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The Polytechnic Harriers was founded by philanthropist Quintin Hogg in 1883. He was a firm believer in the health-giving and character-building qualities of sport. He also enjoyed taking part in them; especially playing football. He provided the facilities for a range of different sports and actively encouraged members to participate. They were open clubs and the membership was wider than the student body. The Polytechnic Harriers were formed in 1883, they were known for four years as the Hanover United AC, and were the athletics arm of Quintin Hogg's Regent Street Polytechnic.
The active promotion of sport, combined with the generous provision of facilities at the Polytechnic Clubs, made sport accessible to large numbers at a time when many sports (such as football) were becoming organized for the first time and local, national and international competitions were beginning to develop. As the Clubs grew, talented athletes and some notable coaches were attracted to them. Remarkable success came from this strong base: the Clubs have won at least 50 Olympic medals, 10 world and 175 national championships. The wider membership was able to take part in sport they also could enjoy the social life that included concerts, dances, excursions and parties. This all was a feature of Polytechnic Clubs.
The Polytechnic Harriers were the most remembered and celebrated out of the many sports clubs that arose from the Regent’s Street Polytechnic. The Polytechnic Harriers were based at the Chiswick track, but their name confirmed that they were connected to this important educational and sporting institution. The Polytechnic Harriers was a male only club. In 1985 The Polytechnic Harriers merged with The Royal Borough of Kingston AC, a women's club that evolved from Surrey AC, and it is now known as Kingston AC and Polytechnic Harriers (Kingston & Poly). The Polytechnic's Kinnaird and Sward Trophies are still contested annually at Kingston & Poly's home track - Kingsmeadow. The Polytechnic Marathon is no longer held, having been superseded by the London Marathon. Kingston & Poly's men now compete nationally in the British Athletics League and, at area level,the men and women operate jointly in the Southern Athletics League.
- Kingston Athletics Club & Polytechnic Harriers History of the club 03-07-2007 Archived June 19, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- "University of Westminster'' Polytechnic Harriers 1896-1985''". Aim25.ac.uk. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
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