The Cardiff 1958 British Empire & Commonwealth Games - We Are England
The Cardiff 1958 British Empire & Commonwealth Games
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The Cardiff 1958 British Empire & Commonwealth Games

Cardiff became the second home nation to host the Games and England kept to their winning ways.

Wales faced financial problems in staging the Games and the Commonwealth Games Council for England (CGCE) immediately pledged its full support to the Organising Committee. As CGCE Chairman the Earl Beatty wrote in his official report of the Games, "...despite the inevitable strains of national rivalry, the four countries in the United Kingdom worked together in harmony."

With the Games next door to England a full team would have to be assembled which posed problems never before encountered. CGCE shared its offices with the British Olympic Association - who were preparing to send a Great Britain team to the Rome Olympics - and money would have to be raised to not only put a full team of athletes and officials together, but to administer it with new offices and members of staff as well. Then there was the question of hosting other nations when they arrived in London before heading on to Cardiff.

Following extensive consultation with appropriate London authorities it was decided that the city would host all overseas teams, and in the spirit of 'the Friendly Games', England hosted a 'London Welcome Week' which was well received by all who attended.

Above: Stanley Eldon in the six mile event

As for the 202 English athletes, 29 gold medals were won, two more than rivals Australia meaning a second successive first place finish in the final table. A common theme of England's fencing team dominating was repeated, this time with a clean sweep of all the gold medals on offer and the great Bill Hoskyns in fine form.

In aquatics, diving brought notable successes with Charmian Welsh picking up both women's titles, meaning England won three of the four gold medals in all. Confronted by the record-breaking Australian swimming team England struggled, but Anita Lonsbrough won two gold medals to take her Games tally to five from two.

In athletics England picked up both the men's and women's 4x110yards titles but were overshadowed by a dominant Australian team.

The Games closed with what was described by the CGCE Chairman as 'an impressive, if somewhat unrehearsed Closing Ceremony' and the show moved on to Perth.