“I’m Not So Black As I Am Painted” – The Violent Life of Jack Davenport (Part II)

Herbert Placke went down in history as standing nearly seven feet tall, although other reports suggest he was probably somewhere around 6ft 6, perhaps 6ft 10. Even without media exaggerations, the Dutchman towered over Jack Davenport, who was no small man for his era at 5ft 9. Placke had arrived in England from Australia and… Read More “I’m Not So Black As I Am Painted” – The Violent Life of Jack Davenport (Part II)

“I’m Not So Black As I Am Painted” – The Violent Life of Jack Davenport (Part I)

Jack Davenport was angry. The young American, fortified with drink and brooding over his wrongs – real or imaginary – threw punches indiscriminately as more than a dozen policemen rained down blows with fists and truncheons. Finally, subdued, he was dragged once again to a holding cell. Did the police have it in for him… Read More “I’m Not So Black As I Am Painted” – The Violent Life of Jack Davenport (Part I)

A Chat With the Champions Part II: JACK WANNOP IN TRAINING

This short interview with Jack Wannop is reproduced here as it appeared in The Sporting Life on Saturday 28 September 1889. My only edits are the paragraphing and photographs. It was published after this wonderful interview with his opponent Jem Smith, under the headline A Chat with the Champions. We learn very little, but it… Read More A Chat With the Champions Part II: JACK WANNOP IN TRAINING

A Chat With the Champions Part I: JEM SMITH IN TRAINING

I present to you here, in full, a copy of The Sporting Life‘s interview with Jem Smith which appeared in print on Saturday 28 September 1889, two days before his boxing match with Jack Wannop. I have introduced paragraphs for ease-of-reading, and inserted an occasional photograph, but the text is otherwise reproduced verbatim. It is… Read More A Chat With the Champions Part I: JEM SMITH IN TRAINING

“Wannop walked on his head in a most extraordinary manner”

By mid-May 1889, Jack Wannop had settled back into New Cross life and answered a challenge from the visiting Jack Carkeek, an experienced American wrestler of Cornish background. With George Steadman – the recognised ‘British heavyweight champion’ – failing to fix up with Carkeek, Wannop was prepared to meet him instead for the ‘wrestling championship… Read More “Wannop walked on his head in a most extraordinary manner”