Brian Hewson

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameBrian Stanford•Hewson
Used nameBrian•Hewson
Born4 April 1933 in Croydon, Greater London, England (GBR)
Died13 September 2022 in Cape Town (RSA)
Measurements183 cm / 63 kg
AffiliationsMitcham AC, Sutton (GBR)
NOC Great Britain


Brian Hewson started running after going to Mitcham Grammar School, and in 1947 won the Mitcham schools 440 yards title. As a result, he was awarded a scholarship at Mitcham AC, and in his first year at the club won the AAA Junior 880 yards title in record time. Hewson went on to win six senior AAAs titles, the mile in 1955 and 1957, and the 880 in 1953-54, 1958-59 to become the first man to win the title four times. In 1958 Australia’s Herb Elliott finished in third place. Hewson’s mentor was the legendary Austrian-born coach Franz Stampfl, who coached Roger Bannister to his historic four-minute mile in 1954.

At the 1955 British Games at the White City, Hewson finished third in what was dubbed “the greatest mile race” at that time. Prior to the race, only Roger Bannister and John Landy had run a sub-four-minute mile. After the race, a further three names were added to that list as Hungary’s László Tábori, and the British pair of Chris Chataway and Hewson all went under four minutes. Hewson clocked 3:59.8 and, in finishing third, made history as the first man to break the four-minute barrier not to finish in the first two.

On the International stage, Hewson competed in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics, with a best finish of fifth in the 1,500 metres at Melbourne, despite leading going into the final straight. Four years later in Rome, he was eliminated in his 800 heat when overtaken by three men after leading for 700 metres. Hewson won two British Empire and Commonwealth Games 880 silver medals, in 1954 and 1958. Just a month after winning the second of those medals, he enjoyed his finest moment by winning the European Championships gold at Stockholm in 3:41.9.

After the 1960 Olympics, and 20 international appearances behind him, Hewson retired from athletics and concentrated on his job in a Savile Row tailors, before opening his own company in the East End of London. He later became a sports goods buyer for Debenhams and was then involved in the design and manufacture of uniforms for leading national companies.

Hewson took up greyhound-ownership as a hobby in 1959, and the following year came close to lifting the sport’s top prize, the Greyhound Derby at the White City, but his runner Clonalvy Romance was narrowly beaten into second place. “Romance” also finished second in that year’s Welsh Derby.

Personal Bests: 800 – 1:47.0 (1958); 1500 – 3:41.1 (1958).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1956 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Brian Hewson
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) 5
1960 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Brian Hewson
800 metres, Men (Olympic) 4 h1 r1/4

Special Notes