A Taste for Diversions: Sport in Georgian England

By Dennis Brailsford

An essential text for students and general readers alike, exploring some of the most important years in the formation of our sporting heritage.

ISBN: 9780718829810


The Battle of Waterloo, it was said, was won on the playing fields of Eton. In his new book, Dennis Brailsford explores how this can have been so.

Here the acclaimed author of serious sporting history takes the first scholarly look at English sport from 1775 to 1815. The period from the middle of the eighteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth has been largely neglected by historians of sport, and yet it saw the establishment of all five classic horse-races, the founding of cricket’s ruling body, the MCC, and not only the first recognised championship in boxing but the first transatlantic challenger for the title.

Now scholars are beginning to recognise the significance of those years for our sporting inheritance, both its place in and its impact on society in Britain and in many of the outposts of Empire. Dr Brailsford has provided an essential text for academics and general readers alike.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 144
Illustrations b&w

Trade Information LGEN

About the Author

Dr Dennis Brailsford is the successful author of several books on sporting history. He was formerly Director of the North Worcestershire College, Bromsgrove, and then became an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham. He frequently visits and lectures in North America and Europe and has made a number of broadcasts on BBC Radio. He is a member of the North American Society for Sport History.



1. The Course and the Combat
2. Balls, Bowls and Beginnings

3. The Status of Sport
4. A Time to Play
5. Patrons and Promoters
6. Players and Spectators
7. Sporting Women
8. The Clubs and the Rules

9. Blood Sports and Bloodstock
10. Heroes and Enigmas
11. A Taste for Diversions


Endorsements and Reviews

This is an all-encompassing account with excellent research notes.
The Cricketer

Serious and scholarly yet enormously instructive and entertaining. Essential text for the student of sport.
All Sport & Leisure Monthly