Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 12.29.14A NEW network celebrating the region’s rich sport and leisure history and heritage is being launched in Middlesbrough.

Acclaimed sports writer and journalist Harry Pearson will be guest speaker at the inaugural event of the British Society of Sports History’s (BSSH) North East & Yorkshire Network.

The symposium on Saturday, November 14 takes place at Teesside University in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Tees Transporter Bridge Visitor Experience Project.

The event marks the recent formation of the BSSH’s regional Network which will provide a platform to encourage wider interest in the area’s diverse sport and leisure history and heritage. 

Keynote speaker Harry Pearson, who received an Honorary Doctorate from Teesside University in 2012, has written a number of well-received sports books and been a regular contributor to The Independent, The Guardian and When Saturday Comes.

Pearson’s The Far Corner was shortlisted for the 1995 William Hill Sports Book of the Year, while Slipless in Settle won the 2012 MCC Book of the Year Award.

Other papers will explore a variety of topics including the River Tees’ history of ‘extreme sports’ and the Tees Transporter Bridge’s emergence as the UK’s leading heritage hub for bungee jumping, abseils and zip slides.

Teesside University’s Mike McGuinness, co-organiser of the symposium, said: “It is a coup for Teesside to host the first BSSH North East and Yorkshire network event.

“In securing Harry Pearson as the keynote speaker, this first event is sure to be popular and will provide a fascinating insight into the links between urban leisure, history and heritage.

“In recent years the area has embraced its sporting heritage with the Ayresome Park sculpture trail, the Brian Clough memorial statue, while there are also plans for a snow centre on the historic industrial site at Middlehaven.”

Fellow co-organiser and Tees Transporter Bridge Education Officer Tosh Warwick added:

“We are delighted to support the BSSH North East and Yorkshire event alongside

Teesside University. 

“The symposium provides a platform to engage new audiences with the story of the Transporter.

“As part of the event we hope to highlight how the Bridge’s recent emergence as a key site for extreme sports is part of a longer tradition of sport on, alongside and above the ‘steel river’.”

Symposium organisers are inviting submissions for papers of 20 minutes in the form of abstracts no longer than 500 words.  These should be sent to mike.mcguinness@tees.ac.uk and tosh_warwick@middlesbrough.gov.uk by Friday, October 2.