Team GB coat of arms

The discussion board for all things concerning heraldry which falls under the jurisdiction of The College of Arms
User avatar
Arthur Radburn
Posts: 665
Joined: 11 Jul 2012, 09:56
Location: South Africa
Contact:

Team GB coat of arms

Postby Arthur Radburn » 28 Apr 2016, 14:35

Unveiled yesterday : the coat of arms of Team GB, the UK team for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games :

Image

According to the College of Arms website, the arms are being granted by both the College and the Lord Lyon.

There's a lengthy explanation of the design and its symbolism here : http://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/news- ... at-of-arms . Briefly :
* the floral emblems of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the shield
* four links of chain to represent the four-year periods between Games
* crest is a lion crowned with a laurel wreath and holding an Olympic torch
* crest coronet contains relay batons, and gold, silver and bronze medals
* supporters are lions holding Olympic torches and crowned with laurel wreaths
* motto refers to both national and sporting unity.
Regards
Arthur Radburn
IAAH Vice-President : Heraldic Education

User avatar
Chris Green
Posts: 2507
Joined: 10 Jul 2012, 13:06
Location: Karlstad, Sweden

Re: Team GB coat of arms

Postby Chris Green » 28 Apr 2016, 15:53

A singularly inventive CoA. If I have one criticism it is that the compartment/mound on which the supporters stand is just a grassy knoll. Given that the Olympics is about Winter sports as much as Summer ones, the compartment might reasonably have been 50/50 grass and snow.
Chris Green
IAAH President

Apohypaton

User avatar
Martin Goldstraw
Site Admin
Posts: 990
Joined: 21 Apr 2010, 17:27
Location: Shropshire, England.
Contact:

Re: Team GB coat of arms

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 29 Apr 2016, 10:54

There has been a lively debate about these arms on Facebook with many asking how a team could be granted a coat of arms. After a small amount of research I was able to ascertain that the grant was made to Team GB Limited, a company Incorporated on 19 October 1995 with two shares both owned by The British Olympic Association. The grant was clearly paid for by the sponsors as the company has never actively traded and has always filed accounts as a Dormant Company. It seems to me that the company was set up as a vehicle to originally apply for and hold the registered trademarks of "Team GB" which were registered in the early days of its formation and now it is the holder of a grant of arms.

I can't understand why they have included a symbol for Northern Ireland: This is actually Team GB, not Team UK. Great Britain does not include Northern Ireland. "Great Britain is an island that consists of three somewhat autonomous regions that include England, Scotland, and Wales". The UK on the other hand is described as Great Britain and Northern Ireland. On that basis, it is surprising that there is any symbol for N.I.

It is (IMHO) a typical example of attempting to be all things to all men and failing. Had it been Team UK it would have been OK to include a symbol for N.I. but we can't have a Team UK because residents of Northern Ireland can elect to play for either Eire or GB. So, once again there is political controvercy (which is not the fault of Team GB but whoever it was that came up with the idea of a a sporting Irish compromise which complicates borders and causes rows).

It is worth noting that this is a grant of arms to an English company representing the Team GB and this is the reason why, even though the arms were designed by the College of Arms, in order for them to be lawfully used throughout the UK there is also a simultaneous grant of the same arms by the Lord Lyon so that the company does not fall foul of the law in Scotland. It is unusual for the Lord Lyon to grant arms to a company registered outwith Scotland (this is a company registered in England and Wales) but as in all things, Lyon has complete discretion in these things.
Martin Goldstraw
Cheshire Heraldry
http://cheshire-heraldry.org.uk

User avatar
Arthur Radburn
Posts: 665
Joined: 11 Jul 2012, 09:56
Location: South Africa
Contact:

Re: Team GB coat of arms

Postby Arthur Radburn » 29 Apr 2016, 11:08

Thank you for that interesting information, Martin. I don't suppose it happens very often that both heraldry authorities grant the same arms (as distinct from a grant of arms in one being matriculated or recorded in the other). Hopefully, the Scottish grant will appear on LL's facebook page or twitter page fairly soon.
Regards
Arthur Radburn
IAAH Vice-President : Heraldic Education

User avatar
Martin Goldstraw
Site Admin
Posts: 990
Joined: 21 Apr 2010, 17:27
Location: Shropshire, England.
Contact:

Re: Team GB coat of arms

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 29 Apr 2016, 11:42

I may have to revise my original views. The initial press release stated quite clearly that the grant was made to Team GB and everyone (Facebook) was puzzled as to how a team could receive a grant so I did some research and found that the British Olympics Association owned a company called Team GB Limited - this of course would make it possible for Team GB to receive a grant of arms. If (as appears to be the case) new and contradictory information has been published then I shall have to revise my stated views (which I am happy to do). One can only base opinions on the information available.

