Sir Roger Bannister; Sir Christopher John Chataway

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Sir Roger Bannister; Sir Christopher John Chataway

by Central Press
bromide print, 6 May 1954
8 7/8 in. x 7 in. (226 mm x 177 mm)
Given by IPC Newspapers Limited, 1971
Photographs Collection
NPG x45737

On display in Room 28 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sittersback to top

  • Sir Roger Bannister (1929-2018), Physician and middle distance runner; Olympian and first person to break the four minute mile. Sitter in 4 portraits.
  • Sir Christopher John Chataway (1931-2014), Politician; MP for Lewisham North and Chichester, television broadcaster and middle and long distance runner; Olympian. Sitter in 17 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Central Press, Photographers. Artist or producer associated with 104 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This photograph commemorates the historic moment in 1954 when Bannister ran a mile in under four minutes. Chataway acted as one of his pacemakers. Both runners studied at Oxford University and had competed in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1954back to top

Current affairs

Roger Bannister runs the four-minute mile. Bannister was the first man to achieve the 'miracle mile', a feat that was thought by some to be impossible, beating his rival, the Australian John Landy, to the record. Bannister went on to a career as a distinguished neurologist.
Food rationing ends in Britain.

Art and science

J.R.R. Tolkien publishes the first two parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. Tolkien was an Oxford professor of Anglo-Saxon language and literature and drew on his scholarly interests in history, language and mythology to create the fictional land of Middle Earth where the books are set.
Williams Golding publishes, Lord of the Flies.


The South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) is established in Bangkok. This international defence organisation was established as part of the 'containment' policy of limiting the influence of communism. SEATO was, however, found to be ineffective as the member organisations failed to agree on combined action; it was disbanded in 1977.

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