Club History

History of the Club

For a great read about the history of this club, please see the following articles. Credit to Frank Davies, Arthur Fryer and Mike Holmes for compiling these.


We must never forget the debt the Club owes to three key members:
The future of Liverpool Harriers & Athletic Club was in some doubt just after the Second World War. Sporting activities effectively stopped during the conflict. Our Club went into hibernation and there was a real risk that it would never re-emerge. However, once peace had been restored, a concerted effort was made to rebuild, through advertising and the holding of athletic events. By the end of 1946 the membership had grown to 211 and the future was assured. Prime movers Charles Rice and Tom O’Mahoney had already achieved something of a miracle, but they kept on striving for more improvements for many years to come.

Our Club had no permanent home until 1993. For over 100 years, a succession of venues became temporary bases for the Club: mainly public houses around the Old Swan, Roby, Childwall and Woolton areas. This nomadic existence clearly inhibited the Club’s growth, especially among the younger age groups, due to the lack of a focal point incorporating the many facilities we take for granted today. The provision of our excellent headquarters at Wavertree Park (“The Mystery”) took a huge amount of planning and fund-raising. The construction involved many hours of effort by Club members, as does its on-going maintenance today. Several Club members have played major roles, but we owe the biggest debt to someone who was a great coach as well as a great organiser: Ernie Gallagher – the quiet power behind this achievement.


The BAL Story

The story of Liverpool Harriers’ participation in the British Athletics League, from 1970 onwards:
Some years ago, our most prolific BAL competitor, Mike Holmes, produced a hand-written account of our progress from joining the BAL in 1970 up to 1982 (our Club’s Centenary Year), when we finally reach the top Division. Unfortunately, the document was damaged and some parts became unreadable. Rather than lose such a valuable piece of our history, the readable parts have been typed up. Even with some gaps, it makes a good read . Hopefully the gaps will eventually be filled, from the memories of Mike himself and others who remember those times.

The BAL Story


Road Relay Victories in the 1970s

Road Relay Victories in the 1970s:
For a few years in the middle of the 1970s, our Senior Men’s Road Relay team were among the best in the UK, winning major honours. Up to then, only Mike Turner had achieved much success on his own, so being thrown into the limelight during this era meant a lot to the other members of the squad. Such successes also put the Liverpool Harriers firmly into the eyes of the press (to the point where Athletics Weekly reluctantly wrote “perhaps Liverpool really do have the best 6-man team in the country”!), which engendered great publicity for our Club and great pride for its Members.

Many people suggested we should document how this all happened. Eventually Frank Davies (an ever-present in the team of the 1970s) pulled together memories and press cuttings to produce an article which you can read by clicking the button below.

Road Relay Victories


Summary History of the Club

Founded in 1882 –  with the first ever recorded match against Birchfield Harriers in 1883.

Presidents – The club has had 9 presidents since 1882: H.P.Ellis, T.H.Blair, B.H.Baker,  J.C.Rice, T.J.O’Mahoney, Robert Birrell, Harold Benson, Mike Holmes and Mike Dooling.

1943 – 1970 Woolton Woods
1970 – 1980 Woolton Boys Club
1980 – 1990 Woolton Priory
1990 – present Wavertree Athletics Centre

Track and Field
1943 – 1948 Merseyside Association Boys Ground
1948 – 1960 Holt School Ground
1960 – 1990 Liverpool University
1990 – present Wavertree Athletics Centre
1992 Opening of Liverpool Harriers Clubhouse

Club Competitions
Several National Road Relay titles in all age groups
1994 – 1998 Girls National Track Team Championships
1992 – 1999 Runners up – National Track/Field Team(Boys)
1999 National Jnr League – Girls (3rd), Boys (4th)
Many years in National League – Men’s and Women’s teams

Best known administrators

John Charles Rice – Club Treasurer (1926-1930 and 1934 – 1992), Secretary NOEAA, Life President AAA England – Click for Tribute
Ernie Gallagher – Club Secretary (1984 – 2007) – Click for Tribute
T J O’Mahoney – Club Secretary (1956 – 1982) – Click for Tribute

International Athletes
53 Great Britain International Athletes
16 athletes have represented GB and NI/Eire in the Olympic / Paralympic Games
1956 – Ken Box : 100m
1956/1960 – Tommy Farrell: 400mh/ 800m
1968 – Joe Speake – 200m and 4 x 100m
1972 – Barry Williams – Hammer
1980 / 1984 – Geoff Smith – 10,000m / Marathon
1988 – John Woods – Marathon
1972 / 1976 / 1980 – Keith Oliver – Winter Games XC Sking / Biathlon
1992/2000 – Steve Smith – HJ
1992/1996 – Curtis Robb: 800m
2000 – Diane Allahgreen – 100mh
2008/2012 -Anyika Onuora – 100m/200m/Relay
2000 – Paul Brizzell – 100m / 200m / 4 x 100m
2000 – Paul McKee, – 4 x 400m
2000 – John McAdorey, 4 x 100m
2012 – Katarina Johnson – Thompson – Heptathlon
2012 – David Devine ( Paralympian) – 800m / 1500m (T12)
Numerous GB Junior Internationals

Best Athlete
Benjamin Howard-Baker – Olympic Games 1912 and 1920, also England Rugby and Swimming