July

1970: First Commonwealth Games in Scotland

Brochure for the 9th Commonwealth Games, July 1970

Brochure for the 9th Commonwealth Games, July 1970.

Get ready to see the Bolt in action!  In July 2014 the Commonwealth Games are coming to Glasgow.

But did you know this is actually the third occasion Scotland has hosted the competition?  The 1970 and 1986 events were both held in Edinburgh.

Bank of Scotland had close involvement in the first Scottish games.  Its Treasurer, James Letham, was on the Main Organising Committee.  Several files of his papers from this period survive in the Bank’s archive.  They provide some fascinating insights.

For example, the Committee had to raise £500,000 for the event (around £5 million today).  Fund-raising activities of all kinds were organised – including a premier screening of the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

More than 1,800 competitors and officials took part, from 40 countries – a record number.  Nine sports were represented:  athletics; badminton; bowls, boxing; cycling; fencing; swimming and diving; weight-lifting and wrestling.  Tickets for events ranged in price from 5 shillings (£2.50 today) to £5 5 shillings (£54).

Athletes from around the Commonwealth were served up various Scottish delicacies by the Catering Committee, including 'Angus Steaks, Haggis and Herring'.

The 1970 Games were also the first to be given worldwide colour TV coverage, via satellite.

Return to This Month in History to see further events.