The College of Arms has now published information that the petitions for arms were signed by the Princess Royal, President of the British Olympic Association, and HRH the Earl of Wessex, Patron of the British Paralympic Association. The CoA says the arms are "for the use of the British Olympic and Paralympic Associations" and refers to them as "the two grantee Associations". The two associations are independent charities.

Even if the grants were made to bodies called the British Olympic and Paralympic Associations, I'm not at all sure that Northern Ireland is included in the term British (though I personally wish to be fully inclusive ) . I am told (often) by my Northern Irish neighbour that whilst he puts up with being called British, a person from Northern Ireland is considered a UK national, but he/she shouldn't be called British (he being Irish). On that basis, we're back to square one over the inclusion of N.I. symbolism. I should add that in matters of nationality I am completely out of my depth and have no intention of upsetting anyone from any part of the UK.
Martin Goldstraw
Cheshire Heraldry
http://cheshire-heraldry.org.uk

User avatar
Chris Green
Posts: 2507
Joined: 10 Jul 2012, 13:06
Location: Karlstad, Sweden

Re: Team GB coat of arms

Postby Chris Green » 29 Apr 2016, 12:21

Here is the explanation for "Team GB" according to Wiki:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_GB

I was surprised to find that some Northern Irish sportsmen compete for Ireland, which is apparently allowed by the IOC.
Chris Green
IAAH President

Apohypaton

User avatar
Martin Goldstraw
Site Admin
Posts: 990
Joined: 21 Apr 2010, 17:27
Location: Shropshire, England.
Contact:

Re: Team GB coat of arms

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 29 Apr 2016, 20:35

The brand is seen as controversial by some for focusing on Great Britain, at the expense of Northern Ireland, with critics suggesting it be changed to Team UK, something the BOA has so far rejected.


I entirely agree (and so does my neighbour); if Northern Ireland is to be included (and I can't see why it shouldn't) it should be renamed Team UK.

It is obvious why the BOA has resisted a change from team GB to team UK ... because then it would have to be be itself renamed to the UKOA.
Martin Goldstraw
Cheshire Heraldry
http://cheshire-heraldry.org.uk

User avatar
Michael F. McCartney
Posts: 266
Joined: 24 Apr 2015, 23:34

Re: Team GB coat of arms

Postby Michael F. McCartney » 30 Apr 2016, 19:40

Just guessing from across the water - if the organizational structure were just being established, a ore technically accurate name would be fairly easy. However, since the organizations and names are already a done deal, changing namesat this point for merely technical reasons would likely be a huge headache, involving both corporations, the IOC, the tax people ( since they are charities), any number of corporate donors, and now the heralds in two jurisdictions; not to mention picking at two sets of ethnic and political scabs. Way too much trouble and risk for a merely technical matter of concern to a few folks.

Maybe if I lived in NI it would seem like a bigger deal; but my immigrant ancestor was in Pennsylvania by 1795 ... ;)

In any case, despite some criticisms on FB, I think the new arms are quite nice! - and IMO the use of flax to symbolize NI, rather than the Irish shamrock, is a good idea. The shamrock symbolises all of Ireland,while the team only draws from NI; and a design Incorporating shamrocks with roses and thistles is a bit too close to the old Imperial Tria Juncto in Uno of pre-independence days...
Michael F. McCartney
Fremont, California

User avatar
Arthur Radburn
Posts: 665
Joined: 11 Jul 2012, 09:56
Location: South Africa
Contact:

Re: Team GB coat of arms

Postby Arthur Radburn » 02 May 2016, 15:26

The flax plant seems to have quietly become Northern Ireland's floral emblem. It appeared on postage stamps back in 1963, and made its debut on coins in 1986. The Northern Ireland Assembly (established 1998) adopted it, and it represents NI on the badge of the Supreme Court of the UK, which was designed at the Lyon Office in 2008, approved by the Queen, and introduced in 2009.

The NI Assembly emblem :

Image

The Supreme Court of the UK badge :

Image

(Story here : https://www.supremecourt.uk/visiting/new-artwork.html and here : http://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/news-grants/newsletter/2008/item/47-december-2008-newsletter-no-19. Curiously, though, as can be seen in the same College newsletter, the badge of the Welsh Assembly, which the Queen approved in 2008, is surrounded by a wreath of floral emblems which includes a shamrock.)
Regards
Arthur Radburn
IAAH Vice-President : Heraldic Education

User avatar
Michael F. McCartney
Posts: 266
Joined: 24 Apr 2015, 23:34

Re: Team GB coat of arms

Postby Michael F. McCartney » 03 May 2016, 07:20

The Supreme Court badge was designed by the Lyon Office; while the Welsh Assembly badge was apparently designed by the English College of Arms. It would seem the two jurisdictions aren't quite on the same page!
Michael F. McCartney
Fremont, California


Return to “College of Arms”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest