Pat Besford - The swimming and Olympic collection of the late Pat Besford, journalist

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Lot 37
Pat Beresford - Swimming and Jounalism

Sold for £ 3,125 (US$ 4,141) inc. premium
Pat Besford - Swimming and Olympic Journalism
The swimming and Olympic collection of the late Pat Besford, journalist, comprising:

(i) A comprehensive archive of newspaper cuttings, comprising nearly every piece of swimming journalism by Pat Besford and others published in the Daily Telegraph, Mail, etc. during the years 1955 to 1987, mostly pasted chronologically into nine scrapbooks and ringbinders, some loose or in envelopes, with occasional annotations; together with a volume of statistics on swimming compiled by Pat Besford, covering the years 1948-1969

(ii) Three large reels of 16mm. film footage, titled "Official F.I.N.A film of the Olympic swimming events, Helsinki, 1952" (according to detailed descriptions suppplied on typed sheets), the first reel setting the scene, showing the village, the pool ("The large lady is the chaperone to the Indian women's team"), warm-up exercizes etc., the other two reels showing the women's and men's swimming semi-finals and finals; and three smaller reels, one labelled "The Olympics 1956. Swimming Sequence", the other "Part II. Diving" (all film untested)

(iii) WEBB (Captain, the Channel Swimmer) The Art of Swimming, 1875--GREENWOOD (FRANCES A.) Bibliography of Swimming, New York, 1940--RAJKI (BELA) The Technique of Competitive Swimming, inscribed by the author to Pat Besford, 1956--BACHRACH (WILLIAM) The Outline of Swimming, inscribed by the author, Chicago, 1924--WEISSMULLER (JOHNNY) Swimming the American Crawl, 1934--SINCLAIR (ARCHIBALD) Swimming, [1894], 8vo; and c.73 others on all aspects of swimming, diving and other water sports

(iv) BERGVALL (ERIK) The Fifth Olympiad. The Official Report of the Olympic Games of Stockholm 1912, first English edition, 1913; VIII. Olympiaden. Berättelse öbver Olympiska Spelen I Paris 1924, 1924--FAIRLIE (F.G.L.) British Olympic Association. The Official Report of the VIIIth Olympiad, Paris 1924, 1924; The Official Report of the Organising Committee for the XIV Olympiad, 1951; and 36 others, olympic reports etc., 4to or folio, together with a small group of other sporting books

(v) [A.S.A.] Amateur Swimming Association. Handbooks for 1931, 1933-39 and 1947-1970, 33 vol. (30 bound with the separate regional reports, the other 3 comprising unbound issues of the handbook for 1947 and Southern Counties district handbooks for 1948-1949);
[FINA] Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur. Bulletin officiel, nos. 9 and 14-43 in 3 vol., 1949-1976; Swimming World and Junior Swimmer, in 16 vol., September 1965-October 1981 (lacking a few issues);
The Swimming Times, in 32 vol., 1948-1985 (and some odd earlier issues);
World Sports [-Sportsworld]. Official Magazine of the British Olympic Association, in 26 vol. December 1947-December 1973 (lacking a few issues);
The Game. The Marshall Cavendish Encylcopaedia of World Sports, 112 issues plus index in 8 original folders, 1969-1971

An extensive collection of olympic and swimming memorabilia, mainly medals, badges and pins given to or collected by Pat Besford during her lifelong career, including badges dating back to 1912, 1928 and 1948, an original cartoon depicting her addressing a group of journalists seeking accreditation, and her London Transport Travel Pass for the 1948 Olympics


  • Pat Besford (1919 - 1988), freelance swimming correspondent of the Daily Telegraph (for many years), the Daily Mail (who described her as "Britain's best-known and most outspoken swimming reporter") and others, was one of the most respected sports journalists of the post-war era. She covered ten Olympic Games from London 1948, and all World and European Championships, Commonwealth Games and British National Championships for the next forty years, reporting on swimming, diving, synchronised swimming, water polo and, latterly, archery. A formidable administrator, for many years she single-handedly organised the accreditation, communication facilities and other arrangements for all the British sports journalists and photographers attending the Olympics Games. She was President of the swimming commission of the International Sports Writers' Association, first female Chairman of the Sports Writers' Association of Great Britain, and author of Swim Better (1957), The Fina Book of Belgrade (1973), The Encyclopaedia of Swimming (1976) and Wilkie (with Tommy Long, 1976).

    Since 1979 The Pat Besford Award for Outstanding Sporting Achievement has been awarded in her honour by the Sports Journalists Association; its past winners include Lester Piggott, Mike Brearley, Kenny Dalglish, Steve Redgrave, Chris Boardman, Gary Lineker, Matthew Pinsent, Bobby Robson, Bradley Wiggins and Christine Ohuruogu.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that this is a 'W' lot, ie. an outsized lot that will only be available for collection from the Bonhams warehouse. Please contact the Book department (contact details in front of catalogue) for further details.
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