Thomas Swindlehurst - The Family Olympian!

(Found, researched and contributed by our very own Dyanna Swindlehurst.)
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Thomas Swindlehurst was a member of the Liverpool Police Tug o' War team which won the silver medal at the 1908 Olympic Games.

Originally there were 7 entries for the event - 3 British, USA, Sweden, Germany and Greece - but the German and Greek teams withdrew thus reducing the field to 5. Because the competition necessarily needed 4 (or a multiple of 4) teams an elimination was required.

This eliminator was between the Liverpool team and the Americans. Liverpool won the first pull easily, but the USA lodged a protest on the ground that the Liverpool police had worn their service boots. The protest was dismissed, and the USA went off in a sulk. This left the 3 British teams and Sweden in the competition. In the semi-finals Liverpool Police beat Sweden 2-0 (it was best of 3) and City of London Police beat Metropolitan Police "K" Division by the same score. In the final City of London took the Gold Medal beating Liverpool 2 - 0 and "K" Division were awarded the Bronze Medal when the Swedish team failed to show up for the Tug.

(As identified at 11th June 2011) there were only two Thomas Swindlehursts born in 1874. (1) Thomas Swindlehurst. Preston 1st quarter ref 8e 629. This date does not match. (2) Thomas Swindlehurst Lunesdale 2nd quarter ref 8e 764 gives the right date. He was baptised 5th July 1874 at St Michael the Archangel, Whittington, Lancashire, England:

The wording on the marriage certificate of Sarah Jane Shepherd to James Swindlehurst is "1873 marriage solemnised at the Parish Church in the Parish of Akholme in the County of Lancaster on 21st (month illegible but could be March) between James Swindlehurst (of full age) a bachelor farmer of Whittington. Father - Thomas Swindlehurst Farmer to Sarah Jane Shepherd (of full age) spinster of Arkholme - father Robert Shepherd Farmer. Married by licence by the Vicar W B Garside (unclear surname) with witnesses Jonathon Shepherd and Margaret Ellen Shepherd".

It is probable that Thomas's father James died as follows as the dates all fit:

Source: LDS Film 1796146
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James' family, including his widow Sarah Jane Swindlehurst with the young Olympian Thomas, appear in the 1881 census for Beetham, Westmorland, Railway Refreshment Rooms.