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The Manchester public house: sport and the entrepreneur.

Oldfield, Samantha-Jayne and Day, Dave (2010) The Manchester public house: sport and the entrepreneur. [Conference or Workshop Item] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Sport and the public house have been linked since its emergence in the sixteenth century, with many a sporting event being twinned with excessive drinking and gambling. During the nineteenth century, as the countryside became developed, the more entrepreneurial publican became gatekeepers of sport and, in cities like Manchester, sports such as pedestrianism developed alongside these establishments, creating a niche for such endeavours and enabling the publican to successfully transcend into the world of sport. On one hand these individuals were deemed saviours, but in reality they were fully aware of the profit-making potential of such an enterprise and throughout the century, the survival of the public house relied on extensive programmes of entertainment provided by the innkeepers. The relationship between entrepreneurial sportsmen and public house has long been noted and there are abundant examples of individuals who combined sporting activities with the role of licensee. However, many have approached this topic by documenting achievements of these men as athletes rather than exploring their impact as trainers and promoters. This paper addresses these issues by considering pub culture and pedestrianism in Manchester 1840-1880, exploring some individuals in more detail through individual and collective biographical studies using a small-scale prosopographical approach.

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