Wednesday 17 July 2024

The grave of bare knuckle boxer Thomas Sayers

I have said it many times, Kensal Green is my favorite of all the great London cemeteries however Highgate does come a close second. If you pay a visit you have the choice of two sides, east and west. Lots of the great and the good are buried there, but one particular grave has always been of interest - Thomas Sayers.

Thomas Sayers (1826 -1865) was the last of Britain's bare knuckle boxing champions just before the famous Queensbury Rules came into being. Sayers was 5 ft 8 ins and in his day there were no weight divisions, with fighters going toe to toe anyone. Sayers would have almost certainly gone up against opponents much heavier and taller than he was. Also in his time, fights could last well over two hours!

Born in Brighton he became a national hero and was incredibly famous. After his last fight he retired and gifted £3000 by public subscription (a huge amount for the time) to ensure a comfortable post-boxing life. At the age of only 39 be died after suffering a short illness at 257 Camden High Street. 

His funeral, a week after he passed away, drew a crowd of well over 100,000. It was said that the crowd who accompanied his coffin extended over two miles. Sayers pet dog a large black mastiff called Lion, was chief mourner at his funeral and it is perhaps fitting that he guards his tomb. 

It is very likely that many people who look at his grave, take a photo or perhaps you out there reading this might not have ever heard of Thomas Sayers. There is of course no reason why you should. I do find it amazing that someone so famous in their own time would be unheard of in another. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people. 

There are gates and then there are gates!

London is full of some rather choice locations. Some properties have all manner of steel gates that swing inwards or glide horizontally. There is even one set I have seen in N6 that actually go down into the ground. There are however some that buckle the trend. 

The location will remain nameless, apart from me saying in is in north London. The gates you see below are wooden, original to the Victorian gothic house they lead to and as for the colour...

The photo below is of the pedestrian gate leading to the front door. There is another set, exactly the same to the right. They are also in a vivid blood-orange colour that are so bright they almost glow. Needless to say, I have always loved them in this colour. They have been other colours over the years that have been similar however this incarnation is my favourite. What do you think?

Until next time, stay safe out there people!

Monday 15 July 2024

Passing the Freud Museum on a Brompton

Part of the joys of owning a Brompton or two - or even more - and living in London, is the fact that you can find all sorts more or less on your doorstep. The other day (when the sun actually came out for once) I was ambling quite happily on my Brompton Electric, revelling in its power in getting me up any ascent. Having tackled some of the finest hills in north London, I headed south towards St John's Wood. In doing so I passed the Freud Museum. 

The museum is at 20 Maresfield Gardens. Freud only lived there for about a year and passed away in this very house. Hsi daughter lived there up to her death in 1982 and a few years later, her wish that the house be converted into a museum was released. 

While cycled up to the house to take photos you can see here, a large group of people of all ages were queuing quietly two houses up? I asked them whether they wanted the Freud Museum to which they replied, yes. I delicately informed them that the museum was a couple of houses up at number 20! What they were doing at their queuing location, I do not know!?

I have only ever been inside the museum/house once and that was very reluctantly and not my choice. As I recall I wanted to go up the road to 2 Willow Road, former home of brutalist architect, Erno Goldfinger. As you might have guessed I am not a particular fan of Freud and have passed his house many times over the years, thinking or saying under my breath, full of s@#t. I wonder what he might have made of that?!

Until next time, stay safe out there people!