17/01/2012 06:07 GMT

2012 Olympics: Think Tank Says 1948 'Austerity Games' Olympians Should Be Honoured

Olympians from the 1948 games who missed out on recognition should now be honoured, a new think-tank has said.

As London prepares to play host to the 2012 Games, British Future is launching at the Museum of London in Docklands

The 'identity, integration, migration and opportunity' organisation has unveiled a special exhibition of Olympic memorabilia, including Olympic medals and the torch from the 1948 games.

Museum of London’s Dr Cathy Ross told British Future how the brushed aluminium torch was a "special design, so it is the flame and not the torch which is passed from one man to the next".

The functional design of the Olympic torch is characteristic of post War "austerity games", and is fuelled with eight cakes of hexamine which are delivered to the burner one by one through a spring loaded mechanism.

The surplus medals on show would have been melted down had they not been commandeered by the museum, as "they are not souvenirs which we want to fall into the hands of people who can lay no claim to them" explained the 1948 Olympic Committee.

By comparing what British people believe have changed between the Olympics in 1948 as 2012, it hopes to uncover different attitudes to the nation's identity.

The West Midlands is the region of England is most excited about the Olympics, with 75% believing it will boost

the British mood compared to 63% of Londoners.

The body's director Sunder Katwala said that there should be a wider celebration of the country's history. Katwala said: "Britain should use the Olympic and Jubilee year to know and celebrate its history as well as decide what this year's Olympics says about Britain in 2012."

"In a special Olympics honours list, all living medallists from 1948 should now be awarded an honour such as an MBE.

"Few have received them. By the time we put the flame out all these forgotten heroes should have been recognised"

He said the black sprinter McDonald Bailey should also be honoured after he only finished sixth in the 100 metres after suffering from laryngitis.

Medalists from 1948 never to be honoured include Dorothy Manley, John Peake, Tommy Godwin and Catherine Gibson.

However, more Brits believe that the Diamond Jubilee will boost the public mood, with 68% believing it will have a positive impact on the UK. It was a close competition, as 64% also said that the Olympics would be good for Britain's mood.

In the poll commissioned by British Future, Ipsos Mori surveyed more than 2,000 people. It found 44% agreed relations between ethnic groups are better now than they were in 1948, while 74% did not believe Britain was a more polite place.