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Eustace Miles

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Eustace Miles

Medal record
Men's Jeu de paume
Silver medal – second place 1908 London Individual

Eustace Hamilton Miles (22 September 1868 – 20 December 1948) was an English real tennis player, author and restaurateur. He competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics and was a diet guru who made his name selling health products and health advice to Edwardian Britons.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Miles was the grandson of Sir William Miles, 1st Baronet by his son Captain William Henry Miles, J.P. (1830–1888) and Mary Frances Miles, née Charleton. He was born at Hampstead and was educated at Eastbourne College, Marlborough College and King's College, Cambridge.[2] In 1906, Miles married Dorothy Beatrice Harriet Killick (nicknamed Hallie).[3]


In 1908, he won the Olympic silver medal at the age of 39, after losing the final to Jay Gould II, the bronze medal was won by The Hon Neville Bulwer-Lytton, later 3rd Earl of Lytton. Miles had, in fact, coached the much younger Gould during his stay in America from 1900 to 1902 when he became the first non-American winner of the US Championship in 1900. He won further the amateur racquets championship of the world in singles in 1906 and in doubles in 1902, 1904, 1905 and 1906; and of England in doubles as well as becoming amateur squash racquets champion of America in 1900. He was amateur real tennis champion of England in 1898–1903, 1905, 1906, 1909 and 1911 and amateur real tennis champion of the world from 1898 to 1903 and 1905.[citation needed]

Miles was a prolific author, including collaborations with lifelong friend E. F. Benson with whom he may have had a college romance,[4] on diverse subjects including health (e.g. "Fitness for Play and Work" 1912), athletics ("An Alphabet of Athletics"), diet ("The Failures of Vegetarianism" 1902), ancient history ("A History of Rome up to 500 AD, with Essays, Maps and Aids to Memory" 1901) and Classics ("Comparative Syntax of Greek and Latin"). He married Hallie Killick, also an author, and both engaged in philanthropic works including providing free food and clothing to the poor of London, available during winter months near Cleopatra's Needle, a charitable exercise supported strongly by Queen Alexandra.[citation needed]

A Boy's Control and Self-Expression, published in 1904.

Health and diet[edit]

Miles advertised and experimented with different fad diets. He originally embraced a uric acid-free diet but found it too restricting.[5] He later criticized this diet in a booklet The Uric Acid Fetish (1915). Miles also experimented with Edward H. Dewey's "No Breakfast Plan" but abandoned it in favour of his own "No Lunch Plan".[5]

Miles's comprehensive regimen combined abstention from alcohol with games, daily practice of gymnastics, personal cleanliness, breathing exercises, and meditation.[6] Miles promoted the concept of "mental hygiene".[7] Miles authored many books on dieting and vegetarianism.[3]

Miles drew publicity for his article on how to live on a diet of two plasmon biscuits and one lentil a day.[8] In 1904, it was humorously reported in Punch that during the semi-final of a tennis competition, Miles was surrounded by an angry mob who compelled him to eat a meat chop.[9]

Miles was known for promoting different vegetable diets. He became a vegetarian but refused to be identified under that label as he believed the practice of vegetarianism had many faults, he expounded on these ideas in his book The Failures of Vegetarianism. His diet emphasized grains, legumes and meat substitutes which he called "Simpler Food".[5] He published a monthly magazine, Healthward Ho! and was the owner of a vegetarian restaurant in Chandos Street, Charing Cross that was alleged to have served more than a thousand diners a day.[5] His restaurant is briefly mentioned in E. M. Forster's Howards End (1910). He also owned health food shops in London and two other restaurants, in Carshalton and Chelsea.[10] Although he expanded his business and his restaurant prospered during WWI, interest in his dieting ideas declined.[3] Miles later went bankrupt and sold his properties. When he died he left only £175.[3]

Miles has also been described as an advocate of lacto vegetarianism.[11] His ideas about dieting were criticized by medical health experts as impractical.[11][12] Physician William Tibbles suggested that "it seems almost impossible for any but the wealthy and leisured classes to follow his teachings thoroughly."[11]



  1. ^ "Eustace Miles". Olympedia. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Miles, Eustace Hamilton (FML887EH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ a b c d West Hampstead’s tennis world champion (and food fanatic). West Hampstead Life.
  4. ^ Masters, Brian "The Life Of E.F. Benson", Chatto & Windus, 1992, pp75-76
  5. ^ a b c d Whorton, James C. (2016 edition). Crusaders for Fitness: The History of American Health Reformers. Princeton University Press. pp. 260-262. ISBN 978-0691641898
  6. ^ Zweiniger-Bargielowska, Ina. (2010). Managing the Body: Beauty, Health, and Fitness in Britain 1880-1939. Oxford University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0199280520
  7. ^ "The Essay - Healthy eating Edwardian-style - BBC Sounds". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  8. ^ Addyman, Mary; Wood, Laura; Yiannitsaros, Christopher. (2017). Food, Drink, and the Written Word in Britain, 1820–1945. Routledge. p. 147. ISBN 978-1848936102
  9. ^ "The Danger of Being in the Public Eye". Punch, July 27, 1904.
  10. ^ "Even Edwardians suffered from healthy living". The Telegraph.
  11. ^ a b c Tibbles, William. (1914). Dietetics: Or Food in Health and Disease. Lea & Febiger. p. 243
  12. ^ Anonymous. (1920). Selfhealth as a Habit. New York Medical Journal 112: 602.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hallie Eustace Miles. (1930). Untold Tales of War-Time London: A Personal Diary. Cecil Palmer.

External links[edit]