The Short Life and Long Death of Jem Haines (Part I)

From Tuesday 30th July to Thursday 1st August 1889 a Grand Assault-at-Arms was held at the Corn Exchange in Chichester, with boxing, wrestling, Indian clubs and fencing on the bill. An advert in the Chichester Observer encouraged ladies to show up, and admission was charged at between two and 10 shillings depending on your spot.… Read More The Short Life and Long Death of Jem Haines (Part I)

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]

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

“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”