Hackney Council wants to borrow your boxing memorabilia

If you have a boxer in your family, Hackney Museum would like to hear about them. Hackney Museum are looking for boxing photos and memorabilia from families from London’s East End.

The London Ex Boxers Association are working with Hackney Museum to promote an exhibition called East End Boxing Lives. They are keen to include lives and experiences in the exhibition which will showcase the history of boxing in the East End, from the days of illegal fighting in pubs and taverns to its current status as an official sport in the Olympic Games.

Hackney Museum, run by Hackney Council, is looking to local people to add their memories, memorabilia and photographs to the existing objects and stories that have been collected, including interviews with some of the first East End boxers.

When it opens next year, the free exhibition will explore the lives of famous boxers such as Daniel Mendoza, Ron Cooper, and local boys Terry Spinks MBE, Sammy McCarthy, Johny Kramer and Mickey Pye.

It’s also an opportunity to find out more about female boxers from the days of bare knuckle bone fighting to the first Olympic female boxer in the 2012 Olympics.It also looks at Jewish and black boxers and the discrimination they met along the way.

Museum goers will also learn the basic rules first set out by Jack Broughton in 1743. And, find out who were national and local champions as well as seeing some fascinating artefacts belonging to East End boxers.

As well as being able to compare what a heavy weight boxer weighed a hundred years ago to today they will be able to compare or limber up with a boxing training video. There will also be a chance to sit comfortably in an ex boxer’s sitting room while reading stories of local East End boxers.

Hackney Council Cabinet member for community services, Jonathan McShane said: “Boxing played a major part in the lives of many Hackney people and it’s an integral part of Hackney’s social history. If you’ve got a story you’d like to share please contact Hackney Museum and tell us more.”

London Ex-Boxers Association chairman, Charlie Wright, said: “We are very excited about the whole project. For the first time the boxing heritage of the East End of London will told through the lives of the people who boxed, trained or worked with boxing. As we approach the London Olympics this is a story that will inspire many people especially young people looking for a sport that they can get involved within their locality.”

If you have anything that you’d like donate or a story you d like to tell then please contact Sue McAlpine at or call 020 8356 2551. All photographs will be scanned and given back and any exhibits donated will be kept while the exhibition runs (January 25 to April 30 2011).

Local people are also encouraged to come to a workshop at Hackney Museum, on Friday 7 January, from 1 to 4pm, where they will get the chance to share their memories.

The exhibition, which opens in January 2011, is open to everyone and is the end result of a project by the London Ex-Boxers Association brought to life through a £50,000 grant form the Heritage Lottery Fund.

East End Lives
January 25 to April 30 2011
Hackney Museum
Ground Floor
Technology and Learning Centre
1 Reading Lane
E8 1GQ