Arthur Wharton Foundation Celebration

Blog post by Shaun Campbell (5 minute read) – Saturday 3rd July 2021

Arthur Wharton World Record

Today marks the 135th anniversary of a remarkable day in history.

On 3rd July, 1886, Arthur Wharton became the worlds first official fastest man on the planet. The 100 yard World Record was set which stood for over 30 years.

The Arthur Wharton Foundation Celebration Video is in commemoration of that historic day.

The video is introduced by way of a short video to the first verse of ‘Song for Arthur’, written by James ‘Jimmy Blue’ Emmerson, from Darlington.

Produced by yours truly, sung by the great Ruby Turner MBE and accompanied by Jazz Pianist Dean Stockdale (also from Darlington), the music and lyrics are set against the back drop of the filming of the now iconic Mural of Arthur Wharton in Darlington.  This video production was kindly put together for us, by our friends and allies, at BT Sport.

So Remember The Name:   “ARTHUR WHARTON”

World Record at Stamford Bridge

Competing under the banner of Darlington Cricket Club, Arthur travelled to Stamford Bridge, London (now historic home to Chelsea Football Club) to compete in the AAA National Championships. He won his 100yds heat by six yards and only half an hour later, in front of 2000 people, lined up for the final.

He won by a yard from Charles Wood who was half a yard in front of Frank Richie. By reaching the tape first the Arthur Wharton secured the Prince Hassan Cup worth £50, first presented in 1871. Arthur’s winning time of 10 seconds made him the talking point of the day. Incredible that this time had been achieved in BOTH heat and final – on the same afternoon – added further stature to this speed phenomenon.

A contemporary report helps us capture what was seen as an exotic and fantastic occasion on account of Arthur’s participation. Although it self-consciously respects Arthur’s “otherness” it at the same time illustrates the growing (and sadly continuing) habit of assuming different physiological attributes in people of colour.

Wharton is a gentleman from very sunny climes, and by no means a representative Englishman in appearance. If not a champion to look at, he is an extremely good one to go, and his colonial exhibition is very fine … he has a long, low stride, he does not seem to get on his toes in the style to which we are accustomed. I make some allowance for optical illusion, because on Saturday he wore untanned or unblacked [shoes] … of a brown some shades lighter than his complexion. These arrangements in colour caused the observer who was not very sharp to believe that the man was running barefoot, whereas he had merely fitted himself with nearly flesh-coloured pumps … His style of running is associated with men of colour, who as a rule have a good deal of heel. Wharton is a brunette of pronounced complexion …

source: Darlington and Stockton Times, 17th July 1886

Arthur Wharton - black and white photo
Arthur Wharton – Fastest man in the World

The Prince Hassan Pacha Cup

For a number of years this revered, now iconic trophy remained hidden in the basement of an athletics official. I remember the very day when I found that historic Prince Hassan Pacha Cup which Arthur won in 1886, and again in 1887. It was a ‘hallelujah’ moment. It was deeply touching on an emotional level…because it also brought me personally closer to the great man himself.

It was a great find of an incredibly important piece of sporting history, not just for the Foundation, but also for England Athletics, the AAA and the IAAF. 

In partnership with the Foundation, England Athletics announced this great find at their annual Hall of Fame Awards 2015, and invited me to speak on this very poignant, and significant occasion. There, behind me, on stage, was the very cup itself.

Historic winners followed Arthur

Emblazoned upon it, alongside Arthur’s name, were the names of all of those that had won it since, including; Linford Christie, Don Quarry, Alan Wells, Reggie Walker, Harold Abrams and Eric Liddle  (the latter two of the film Chariots of Fire) – distinguished company indeed!

To find out more about all of those historic winners of the AAA and National Championship Medallists, in the 100 yards / 100 metres, you can visit National Union of Track Statisticians or this great article Arthur Wharton: First and fastest – written by Chris Lloyd, Northern Echo.

Usain Bolt connects to Arthur Wharton

In 2019, I had the great honour to connect Usain Bolt to this historic trophy, in a meeting at Chelsea Harbour Hotel, London. To see Usain Bolt holding the very same trophy that Arthur Wharton held, was a very special moment. Connecting the current 100m/200m World Record holder (Usain) and the first 100yd World Record holder (Arthur), through the trophy, is another example of the Foundation’s motto….“Connect the Present, to the Past, for the Future”.

Usain Bolt and Shaun Campbell – Arthur Wharton #1

Enjoyed this post?

Please keep an eye out for more blog posts about Arthur Wharton and do let us know what you think. Also, if you are feeling charitable, please do visit our Just Giving page to donate to our building renovation appeal fund. Any donation would be greatly appreciated.

arthur wharton – MUSIC #1

Arthur Wharton

Blog post by Danny Howes – Saturday 12th December 2020

We have a special treat for you, on what has been a memorable day spent commemorating the 90th Anniversary of Arthur Wharton’s death in 1930.

A Musical Film: featuring ‘Arthur Wharton #1’s’ from a number of celebrated people from the music industry, including; Gregory Porter, Trevor Nelson, DJ Spoony, Ruby Turner, Eric Bibb, Christian Varela, Fekky, Firmz….and more!

Lyrics were written by James (‘Jimmy Blue’) Emmerson. Music by Steve Cropper (Booker T & The MG’s). Film produced by Robert Reeves.

The Arthur Wharton Foundation would like to thank everyone for their incredible contributions in making this amazing film. Shaun has played this music track to me so many times down at the Foundation, and to see this film for the first time today was very special indeed. We hope you enjoy it. We love it.

If watching this film makes you as happy as it makes both Shaun and I, how about visiting our new Just Giving campaign page that we have just launched, for much needed building refurbishment funds? Any donation would be gratefully received and help us with the many things that need attention, down at the Foundation in Darlington.

So turn up the volume, have a little boogie and even make a donation? Enjoy.

Arthur Wharton #1


Blog post by Danny Howes (10 minute read)

On Thursday 1st September 1892, Liverpool Football Club played their first game at Anfield against Rotherham Town. Lining up in goal that day for Rotherham Town, was none other than Arthur Wharton! Although Rotherham Town were reigning Midland League champions, Liverpool won the friendly match 7-1. Match reports state that it would have been many more if Arthur had not been playing.

World 100yd record holder plays in goal at Anfield

Remember at the time, Arthur was the World’s Official ‘Fastest Man on the Planet’, after running the 100yds in 10 seconds dead, at the home of Chelsea Football Club (Stamford Bridge, London) in 1886.

Fast Forward nearly 129 years (to the day) to Saturday 28th August 2021 and Liverpool FC are playing Chelsea FC in the Premier League. Two teams that Arthur never played for, but both of whom he has historically poignant connections to. Imagine if this was Liverpool’s first ever game, the equivalent would have been Usain Bolt playing in goal for Chelsea!

Standing on the Kop

Having supported Liverpool since the early 1980’s and a regular visitor to Anfield, it was an enormous pleasure of mine to be able to invite Shaun to the game on Saturday and give him his first ever Anfield experience. Watching the game from the Kop in our Arthur Wharton Foundation t-shirts, was a very special experience for both of us. Although the game finished 1-1, we had a fantastic day in Liverpool.

Liverpool Legend – Alex Smailes

People do ask me quite often how a lad from Darlington ends up supporting Liverpool Football Club….? It’s a fair question and one that I always reply with two words….Alex Smailes. For over 35 years, Alex was a scout for Liverpool FC in the North East, travelling the length and breadth of the country watching football. He also worked alongside my dad for the housebuilder Wimpey Homes on sites all over the north-east. Many a Monday night my dad would bring home a programme that Alex had picked up for me. Still to this day, I have no idea how he combined the two jobs!

Ex Liverpool Scout Alex Smailes holding the Arthur Wharton marquette
Alex Smailes at the Arthur Wharton Foundation – October 2020

Through Alex and his connections at Liverpool Football Club, that we were able to get Chris McLoughlin to write an amazing article on Arthur Wharton. The article was published in the club’s Official magazine in December 2020. Massive thanks to Alex for helping us get this arranged. You can access the article here

Hopefully one day the Foundation will be able to arrange a huge celebration of Arthur’s involvement in that historic game at Anfield. What a marvellous sight it would be, to see a flag being waved on the Kop with Arthur’s name on it.

Ghana Independence Day 2021


Blog post written by Shaun Campbell (2 minute read)

Well, its been quite a week preparing and realising the Ghana Independence Day celebration (6th March) Mural at our Foundation building.

For me, and for the ethos of what we do, this is an important day to recognise and to celebrate, as it is through the legacy of Arthur Wharton, that Darlington is forever twinned with Jamestown Accra, Ghana.

Jamestown, Accra is where Arthur Wharton was born and it was Darlington where Arthur made his name…and where he was thought of with great affection and respect. It was the people of Darlington who embraced Arthur, and sang a song ‘Wharton of Darlington’, when he returned to the club after a spell away playing for another club.

The Arthur Wharton Mural on Ghana Independence Day 2021

Aside from celebrating Arthur, there are many other dates to celebrate in a similar way – for example, the anniversary of his playing for Darlington FC – these same walls will be adorned by this history in July. We are so looking forward to this particular celebration as it marks the beginning of Arthur’s time in Darlington (1883).

July also marks the historic achievement of Arthur (running for Darlington) becoming the worlds first official fastest man on the planet, recording a time of 10 seconds dead for the 100 yds (now metres) in 1886.

Other historic & significant dates in the history of Darlington will also be celebrated  – Cummins, Cleveland Bridge, and the Railway included. We see these walls as an opportunity to educate, inspire, motivate, and enhance the area within which we reside. And so, the walls of the Foundation will constantly change, they will be a revolving reminder of the history of Darlington and its legacy to us, and the rest of the world.

Arthur Wharton – 23rd February 1895

Match details – sourced from the excellent The Stat Cat website

Blog post written by Danny Howes (5 minute read)

Arthur Wharton #1 for Sheffield United

Arthur Wharton – Saturday 23rd February 1895, started in goal for Sheffield United against Sunderland AFC.

This important Division One game was played at Newcastle Road, Sunderland, in front of an estimated crowd of 6,000. This was league match number 24 of the 30 game season, and remember, teams only received 2 points for a win and 1 for a draw. Bizarre to think that the ‘3 points for a win’ rule, didn’t come into effect until 1981.

It was a tough day for Arthur Wharton – it was his only game in the top flight for Sheffield United and he ended up on the losing side. Sunderland won the game 2-0, with Andy McCreadie putting Sunderland 1-nil up after 16 minutes, quickly followed by a second goal (on 18 minutes) from Johnny Campbell.  

Famous Footballers of 1895 in pictures

Amazingly, the Arthur Wharton Foundation have been able to find a number of pictures of players that took the field of play that day. These images were sourced from an 1897 publication of ‘Famous Footballer and Athletes’ (edited by C.W. Alcock & Rowland Hill, Hudson & Kearns, Photographers / News of the World). Arthur Wharton is included within the publication, but was then representing Rotherham Town.

All of these amazing images were originally issued in 14-page weekly parts, or as single sheets within the News of the World paper. Interestingly, these publications covered Association Football and Rugby, individual players and teams.

The Arthur Wharton Foundation have been able to source a bound copy of all of the weekly parts, which contains 224 images – including 108 Footballers. It is a fascinating piece of footballing history. It contains the well-known picture of our Arthur, which was the inspiration for Arthur’s face in his mural. Importantly, it places him alongside his peers – his fellow Professional Footballers. Many of the players Arthur played with / against, received international caps

Sheffield United players – including Arthur Wharton

Some interesting facts, about Arthur’s team mates that day:

  • Ernest Needham, Mick Whitham and Rabbi Howell – were all capped by England (check out the jerseys in the images above)
  • Arthur Watson, Ernest Needham and Mick Whitham – all lived in the same village (Ecclesfield), they played together for the village team and Rotherham Swifts, before moving to Sheffield United.
  • Rabbi Howell, or ‘Rab’ as he was known to the crowd at Bramall Lane, was born in Wincobank (near Sheffield) on October 12th 1869. Like Arthur, Rabbi was also a trailblazer. He is widely recognised as the first Romani to play for England, winning two caps. After leaving Sheffield United in 1898, he made 60 appearances for Liverpool, followed by 59 appearances for Preston North End.

Sunderland AFC – Football Division One Champions 1894/95

Sunderland AFC went onto win the league in 1894/95, finishing on 47 points, 5 above second placed Everton. Interestingly, only 2 weeks later on Saturday 9th March 1895 (match 26), at Bramall Lane, Sheffield United inflicted Sunderland’s heaviest defeat of the season (4-0).

However, Arthur Wharton didn’t play in this return fixture, replaced by the Sheffield United legend – William ‘Fatty’ Foulke. Arthur Wharton played three games for Sheffield United, friendlies against Lingfield and Leicester Fosse and this 1895 Division One game against Sunderland.

Certainly, there are more players in the ‘Famous Footballer and Athletes’ book that Arthur Wharton took to the field with during his career. We very much look forward to researching this.

Coincidentally, Sunderland won their 23rd February 2021 game against Fleetwood Town 2-0…… The very same result as the historic game against Sheffield United in 1895 – 126 years to the day!

Enjoyed this post? Please keep an eye out for more blog posts about Arthur Wharton and do let us know what you think. Also, if you are feeling charitable, please do visit our Just Giving page to donate to our building renovation appeal fund. Any donation would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You and Stay Safe.

Sources :

Mural Mural on the Wall

Blog Post written by Danny Howes (5 minute read)

Can you believe it? Only three months has passed since world famous mural artist Jay Kaes and a crew from BT Sport arrived in Darlington to film the painting of the Arthur ‘Kwame’ Wharton mural. Time has flown by and sadly due to Covid, many people have been unable to travel to Darlington to see the mural up close. Fingers crossed that ‘lockdown 3.0’ will be the last and we can all work on finding out what our ‘new normals’ look like.

Those visitors who have been fortunate enough to get up close to the mural, have been blown away by it. Many of them (young and old) ask us a number of similar questions. These include; how did BT Sport get involved, who was the artist and how long did it take?

So, I thought I’d use this blog post to answer some of these common questions, enjoy the read…oh and please do let us know if you have any more questions / comments / thoughts / observations (we love questions and feedback)!

  • How did BT Sport get involved?

Towards the end of September 2020, I connected with colleagues in the BT Digital Diversity and Inclusion Guild. Black History Month was due to start at the beginning of October and I knew the Arthur Wharton story would be of interest to my colleagues. So, I contacted Shaun Campbell to ask if he would be interested in meeting up. After a couple of Tweets and a phone call, Shaun invited me down to the Foundation HQ in Widdowfield Street, Darlington. On Friday 25th September, I popped down to meet Shaun (thinking I’d be there for 30 minutes). I was there for 5.5 hours! Over the years our local newspaper (the Northern Echo), had covered Arthur Wharton extensively. However, what Shaun shared left me astonished. His passion and enthusiasm, was also so inspiring and infectious. I wanted to help in anyway I could, to share Arthur’s story with everyone.

We recognised immediately that an organisation like BT and the (immensely) talented folks at BT Sport, would jump at the chance to support the Foundation. One idea that Shaun had was the painting of a mural on the gable end of the house on Drury Street, which opens up into a large yard at the side of the Foundation.

So, that weekend I pulled together a few slides about Arthur and the opportunities where BT and BT Sport could get involved. One of the pictures I shared was a picture of the yard wall, photoshopped with an old image of Arthur. This along with a few video calls and emails, sealed the deal! All senior managers were 100% behind the proposals. BT Sport understood it’s historical importance and significance.

In the space of two weeks BT Sport had mobilised a production team to travel to Darlington to paint the mural and record the process, which would be a key part of their ‘Black History Month: a Celebration’ programming. All of which would be unveiled and broadcast on 28 October 2020 – which was the 155th anniversary of Arthur Wharton’s birth in 1865.

The photoshop image which was shared with BT and BT Sport
  • Who was the artist?

The mural’s artist was Jay Kaes. He is Spanish, but now lives in London. It was Jay’s first (and hopefully not last) visit to Darlington. The BT Sport Creative team had a really clear brief of what they were looking for from a mural artist and settled on Jay Kaes. BT Sport and the artist worked closely with the Foundation throughout the design process.

Jay Kaes did an amazing job. To witness the proposed design transform from a WhatsApp image into a mural was fascinating. Please do check out his website here. His portfolio of work, all around the world, is incredible – he even has prints available to hang at home in his online shop.

Jay even spent a few hours of his time before he left for London, to paint a one-off triptych for the Foundation in a similar style to the mural. We cannot wait to get these framed and on display in Widdowfield Street. We love it.

  • How long did it take?

This is a very popular question! Jay Kaes and the BT Sport team arrived in Darlington on the afternoon of Saturday 17th October. Jay needed to get up onto the roof of the Foundation that evening, to project and sketch out the mural design onto the wall. In typical Darlington fashion, the heavens opened and gave us all a soaking. Jay worked quickly and was able to sketched out the mural in less than 3 hours. Everything was now ready for two full days of painting, on the Sunday and Monday. Everything went to plan. So all done in less than 2.5 days AND within 25 days of me first meeting Shaun.  

  • What does it represent?

The mural perfectly encapsulates Arthur Wharton through Jay Kaes technological style. A wonderful mix of photo realism and Jay’s contemporary art style. From the black and white stripes (representing Newcastle and Darlington), to the colourful ‘Kente’ cloth, to the Cleveland Challenge and Prince Hassan Cups (which Arthur won whilst living in Darlington), to the Ghanaian flag references (black star and colours), finally, to the bold white line that flows behind Arthur (representing Arthur’s power and ‘Trailblazing’ life).  

  • What does the Foundation think of the mural?

Pleased is an understatement…..! Honestly, a day doesn’t go by, without Shaun or I pinching ourselves that this mural actually happened. We are so proud of what BT Sport and Jay Kaes have done for the Foundation, in creating a fitting, permanent memorial and tribute to Arthur, in Darlington. Many visitors also ask what ‘Kwame’ means. The name Kwame is a boy’s name of African origin meaning “born on a Saturday”. Doing this was so important to the Foundation – a very powerful message and recognition of Arthur’s Ghanaian heritage.

  • When can I come and see it?

Due to current lockdown restrictions we are unable to grant access to the Foundation. When it is safe to do so, we will be opening the doors to give as many people access to the mural. Please do keep an eye out on our social channels and website for details. We really look forward to welcoming you!

  • Did Shaun Campbell or I paint it?

Absolutely not – it was all Jay Kaes work (although I do reckon Shaun has told a few people that he did it)! Whilst Jay was doing his thing, Shaun was busy painting the front of the Foundation white and I was busy pointing and painting the yard walls grey!


I do hope you have found this post of interest. Being part of the mural and supporting the Foundation are memories I will treasure forever. Even whilst having to adhere to social distancing measures, we were able to laugh and enjoy what we were doing. It involved some very long days, some very dry hands and lots of cups of coffee. Many local residents dropped off some of the finest Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi food for Shaun and I. We even had a surprise visit from the local constabulary, who gave us a fright of our lives as a van load turned up after a long day of painting!

Darlington Police paid us a surprise visit

The mural looks as fresh today as it did on the day it was painted – sharp, vibrant and meaningful. So, we can’t wait for more people to be able to see it up close. Until this time, stay safe and well.

Finally just wanted to add that we have a little saying down at the Foundation, which is: ‘Connecting the Present, to the Past for the Future’. We think that the mural does this perfectly – an amazing fusion of; Black History, Arthur Wharton and Art.

Thanks again to the team at BT Sport and artist Jay Kaes. The Foundation would also like to wish Jay Kaes a very Happy Birthday (19th January)!

If you have enjoyed reading this, then please check out these UK Street Art & Graffiti articles about the mural.

Arthur ‘kwame’ Wharton – 90 Year commemoration

Arthur Wharton's gravestone
Arthur ‘Kwame’ Wharton’s headstone – Edlington Lane Cemetery, Warmsworth, Doncaster

12th December 2020 – Blog Post written by Shaun Campbell

Today marked the 90th Anniversary of the death of Arthur Wharton, and what an emotional and poignant day this has been!

It was important to mark the occasion appropriately and what better way to do this than to ensure that Arthur’s headstone was put right, as it had the wrong date of his death on it since it was installed in 1997.

Arthur Wharton statue maquette, headstone and roses
The Maquette statue of Arthur Wharton at the graveside

Since that time, it was always recorded as the 13th December 1930, when in actual fact it should have been the 12th December 1930. I had asked for this to be corrected on a number of occasions, and could no longer trust that this was ever going to be done by those responsible for erecting the headstone back in 1997. The Arthur Wharton Foundation and Arthur’s family took the decision to do this, as it is an important piece of history that simply had to be put right.

Huge thanks to Craig Watson of Watson Memorials, Darlington, who undertook to do this with the greatest care and attention – and at no cost to the family or the Foundation, as Craig said “…this just has to be done, it is crucial that he is shown the respect he deserves”. Craig did this over a two day period earlier in the week and met myself and Danny at the site today, where we laid flowers and paid tribute – it was just beautiful. Even the torrential rain abated for the entire time we were at the cemetery, we like to think that Arthur had something to do with this.

Craig Watson and Craig Watson Jnr at the grave of Arthur Wharton
Craig Watson & Craig Watson Jnr of Watson Memorials, Darlington

On a personal note, this was the first time that I’ve visited the grave with a smile on my face and a sense of fulfilled purpose – the date had been severely bugging me for a long, long time now, and finally, this has been corrected!

Arthur ‘Kwame’ Wharton (Born: 28th October 1865 – Died: 12th December 1930).

Rest In Peace Arthur. Your legacy continues, with our mission to; “Connect the Present, to the Past, for the Future”.

Arthur Wharton – The Home Guard Soldier

During the First World War (WW1), there were many brave and committed individuals who served this country in whatever way they could – Arthur ‘Kwame’ Wharton was no exception to this.

Indeed, whilst paving the way for others in football, athletics, and a variety of other sports, Arthur Wharton was also dedicated to serving this country in its hour of need as a member of the Home Guard.

Today, 11-11-2020, we bring this little known fact to the attention of a wider audience, as both a tribute and a thank you to Arthur, and all the others who stood up to be counted during the turbulent times of WW1.

Armistice Day 2020 at the Arthur Wharton Foundation is a reminder to end hostilities in all walks of life and to work towards a better future for all.

The Foundation are currently researching Arthur’s service record about his time in the Home Guard. This is another important example of the need to connect the present, to the past, for the future.


Oh what a day….oh what a month….

Today is Arthur Wharton’s 155th Birthday anniversary and we celebrated him in style. The culmination of the last 4 weeks work in partnership with BT and BT Sport has produced lasting testament to the late, great Arthur Wharton.

Today saw us land the following:

1) a new re-platformed website – thanks so much to the D&I Guild in BT Digital for doing this. You all rock.
2) the mural….have you seen it? It’s incredible. JayKaes, we are so proud of what you have given the Foundation & the people of Darlington.
3) BT Sport Long Feature…..have you seen this? Find ANYONE you know that has BT Sport. What an amazing job from; Mike, Kevin, Rosie, Jeff. We love you all and are very proud of you. We are awaiting confirmation of the broadcasting schedule from BT, as the team were in Darlington filming the unveiling of the mural today. It’s going to be a MUST WATCH.
4) Arthur Wharton #1 – last but not least, an absolutely fantastic three minute Arthur Wharton #1 compilation – including some rather familiar faces & friends of the Foundation. Mike Rodgers – we salute you. Amazing Amazing Amazing. Proper goosebumps stuff and lump in throat. Well done, proud of your work.

All that’s left to say is a big thank you to everyone who has contributed towards making today such an incredible day.

Happy Birthday Arthur – 155th anniversary today. Memorable. Poignant. Significant.


Shaun Campbell meets Usain Bolt to share Arthur Wharton’s story

Usain Bolt with Shaun Campbell

Shaun Campbell, who campaigned to raise the profile of the world’s first black professional footballer, has ‘linked’ history with an invitation from Usain Bolt.  

Mr Campbell set up the Arthur Wharton Foundation and campaigned to honour Wharton with a 16ft bronze statue at St George’s Park, in Burton-Upon-Trent.  

Mr Campbell said the meeting with Bolt, who is widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time, had been years in the making. 

Mr Campbell said: “I have been wanting to meet Usain because he is the world record holder and champion and so was Arthur Wharton, who ran for Darlington.”  

Wharton was born in 1865 in Ghana and started as an amateur playing for Darlington FC.  

Mr Campbell said: “When Usain Bolt had a stint as a professional footballer, he had a synergy with Arthur – they shared a similar history. 

“I was able to tell him the full story of Arthur and Bolt absolutely got it. Being able to expand Arthur’s story and the campaign, it was all about ‘achieving in the face of adversity’.” 

Bolt held the very trophy cup that was awarded to Arthur Wharton during the meeting at the Chelsea Harbour Hotel in London.