After the six years of the Second World War, when sport of any kind was certainly limited, and at times and in certain places, non-existent, the cessation of hostilities brought fans of every sport flooding back into stadia.
The archetypal English game of cricket saw its first full season in 1946, and even the weather didn’t keep fans away. In 1947 there was test cricket against the South Africans, who were touring the UK for the first time since 1935. 1948 saw a 4-0 defeat in test cricket against the Australians and the decade ended with a tour by the New Zealand cricket team, resulting in a draw of all four test matches.
Summer 1946 also saw the first Wimbledon tennis championships after the imposed six-year break and other much-loved annual sporting events, such as the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, the Grand National, and the British golf Open Championship all returning to delight the crowds.
During the war years golf courses served a different purpose entirely… all over the United Kingdom they were converted to airfields or otherwise given over to anti-air and anti-invasion defences.
The World Snooker Championship was still held in 1940, then not again until 1946. Interesting to note that the famous snooker player, Joe Davis, had defeated his younger brother, Fred, in 1940 and then returned to win his fifteenth tournament in 1946 – the last time he played in the World Championship.
As far as football was concerned, fans enjoyed their first full Football League season in 1946-1947, although the Big Freeze that lasted from January to March 1947 meant plenty of matches were postponed, causing the season to run on until June.
And by the end of the decade some fans considered themselves lucky to be able to watch a football match on a television screen…
‘The screen measured nine inches square and the picture was black and white. Constantly there were white flashes and a muzzy picture, but the cameras followed every move the players made. […]it was better than actually being at Wembley.Austerity Britain, by David Kynaston
How times have changed!