Jack Wannop wants a go with… George Hackenschmidt?! (And it’s goodbye, for now, from Grappling With History)

It is with an extremely heavy heart – excuse the drama – that I have taken the decision to put Grappling With History on an ‘extended break’, in order to concentrate on my book proposal, continue research for the book, focus on my personal life and – fingers crossed – return to pro-wrestling training. All… Read More Jack Wannop wants a go with… George Hackenschmidt?! (And it’s goodbye, for now, from Grappling With History)

The Most Popular Man in New Cross (Introducing Jack Wannop to Carthorse Orchestra)

I was recently invited to Carthorse Orchestra, a charming online evening gathering of intimidatingly creative and literary types hosted by the author David Collard. Each week David organises an eclectic programme of short readings, discussion, film and performance to entertain and connect people during lockdown. The night was themed ‘wrestling with French literature or wrestling,… Read More The Most Popular Man in New Cross (Introducing Jack Wannop to Carthorse Orchestra)

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

Resolute as a lion, cool as the regulation cucumber, Jack Wannop bids farewell to New Cross and hello to the Chicago Strangler

On Wednesday 15 February 1888 Jack Wannop said goodbye to Miriam and their clutch of small children and left his home at 105 Woodpecker Road, New Cross, London, for Euston and the midday train to Liverpool. Met with a cordial reception at Lime Street station by a Mr Snell, The Sporting Life reported that Jack… Read More Resolute as a lion, cool as the regulation cucumber, Jack Wannop bids farewell to New Cross and hello to the Chicago Strangler

“Uncompromisingly bad men decisively bested in the final scene by unimpeachably good heroes”

Last week I read Andrew Horrall’s excellent Popular Culture in London c. 1890-1910 (Manchester University Press, 2001), and in Chapter 10, Boxing, he explores the introduction of sport to the music hall stage. In the two decades prior to WWI, boxing was transformed from “brutal, semi-legal origins to middle-class respectability” writes Horrall and during the… Read More “Uncompromisingly bad men decisively bested in the final scene by unimpeachably good heroes”