although the whole thing is worth watching:

At the 1908 Summer Olympics, three archery events were contested. Great Britain sent 41 archers, France sent 15 men, and the United States sent one man. There were three archery events – the continental style, dominated by France, the men’s double York round, won by Britain’s William Dod, and the women’s double National round, won by Britain’s Queenie Newall – with William Dod’s sister Lottie Dod taking silver. Britain were always going to win the women’s event – all 26 entrants were British. 


Queenie Newall.


On the first day of the archery competition the weather in White City Stadium was so poor that the event was stopped at one point. On the close of the first day Queenie was behind Dod by ten points. The second day’s weather was much improved and Queenie overtook Dod, eventually winning with a score of 688 points, 46 points ahead of Dod who finished in the silver medal position. The victory made Queenie the oldest woman to win an Olympic medal, at the age of 53 years and 275 days, a record which still stands.

Queenie’s main rival, Alice Legh declined to compete at the London Olympics in order to prepare for her defence of the national title a week later.  She successfully defended the title against Newall, the Olympic gold medal winner, by a large margin. 

After the 1908 Olympics, no female British archer won an Olympic medal until Alison Williamson won the bronze in the women’s individual competition at the 2004 Athens Olympics.