South London Harriers

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Gazette - 125 Glorious Years

Taken from the November 2010 Gazette (vol 127 no 2)

Is the SLH Gazette the oldest continually published club sporting magazine in the world?  Who knows, but if it isn't, then it must be close to it.  The Gazette was first published in 1885, so this year we have celebrated 125 years of continual news, views and results.

An article on the very first edition was published in the Gazette in 2008, so there is little need to repeat what was said then.  Quite how many surviving copies of this original edition there still are, I do not know, but Ferdie Gilson certainly has one, and I was very grateful to him for photocopying it for me several years ago.

The original style remained largely unchanged since 2007, when it received a major make-over, as new technology and the needs of the readership took over.  The original idea was to produce something monthly, and this continued, off and on, World Wars allowing, to be the pattern until the Second World War, after which it dropped to five, then three, editions a year, and finally, more recently, to two.  That means there have been something over 700 editions produced during the 125 years.  Quite something for the historian to mull over.  

The original editor, G Lacy Hillier, was a bit of a cyclist as well as a runner, so he might well recognise his shared interest in the Tri Section today.  Evening runs were Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that hasn't changed, though it was from Balham back then rather than Coulsdon and Crystal Palace.  Membership was then around 300, which has more than doubled, but we were 'men only' back then, and probably had no-one under eighteen in our ranks.  Near the back was a report titled 'Football', which was a brief report of a rugby match between SLH and 'Old Citizens FC' which we won.  Who were they, and what happened to them?  The AGM and Annual dinner were also reported.  The latter was held in Holborn, would have been black tie, again almost certainly men only, and chaired by Viscount Bury, one of our many distinguished members.  

So, times and activities are somewhat different, and the role of the Gazette was then very much about transferring news, which has totally changed in our internet world with websites and emails.  However, the Gazette survives, now with photos and colour, and is sent out worldwide.  One has to speculate, will the Gazette still be around in another 125 years?  Then again, will SLH or athletics?

Peter Emery