The Man Who Wasn’t There: The Jarvis-Nuttal ‘Match’ of 1901 as a Space of Modernity
Monday May 17th 2021 at 6pm
It’s a real pleasure to be one of the convenors for the British Society of Sports History sponsored Sport & Leisure History seminar series at the Institute of Historical Research. And this term we have a diverse range of speakers and subjects to pique the interest of the historically inclined.
This week we have Geoff Swallow of Manchester Metropolitan Univeristy talking about a fascinating contest between the English swimmers John Arthur Jarivs and Jseph ‘Joey’ Nuttal in 1901. Geoff’s paper puts their contest into the context of the growth of national and international competition in the pool and looks at their rivalry from a unique angle. Join us for a stimulating Zoom event which you can register for FREE via this link. Geoff’s abstract is below:-
Our recent experience of remote working, meetings, and social lives being conducted via Zoom and other digital platforms, has caused many of us to reconsider our perceptions of time and space. A similar epochal shift was taking place by the turn of the nineteenth century, as emerging electronic means of communication were changing the way ordinary people experienced time and space as ‘[t]he sense of the present … expanded spatially to create the vast shared experience of simultaneity.’ (Kern, 1983).From its formation in 1886, swimming’s governing body, the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), sought to eradicate professional swimming, imposing its definition of amateurism, and rigorously enforcing its prohibition on amateurs competing against professionals. By 1901 although proscribed by amateur rules, intense public interest and increasing demand for a match between the two respective champions, the amateur J. A. ‘Jack’ Jarvis, and the professional J. J. ‘Joey’ Nuttall, was such that it threatened the legitimacy of the ASA’s ruling.On the evening of 11 September 1901, Jarvis and Nuttall swam for their respective amateur and professional 500 yards championship titles. Although held in baths 180 miles apart, the shared experience of simultaneity created a ‘third space’ in which the two men were brought together outside the conventional frameworks of time and space and the constraints of the amateur/professional divide. This paper explores the material and representational spaces and meanings of the 1901 Jarvis-Nuttall ‘match’ created by the press.
Geoff Swallow lives and works in St Ives, Cornwall. He is working towards the completion of a part-time PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University on mobility, modernity and identity on the West of England circuit of annual swimming matches, 1863-1913. His research interests include the social and cultural history of sea bathing, surfing, and water polo
Future speakers are as follows:-
27th Apr 14th June 2021 Dr Clare Tebbutt (Trinity College Dublin)
Debates about sex differentiation in 1930s women’s sport, and their resonance today.
28th June 2021 Sam Brady (Glasgow University)
Sporting Wheelchairs: A technological and political history
This is only the one of a number of series of stimulating talks to be held at the IHR across a range of disciplines. For up to date details of seminars forthcoming in 2021 go to the IHR’s website.
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).