Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Monday, 11 October 2010 14:20 UK
Eton's link to the 2012 Olympics
by Emma Midgley
BBC Berkshire Reporter

Eton Manor boys
A sports club set up by Old Etonians is to become a 2012 Olympic venue

It lives on in the hearts of thousands who grew up in east London.

Now a sports club set up by old Etonians for impoverished east London boys is to be converted into an Olympic wheelchair tennis and aquatic venue.

The Eton Manor Sports Club opened in 1913, and was supported by Edward Cadogan, Arthur Villiers, Alfred Wagg and Gerald Wellesley.

The clubhouse was set up for children living in Hackney Wick, who were taught athletics, boxing, drama and debating.

Oldest mission

Eton was the first of all the public schools in England to set up a mission in London in the early 1880s.

The area chosen for help was a region about the size of the Eton playing fields, in between the Hackney Marches and the North London railway.

The 6,000 men, women and children who lived there were described at the time as being 'of the very poorest' class.

Etoon Manor boys
The club taught athletics, boxing, drama and debating

The Berkshire public school set up a Mission church, two boys' club, choir, men's club and Sunday school in this area.

These boys clubs eventually merged to become the Eton Mission Boys' Club, which ran from 1913 to 1967.

The club had a lasting influence on its members. To this day Eton Manor old boys meet annually on Remembrance Sunday to pay tribute to former members of the club who died during both world wars.

While Olympic construction goes on, they will be unable to meet at the war memorial on the site, as it has been put into storage as the Olympic works begin.

Olympic legacy

They will meet instead at the Eton Manor Rugby Club, on the outskirts of east London.

The club counts Olympic boxers among its graduates, including Harry Mallin won gold as a boxer in the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games and Nicky Gargano won a bronze medal in the sport in 1956.

Major Villiers even bought a running track used at Wembley in the 1948 Olympics, and transported it to East London so the boys of Eton Manor Sports Club could have London's first floodlit track at their disposal.

Having fallen into disrepair, the disused club was used as the temporary home of a construction college before being levelled to become an Olympic venue.

Many of the graduates from the centre were hired to work on the Olympic Park.

Eton Manor boys
The venue will provide a community sports venue following the Olympics

Now the club is to be transformed into a Paralympic venue for wheelchair tennis, as well as an aquatics training venue, housing three temporary Olympic-size swimming pools, a synchronised swimming venue and a water polo pool.

After the Games, Eton Manor will include a mix of sporting facilities for local and regional communities.

These will include a tennis centre with four indoor and six outdoor courts, (four of which will be used for wheelchair tennis during the Games), a hockey centre with two competition pitches and five-a-side football pitches.

The war memorial to Eton Manor old boys will also be restored.

The facilities will be able to accommodate elite hockey events for up to 15,000 spectators.

Camping plan for Olympic visitors
22 Mar 10 |  Berkshire
Olympics minister visits county
26 Nov 09 |  Oxfordshire
Olympic road revamp firm selected
30 Sep 09 |  Berkshire
Key Olympic roads to be set aside
11 Dec 08 |  London
2012 Olympic master plan revealed
06 Feb 07 |  London
GB rowers expect home advantage
18 Aug 06 |  Rowing
Rowers 'will improve on Beijing'
29 Aug 08 |  Rowing

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific