building valuations




Roger Bannister


Running legend and Olympic hero!


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Please free phone us today on 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat on any property issues.


Why as building surveyors are we writing about Roger Bannister?

Well read on and you'll find out.

It is because Roger Bannister set new standards and made what seemed impossible possible and did literally open the door to a new standard of excellence which is what we like and admire so much in Roger Bannister. Without wanting to feel or sound too corny, or be strong on the sales and marketing pitch that is what we have been striving for at over the years. We look at what has been traditionally done and see if that is the best way and combine this with modern technology.

We were so pleased when we came across a Roger Bannister plaque when carrying out a recent survey as it gave us a good reason to write this article. It really does have to put into context how ground breaking the four minute mile was. It is these moments in time which change everything.


Early Days

Roger Bannister was born in Harrow in March 1929. He was educated locally in Harrow and then at University College Hospital in London. He studied at Exeter College and Merton College at Oxford University before moving on to St Mary's Hospital, London.


Plaque unveiled by Sir Roger Bannister at Paddington Recreation Ground , where Roger used to train, whilst studying medicine at St Mary's Hospital (now part of Imperial College , London )

Inspired to run

Bannister was inspired by other runners of the day, particularly Sydney Wooderson. Roger Bannister began running competitively whilst at Oxford University and after only three weeks training ran a mile in 4.24.6.

In 1948 Bannister was selected for the UK Olympic team but he declined the place as he felt he wasn't ready enough to take on the world and didn't want to let anyone down. He was determined to train hard and enter the 1952 Helsinki games.


Training harder

By 1951 Bannister had increased his training and ran a mile in 4.08.3, and later on in July at the AAA Championships in White City he ran a mile race in 4.07.8 which was a meet record.


1952 Helsinki Olympics

Bannister ran very well in training prior to the Olympics and felt satisfied with his form. However, they announced there would be semi-finals for the new 1500 metres race, which was equivalent to 0.932 of a mile. Bannister was aware that some of his competitors had trained specifically for this race whereas he had not. This knocked his confidence and unfortunately he only came fifth in the race. He did qualify for the final but he entered it with a great lack of confidence and Bannister finished fourth and was therefore denied an Olympic medal.


Carry on or not?

After the 1952 Helsinki Olympics Roger Bannister took a couple of months out to try and decide whether to quit competitive running or carry on. Thankfully he decided to carry on, not only that he had a new goal to be the first man ever to run a mile in under four minutes.

Bannister set himself a tough training regime and by May he felt he was ready to attempt the mile. On 2nd May 1953 at Oxford Bannister ran the mile in 4.03.6, which broke Wodderson's 1945 record. He was on his way towards achieving his dream.



Roger Bannister trained at the Paddington Recreation Ground

Other articles you may be interested in:


Places of interest in Oxfordshire

Oxford University

Cambridge University

Places of interest in Harrow

Hyde Park

Kensington Gardens


Who's going to break the four minute mile first?

Other runners got wind of what Roger Bannister was trying to achieve and attempted to run a mile in under four minutes before he did: Wes Santee from America ran it in 4.02.4 on 5th June and John Landy from Australia ran it in 4.02.0 towards the end of the year. The race was definitely on!


History in the making

On 4th May 1954 at the age of 25 Roger Bannister ran a race at Iffley Road in Oxford . It was spectated by about 3,000 people, all keen to see history being made. Roger's friends Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher, both well known runners themselves, acted as pace makers. The race was also being broadcast on the radio by the BBC, such was the anticipation.

With the crowd behind him Roger Bannister ran the race of his life and finished the race in 3.59.4. He had done it, the first man ever to run a mile in under four minutes, history had indeed been made.

A blue plaque now hangs on the wall outside the Iffley Road stadium to mark the momentous event.


World record holder but not for long

Unfortunately, Roger Bannister's record didn't last for long. Just 46 days later on 21 st June Bannister's record was broken when his long term rival Australian John Landy ran a mile in 3.57.9 in Finland .

Bannister was not one to be beaten, on 7th August 1954 Bannister and Landy raced against one another at the British and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, Canada. Landy led the race for the of the way but Bannister overtook him towards the end and won the race in 3.58.8, it wasn't a world record but he had the satisfaction that he could beat Landy and still run under four minutes.


Metric Mile

Roger Bannister later went on that year to also win the metric mile the dreaded new 1500 metres he had hated so much in the Olympics. This was held at the European Championships in Bern in Switzerland .

Later that year Roger Bannister was named Sportsman of the Year.


Enough's enough

Roger Bannister decided enough was enough and announced his retirement. He wanted to go out on a high and had achieved what he had intended to do.

After retirement Roger Bannister became a Doctor specialising in Neurology.



However, he may have retired but Roger Bannister's achievements were not forgotten. The Queen recognised his achievements and he was awarded a CBE (Citizen of the British Empire ). Then in 1975 he was awarded the ultimate accolade he was knighted by the Queen.

Bannister may have retired but he was still very much interested in the world of athletics and was one of the first men to initiate anabolic testing for steroids in sport.

In 2000 Roger Bannister unveiled a plaque at the Paddington Recreation Ground , where he used to regularly train.

Roger Bannister trained with fellow runners Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher

2012 London Olympics

50 years after breaking the four minute mile record Roger Bannister is still being recognised for this great achievement and carried the Olympic torch to where he broke his record. The running track has now been re-named The Roger Bannister running track in his honour.

2012 London Olympics

2012 London Olympic medal ceremony


More about us and Caveat Emptor, why have a Building Survey?

Caveat Emptor means Buyer Beware and is why we always recommend you have a building survey carried out on the property.

A building survey prepared by a building surveyor could literally save you thousands of pounds. The survey only needs to uncover one potential problem and the cost of the building survey is more than recovered.


The photos, sketches, circles and ovals in our building surveys

Throughout our survey reports we use many sketches and photographs to help explain pictorially the issues which we as Surveyors want to make you aware of. We also use circles and ovals on our sketches and pictures to highlight certain areas we feel are of importance.

The sketches we use are unique to us and we have sketches on many property issues.

An example of one of our sketches

An example of one of our photos


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Commercial Property Surveyors

If you have a commercial property, be it leasehold or freehold, then you may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site


We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

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