27/05/2011 - Permalink

Shropshire’s Olympian story celebrated at Shrewsbury Museum

Related topics: Leisure, culture and heritage

The origins of the Olympic Games can be traced back almost 3,000 years, but did you know that it was in Shropshire that the ideals of the Games were revived?  

From 23 May 2011 to 3 July 2011, “Our Games’ Story” is being celebrated at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, Rowley’s House, in the run up to the re-enactment of the 1864 Shropshire Olympian Games as part of the Shrewsbury Olympian Fesival being held from 17 to 19 June 2011. 

Visitors will be invited to uncover why the story of the Olympic Games is important to the county.  They will find out how the sleepy Shropshire town of Much Wenlock was woken by the great works of William Penny Brookes; a man who believed that sporting and cultural opportunities should be available to “all grades of man”.  

The Shrewsbury Olympian Games took place 32 years before the first modern Olympic Games.  

Emma-Kate Lanyon, curator with Shropshire Council, said:

“The County Olympian Games was Brookes’ first move to increase participation in a sporting event modelled on the Wenlock Games.  The success of the Shropshire Games helped to drive forward the formation of a National Olympian Association, of which Brookes was a founding member, and ultimately the modern Olympic Games.  This exhibition explains how the first Wenlock Olympian Games came about and sets the Shrewsbury Olympian Festival in context.”  

The exhibition also showcases Shropshire’s Olympic talent, and highlights how events like the Wenlock Olympian Games are still producing top athletes, some of whom take home gold not only for their home county but Great Britain. 

Councillor Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health and well-being, said:

“We are very proud of Brookes’ legacy and this exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to share his story as we celebrate Shropshire’s extraordinary Olympian history, exemplified by this exhibition.  I am sure Dr Brookes would have been honoured that his story has been included in this exhibition and the re-enactment of the 1864 Shropshire Olympian Festival in June in Shrewsbury’s Quarry park.”

 The Shropshire Olympian Festival will take place on the 17, 18 and 19 June 2011 at The Quarry, Shrewsbury. 

For more information visit shropshire.gov.uk/shropshire1864.nsf.