Professor Mike Huggins
Writer on sports history, leisure history
and the history of popular culture
Emeritus Professor of Cultural History at the University of Cumbria.
I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Fellow and former President of the European Committee for Sports History, and on the editorial consultancy boards of five peer-reviewed academic leisure and sports history journals in Britain, France, the USA and South America. I’m a former Senior Review Editor of the International Journal of the History of Sport and a former Chair of the North American Society for Sport History Book Award Committee.
I’ve given invited addresses and keynote speeches at many universities across Europe, Britain, the Far East, Australia and North America.
I was proud to win the prestigious NASSH book award in 2000 for Horse Racing and British Society 1790-1914, the best book on sport history published that year. In 2022 Bloomsbury’s six book collection, A Cultural History of Sport, including my edited book on the Age of Industry, was one of the three finalists in the NASSH Anthology award.
I was given the International Society for Sport History and Physical Education Award in 2009 for my ‘outstanding scientific contribution to the history of sport’.
I was elected a Fellow of the British Society for Sports History in 2017 for my ‘outstanding contributions to the history of sport’.
I also had the honour of delivering the Sir Derek Birley Memorial Lecture at the British Society for Sports History Conference at Swansea University in 2015. I am a long-standing member of the CESH Scientific Committees which oversee their annual congresses.
I have published a very wide variety of books, chapters and peer-reviewed articles on the history of leisure, sport and tourism:
- two book-length general histories of Victorian and inter-war British sport: The Victorians and Sport and Sport and the English 1918-1939 (with Jack Williams)
- general books on Victorian leisure. My well-received book The Victorians and Vice (Bloomsbury Press) was published in December 2015.
- Several specialist books and many articles on the history of British and American horse racing. My book Flat Racing and British Society 1790-1914 (Frank Cass, 2000) was well received as was Horseracing and the British (Manchester University Press, 2004). The third in the trilogy, Horse Racing and British Society in the Long Eighteenth Century (Boydell 2018) I finished more recently.
I have edited specialist collections. These relate to:
- to less respectable middle-class Victorian leisure patterns: Disreputable Pleasures: Less Virtuous Victorians at Play, (Frank Cass, 2004);
- the upper classes and sport (Sport and the Upper Classes in Britain, 1450-1950 in Sport in History (September 2008)
- ; the complex inter-relationships between sport and visual sources The Visual in Sport (Routledge, 2011)
- the history of sport tourism ‘Sport, Tourism and History’, Journal of Tourism History (September 2013)
- match fixing in sport in historical perspective Match Fixing and Sport: Historical Perspectives (Routledge 2020)
- and A Cultural History of Sport in the Age of Industry (Bloomsbury 2021).
- I have written many chapters and peer-reviewed articles dealing with twentieth and nineteenth century leisure topics such as British football; tourism and seaside holidays; sports gambling and bookmakers; the music hall; and the impact on sport and leisure of radio, newsreels, television, the press, the census and the railways. One of my essays, on British newsreels, soccer and popular culture, was viewed as the joint best article of 2007 in the International Journal of the History of Sport.
- I’ve deliberately set out to exploit many previously under-explored sources, including newsreels, comics and cartoons, dialect poetry, music hall song and even sporting gravestones, to find new angles on standard narratives, present material in new ways, or give voice to neglected groups and individuals.
- Beyond my national and international work, I’ve produced regional and local studies of sport, leisure and tourism in the north-east and north-west of England.
- I’ve written about PE in schools
I’ve talked about my enthusiasms on radio and TV, as well as done many invited conference presentations across the world: in America, the Far East, Europe and Britain.
For an example of one of my lectures about the debates over gambling on the Home Front during the Second World War see Mike Huggins – http://youtu.be/zkKCRlEgcjY.
For an example of a podcast for the National Trust see https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/125-treasures-podcast-series Episode no.2 The Horse on the Stairs.
For an example of advisory work for organisations see https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/sport/19371867.worlds-oldest-grandstand-removed-common-land/
In October 2021, I gave the first hybrid lecture on the History of Racing in Richmond to the Richmond and District Civic Society. The lecture, at Richmond School, was both face to face and on Zoom and can be viewed on https://www.richmondcivicsociety.org/programme. (I was a major catalyst to the book ‘A Short History of Richmond Racecourse and its Grandstand‘, published in June 2021).
I have regularly refereed submitted books and book proposals for leading publishers including Routledge, Ashgate, Blackwell, Bloomsbury, McGill/Queens University Press, UCL Press, Frank Cass, University of Virginia Press, University of Texas Press, and Manchester University Press.
Like many other academics I have carried out external examinations and consultancy, and reviewed articles or books for many different academic journals, including International Journal of the History of Sport; History; Urban History; Rethinking History; Sports History Review; Communities, Work and Families; History of Education; Society and Animals; Sport and Tourism, Sport in History; Journal of Sport History; Sport, Culture and Society; Irish Historical Studies, Cultural and Social History, Tourism Management; Olympika: International Journal of Olympic Studies; National Identities; Amodern; Stadion; The Local Historian, and Victorian Review.
I’ve also got qualifications, experience and expertise in primary education and as an educational researcher. I’ve published in educational and curriculum studies journals and collections. In the 1980s and 1990s I was first a Principal Lecturer at Charlotte Mason College, Ambleside and then Head of Post-graduate Teacher Education at Lancaster University. For some years I was Inspector of Schools for the English Office for Standards in Education, before joining the University of Cumbria.
I enjoy music and after work was over I spent many evenings when I was younger playing in rock, folk and ceilidh bands on guitar, mandolin and bass guitar. Nowadays I play less, though I still occasionally perform with my Sunderland researcher-colleague and singer-songwriter Keith Gregson, jam with friends, and play with a ukelele group..