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Football + sculpture May 2018_edited
Sculture plus tree leaves May 2018
Sculpture towards St Pauls May 2018
Sculpture towards Uni Arms and arty

Cambridge: birthplace of the laws of football.

Welcome to Cambridge Sports Tours

Cambridge Sports Tours logo
Tour Guide

Tour Guide

Experience. Nigel Fenner established Cambridge Sports Tours in 2017 and since then has provided tours and sporting experiences to corporate businesses, language schools, schools and the general public. He is also a regular speaker to local history societies and featured in Susan Calman's 'Great British Cities - Cambridge' on Channel 5.

 

Nigel is a qualified teacher, who has lived and worked locally for over 40 years mostly for local charities - with young offenders, people with disabilities, and more recently with young people excluded from mainstream education.

Safety. Nigel is DBS checked (criminal record check provided by the government) and can provide tailored risk assessments for school groups including up to date precautions for the coronavirus. Nigel has been double-vaccinated plus the booster jab against the coronavirus. Cambridge Sports Tours holds Public Liability Insurance for up to £1 million for guided walking tours.

Sport. Nigel Fenner was a student at the University of Cambridge where he played football against Oxford University at Wembley stadium, so securing his 'Blue'.

 

Nigel is also related to Francis P. Fenner, who as a local tobacconist and talented cricketer, created Fenner's Cricket Ground in the mid 19th Century.

Charity supported. Nigel supports Street Child United through a donation of £1 per paying walker. He also attended the SCU Cricket World Cup held in India in September 2023 as a volunteer.

Nigel Fenner outside Fenner's Cricket Ground
Cambridge University Football Team 1982
Local newspaper article entitled 'Out to find the Fenner connection' dated 1982

Tours / Talks

Tours
CSiFH tour

Walking tours - summary for 2024

  • Cambridge Sport: in Fenner's Hands (U3Ac course: 5 x 1.5 hour weekly sessions) - from 21 Feb. COMPLETED 

  • Boxing and Town versus Gown battles (1.5 hour tour) 19 March COMPLETED

  • Play-grounds of Cambridge (2 hour tour) 9 April NEW COMPLETED

  • Cambridge Sport: in Fenner's Hands (U3Ac course: 5 x 1.5 hour weekly sessions) - from 17 April

  • Muscular Christianity - good news for all? (1.5 hour tour) 14 May

  • Sporting heroes in Mill Road Cemetery (1 hour tour) 8 June NEW

  • Football's early local history TALK at Three Tuns, Fen Drayton. 11 June 

  • Theatre, literature and sport (1.5 hour tour) 22 June

  • Frank Fenner - hero or villain? (2 hour tour) 17 July

  • Olympic games and Cambridge (1.5 hour tour) 25 July NEW

  • Play Grounds of Cambridge (2 hour tour) Proposed Open Cambridge event in early Sept 

  • Cambridge's role in the sporting revolution that went global (2 hour tour) 24 Sept

  • Cambridge Sport: in Fenner's Hands (proposed U3Ac course: 5 x 1.5 hour weekly sessions) - from mid Oct

  • Women and sport (1 hour tour) Date and venue in Oct to be confirmed.

For further details on the above tours, scroll down this page.

SUMMARY:
2024 walking tours

Book your own sports walking tour / talk

Date and time to suit

Prices start at £125 for 1.5 hours walking tour - maximum size 20 people. Use contact form to request date, time and topic(s) - see tours / talks listed on this page for suggestions.

Talks to Local History Societies - prices from £45 + travel.

Talks already scheduled for 2024 for Royston, Cambridge Rotary (Rutherford), Linton, Warboys, Comberton, Over WI, St Neots, Houghton & Wyton.

