‘Six Foot Thriller is Coming from London!’ Introducing the Graeco-Roman Goddess, Miss Juno May (Part II)

<< READ PART I HERE >> By January 1907, Apollo Magazine (“the most practical Physical Culture Guide in existence”) considered Juno well known and admired enough to include her illustration among the great and good of British bodies, and promoted her inclusion in the magazine’s advertising on the front page of the Sporting Life. The… Read More ‘Six Foot Thriller is Coming from London!’ Introducing the Graeco-Roman Goddess, Miss Juno May (Part II)

‘252 Pound English Girl Seeks Fame on the Mat!’ Introducing the Graeco-Roman Goddess, Miss Juno May (Part I)

The whole point of my research project is to focus on wrestling in the 1880s and early 1890s. 1902-ish onward has been ‘done’, hasn’t it? Early Edwardian performers (Hackenschmidt, Gotch et al), born quarter of a century after Jack Wannop, were well photographed, documented, and if a written wrestling history exists without them it’s a… Read More ‘252 Pound English Girl Seeks Fame on the Mat!’ Introducing the Graeco-Roman Goddess, Miss Juno May (Part I)

“Murdered in a thieves’ kitchen” – Finding Alexander Hayes Munroe

In my first article on Ching Hook I wrote briefly on the murder of Hook’s close friend and trainer Alexander Hayes Munroe, known as Alec or Aleck Munroe, Munro or Monroe. Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1850 or ’51, he first appeared in east London boxing news in the late 1870s. He is listed on… Read More “Murdered in a thieves’ kitchen” – Finding Alexander Hayes Munroe

Lads on tour! Introducing Jack Wannop’s New Cross High Hat Brigade

Sitting here almost a year into the pandemic, on a freezing, grey, miserable evening, months since I saw a friend, it seemed fitting to bring you a little story about happier, sunnier, more sociable times.  I cannot find out much about why Jack Wannop started the New Cross High Hat Brigade but can deduce from… Read More Lads on tour! Introducing Jack Wannop’s New Cross High Hat Brigade

Searching for Clever Dick Leary and George Brown, the New Cross Hercules

It has all gone a little quiet here on the Grappling with History blog, my apologies. I’m currently working on my MA dissertation about Jack Wannop and his New Cross gymnasiums; researching and writing a lengthy blog post on Burnley wrestler J. W. Price (1870 – 1957); and still hoping to put together an article… Read More Searching for Clever Dick Leary and George Brown, the New Cross Hercules

“Here we find the courageous Cumbrian trying conclusions with half a pint of bitter” [Finding Wannop’s Gymnasium – Part II]

Trying to find the exact location of Wannop’s Gymnasium in New Cross has been one of the most time-consuming and frustrating parts of my research. As explained in a previous post, which pieced together all the evidence collected on my hunt and took an educated guess at an address, Wannop doesn’t appear to have been… Read More “Here we find the courageous Cumbrian trying conclusions with half a pint of bitter” [Finding Wannop’s Gymnasium – Part II]

“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)