Exhibition aims to explore sporting history in new ways

Success is combined with feminine whimsy as royals tell tales of young sportsman’s ancestry in castle makeover

A new exhibition aims to explore Britain’s sports history in a new way, through the centuries, and through the eyes of the sport’s greatest champions.

Up Here! Cricket at the Centre of Excellence in Buckinghamshire shows the moment Her Majesty the Queen ascended the throne and shaped the course of British sport’s history.

Also under the spotlight is the King Richard III who, historians believe, was killed during a battle near Leicester but buried with the family’s support in a Leicester church.

The exhibition, which opens on Monday at the centre in Eton Path, explores England’s sporting heritage since the first world war and how it has been informed by the idea of home and local.

There are behind-the-scenes stories of All England Club victories and highlights of England’s cricket campaigns.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is the attention to the details of cricketers and how the classic story of a young boy or boy wonder becomes a tale of fatherhood and the birth of a dynasty.

The exhibition was the brainchild of Keira Jennings, from Leicestershire who made her name on the tennis court while studying at Vassar college.

She left school to begin a practice law career and was advised to undertake some free-lance photography to increase her profile.

She was given the job of working as a photographer on the rugby international against Ireland in 2014 and decided to devote herself full-time to becoming a sportswoman.

She said: “For a year after school I worked as a photosar by day and then a designer by night. But then, in 2014, I decided to give the photography a go full-time. For the first time I was genuinely involved in something from start to finish.

“I worked with the Rugby Football Union and the England women’s rugby team and also went to all England players’ houses and worked from there.

“To be honest the wide-eyed, innocent girl I was when I started off is nowhere near as me now. Now I know what I am doing.”

Jennings has visited the exhibition three times. She said: “It’s very educational, and there are brilliant things about what went on during the years of the second world war.”

Jennings was captivated by the way the men and women played the game and how there was always a lot of love and respect.

She said: “You have to hand it to the scientists, they are fascinated with it and make our lives more enjoyable. But we want to pass on the romance and respect and individuality that I think is missing at the moment.”

The exhibition is a collaboration between the centre and the Earl’s College rugby club, which has produced an exhibition of photographs in which players, coaches and commentators are looking back at their memories from the past 100 years.

There are six rooms filled with photographs and audio-visual technology.

The exhibition closes in February.

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