EF Oxford outside King's College in 2018

Cambridge Sport: in Fenner's Hands - walking tour series

11-12.30pm Wed 21 Feb 2024, and weekly thereafter (for 5 sessions)

Cambridge was involved in shaping the British sporting revolution that went global in the second half of the 19th century, beyond just creating the modern-day laws of football and boxing, and sporting philosophies such as Muscular Christianity. This 5 session will walk across Cambridge visiting key sites to explore the individuals and sports that made up this revolution and the challenges they faced, such as the tensions between Town and Gown. Whilst Frank Fenner, a local tobacconist, and talented sportsman was initially able to bring Town and Gown together to play in the same teams, he later became a casualty of the revolution he helped to create. 

 

The course is led by Nigel Fenner, following the chapters in his book Cambridge Sport: in Fenner’s Hands that are also structured as a walking tour. The course is administered by U3AC and spread over 5 x 1.5 hour sessions.

This course will be repeated starting 17 April 2024 (and in the Autumn - TBC)

To book a place contact U3AC
 

Feb / March walks completed
U3AC logo

Boxing, and Town versus Gown battles - walking tour

Tuesday 19 March 2024. Start 10.30am Magdalene Bridge to 12 noon

The Queensberry Rules of boxing were written and sponsored by two students from Cambridge University, and first boxed for in Cambridge . They followed others such as Charles Kingsley, Lord Byron and Isaac Newton who also had an impact on boxing, in a town where tensions between Town and Gown often led to fighting and riots on the street, including a famous 'battle' in the early 19th Century.

Completed

Price £9 / head payable on the day - cash or credit/debit card.

PLEASE book at least 24 hours in advance

To request more details / to book use contact form

Sorry - there are no 'just turn up on the day' bookings

Bare knuckle boxing Newmarket Road early 19th century

Early Cambridge Play-grounds - walking tour

Tuesday 9 April 2024 - Start 10.30am near St Andrews Church, Chesterton

Seven play-grounds are visited, whose origins go back 150 to 1,000+ years - being bought to life with stories about football hooliganism, the largest fair in Europe, local young people's banter when seeing a sport played for the first time, a sport's first text book, and the devastating impact of the Enclosure movement. The walk will be just over 2 miles (4 km) long.

 Completed

Price £9 / head payable on the day - cash or credit/debit card.

PLEASE book at least 24 hours in advance

To request more details / to book use contact form

Sorry - there are no 'just turn up on the day' bookings

Football on Parker's Piece The Graphic October 8th 1887

Muscular Christianity: good news for all? - walking tour

Tuesday 14 May 2024. 10.30am start at Jesus College

Cambridge, in the second half of the 19th century, played a significant role in shaping sport as the world knows it today, not just 'drawing up rules' but in the 'development of sporting philosophies', such as Muscular Christianity. This 1.5 mile walk explores the role of Coleridge, Wordsworth, Kingsley, Darwin, F.D. Maurice ('the greatest Anglican of the 19th century’) and  others, as well as Muscular Christianity's impact on women playing sport, and the creation, and behaviour of the Gentleman Amateur. 

Price £9 / head payable on the day - cash or debit / credit card

PLEASE book at least 24 hours in advance

To request more details / to book use contact form

Sorry - there are no 'just turn up on the day' bookings

Charles Kingsley

Sport and Mill Road Cemetery, Cambridge

8th June at 2pm. 1-hour walking tour 

Visit the grave of one of the greatest cricket batsman in the world, and at least 15 others, some, sadly in unknown locations. Hear too about their families, and what the cemetery was once used for. All individuals feature in Nigel Fenner's new book, Cambridge Sport: in Fenner's Hands

Price: yet to be finalised 

PLEASE book at least 24 hours in advance

To request more details / to book use contact form

Sorry - there are no 'just turn up on the day' bookings

Headstones in centre of Mill Road Cemetery

Football's early local history - talk

11th June - starting 7pm at Three Tuns, Fen Drayton

East Anglia was 'the major stronghold for football in Britain in the 18th century', with a history going back at least 500 years. Local resident Nigel Fenner will give a 45 minute talk on the many lost local football pitches, the game's local name, 16th century hooliganism, Oliver Cromwell as footballer, 9 dead after a game - in addition to Cambridge University being not only the oldest football club in the world, but also contributing significantly to creating the modern-day laws of the game.

Price: FREE - donations for Fen Drayton Sports Pavilion fund

Peacham image from Winchester College 1612 recd 15 Nov 2020 edited to just football image

Theatre, literature and sports - walking tour

Saturday 22nd June 2024. 10.30am start at Midsummer Common

William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, and Footlights Theatre Company all had links to sport, and yet 'the Town' in particular suffered from the 'non-permission of local theatres' and other leisure pursuits, including at the largest Fair in Europe. The tour starts on Midsummer Common where the Midsummer Fair will be boasting not just an 800+ year history, but the first known mention of sport in Cambridge.

Price £9 / head payable on the day - cash or credit/debit card.

Minstrels at Stourbridge Fair in 15th Century - painting in Newmarket Road underpass

Frank Fenner: hero or villain? - walking tour

17 July - start 10.30am on Market Square, Cambridge

“Fenner’s” is well known in Cambridge, even amongst those who know little about cricket, but being named after the University Cricket Ground is currently Frank Fenner’s only legacy, and yet he lived though, and perhaps shaped a sporting revolution out of Cambridge that went global. When he died in the late 19th century no obituary was published in local papers – why?

This 2 hour tour visits where Frank worked (tobacco shops, some including sports facilities etc), lived and played - sharing his highs ('By Appointment' to the Prince of Wales...) and lows (the missing £4,000?)...

Price £9 / head payable on the day - cash or debit / credit card

PLEASE book at least 24 hours in advance

To request more details / to book use contact form

Sorry - there are no 'just turn up on the day' bookings

F P Fenner as an old man

Olympic Games - walking tour

Thursday 25 July 2024 - 10.30am start on Magdalene Bridge

The first known attempt to stage the Olympic Games in Britain occurred in the 16th century very close to Cambridge. This 1 mile (nearly 2km) walking tour over 1.5 hours also explores the Chariots of Fire story (from the 1928 Paris Olympics), the very large number of Olympic medals won by University students, the only winner of an Olympic medal and a Nobel Prize, and how Tennyson's poem Ulysses was used at the London Olympics 2012.

It is planned the walk will end at the Fitzwilliam Museum providing opportunity to view the Paris 1924: Sport, Art and the Body exhibition - in advance of the start of the Paris Olympics 2024 on 26 July. (Image from Wellcome Foundation: front cover of Olympic Games Stockholm 1912 brochure)

Price - for walking tour £9 / head payable on the day - cash or credit/debit card.

Tickets etc for exhibition extra and yet to booked 

Nude male athlete on front page of Stock

Cambridge's role in the sporting revolution that went global - walking tour

24 Sept 2024 - 10.30am start at Magdalene Bridge

University students in the second half of the nineteenth century, have been credited with being responsible for a sporting revolution growing out of Cambridge that had ‘extraordinary global consequences: political, cultural, economic, aesthetic, emotional and spiritual’. John Major (previous Prime Minister) considered it ‘as significant as the
agricultural and industrial revolutions Britain launched in the century before’.

This 2 hour walking tour will explore Cambridge's role in creating the laws for football and boxing as well as Muscular Christianity (as a key sporting philosophy), as well as unheralded 'Town' involvement and how and why the revolution went global.

Price £9 / head payable on the day - cash or credit/debit card.

1848 sculpture front
Leno's boxing gloves hanging off railings outside Magdalene College #4 22 Oct 2022

Women and Sport - walking tour

October date and venue - TBC

Despite nearly half of the first 16 Colleges in Cambridge being founded by women it took hundreds of years before women students had parity with men. Find out also about the disastrous early attempts by students at Girton to play football in the 1870s, and which sport subsequently made the greatest contribution to their physical liberation.

(Photo shows the Cambridge United, and University Women's teams who played against each other at the celebration of the unveiling of the 'Football Rules - 1848' sculpture on Parker's Piece in 2018.)

Price: FREE

Cambridge  United and Cambridge University Women football teams on Parker's Piece 2018
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Contact

If you would like to book a walking tour or just want more information please fill out the form below and SEND it - thank you.

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