All posts by: Joanne Smith-Wood

About Joanne Smith-Wood

James (Jimmy) Munn – Legacy Legend

For over 30 years Jimmy Munn was one of the foremost influences on sports and leisure provision and its values and importance. Jimmy hailed from Ardrossan and his background in Scotland was the backbone of his leisure philosophy. He trained as a PE teacher and taught in Kilmarnock and Bristol. It was then as head […]

Denis Molyneux – Legacy Legends

Denis Molyneux represents the Project’s earliest connection with the ‘birth’ of the UK sports centre, which followed the Report of the Wolfenden Committee in 1960. Denis was later a member of the Working Party that produced ‘Planning for Sport’ in 1968. These two reports set the national agenda for subsequent sports provision, not least sports […]

Harry Littlewood – Legacy Legend

Harry Littlewood can truly be regarded as a “game-changer” in the recreation management and sports centre story. His contributions to the early development of sports centres and the recreation profession cannot be underestimated. Harry was born into a mining family in Derbyshire, he was an active sportsman in his youth where he played County rugby […]

Denis Howell, Baron Howell PC – Legacy Legend

Denis Howell was the first UK Minister for Sport and played the foremost political role in the establishment of The Sports Council following the Wolfenden Report in 1960. His influence on the sporting scene was enormous. He was a Birmingham City Councillor between 1946 and 1956, MP for Birmingham All Saints from 1955-59 and for […]

Ian Douglas – Legacy Legend

Ian Douglas was a pioneering Scottish manager at Bellahouston and Bishopbriggs sports centres. Ian trained in Physical Education at Jordanhill, and after teaching at Dollar Academy lectured in PE at Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities. He was appointed as Manager of Bellahouston Sports Centre at the age of 26 in 1967, Scotland’s first sports centre. Thus, […]

Ted Blake – Legacy Legend

It is rare indeed that anyone could be regarded as a “legend” in more than one discipline, but in the case of Ted Blake it is arguable that he achieved legendary status in three. After leaving school at 14, Ted became an Army Physical Training Instructor during the War and qualified as a PE teacher […]

Sargent & Potiriadis

Reproduced with kind permission of Leisure Media Peter Sargent was one of the founding partners of sports and leisure architectural practice Sargent & Potiriadis (S&P), along with business partner Mark Potiriadis. The pair were among a small group of creative thinkers who transformed leisure architecture from the late 1970s onwards, with the creation of innovative […]

Billingham Forum – Grandfather of ‘Leisure Centres’

Billingham Forum, conceived in 1960 but not completed until 1967, was dubbed “the grandfather of leisure centres” by the art historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, and “without question, the father of the British leisure centre” by Lance Wright, editor of the Architectural Review. It was designed by Elder Lester Architects. Billingham Forum anticipated the shift that […]

John Birch

John trained as a PE teacher at Loughborough from 1951-54.  After teaching he undertook further training at Carnegie before joining the CCPR as Research Officer in 1965.  He was responsible for the first ever research study on Indoor Sports Centres in 1970-71.  He transferred to the new executive Sports Council in 1970 and in 1974 […]