The Cast List

John ‘Jack’ Wannop

A wrestler, boxer, gym manager and founder of the New Cross Boxing Club. Born in Crosby-on-Eden, Cumbria, at the end of 1854. Moved to New Cross, south east London, around 1880. A father of 10, married to Miriam Wannop (1858-1948). He died from ‘senility’ in 1923 and is buried in Brockley Cemetery. A pioneer of catch-wrestling and all-round total legend:

Tom ‘Curley’ Thompson

A wrestler and boxer from the New Cross / Deptford area. Born around 1869, died 1906, buried in Old Camberwell Cemetery:

George Brown

A (very) heavyweight wrestler and Greenwich publican. Born in 1850, died in 1906 with dropsy, buried in Brockley Cemetery:

Jem Haines or James Haynes

A black American heavyweight boxer and boxing instructor who lived in Lambeth, and then central and west London. Born around 1864, died from tuberculosis in 1894. Buried in Kensal Green Cemetery:

Jack Davenport or John Devonport

A black American heavyweight boxer, barber and nightclub doorman who lived in central London. Born around 1864, disappeared in the early 1900s – rumoured to have entered an asylum, or to be ‘doing something in munitions’ up north during WWI. Death year and cause currently unknown:

Miss Juno May

A 6ft 2 female music hall wrestler from Brockley, south east London, born around 1884. Real name, death year and cause currently unknown:

The Cross-Buttocker or Walter Armstrong

A wrestler, referee, Sporting Life writer and author of two books on wrestling. Born in 1835 or 1838 (possibly in the Carlisle area) and moved to Brixton, south London, in the 1870s. Died in 1917:

Ching Hook or Ching Ghook or Hezekiah Moscow

A middleweight boxer, gym instructor, bear tamer and music hall sketch artist born somewhere in the Caribbean around 1860. Lived in Whitechapel from around 1880. Disappeared in 1892, leaving a wife and child. There is some evidence to suggest a move to New York. Death year and cause currently unknown:

John Willie Price or John William Price or J.W.Price

A wrestler from Lancashire, born in 1870. Died in 1957:

Alec Munro or Alexander Hayes Munroe

A boxer and lion tamer from Kingston, Jamaica. Born around 1850, he was stabbed in a Whitechapel boarding house in 1885 and died of infection a few days later. Buried in Manor Park Cemetery:

Jem Smith

Heavyweight Champion of England. Lost his title to Ted Pritchard at Wannop’s Gymnasium, New Cross, in 1891. Born in Shoreditch, 1863 and died in Willesden, 1931:

Billy and Mrs Noon

A featherweight boxer in the 1870s and ’80s, after breaking his arm Billy Noon formed a husband and wife boxing act with Mrs Noon and performed in Birmingham and London between 1887 and 1891:

Samuel Sloper

A bookmaker or ‘Commission Agent’ from Hoxton who lived in New Cross and Catford and backed Wannop in the late-1880s