New exhibition celebrates East End boxing history

Terry Sprinks Photo: Hackney Council

The East End’s boxing history,  from the days of illegal fighting through to Olympic status, is to be celebrated in a new exhibition at Hackney Museum.

East End Boxing Lives, a project by the London Ex-Boxers Association, is to open later this month thanks to a £50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It will include local stories and memorabilia as well as interviews with the East End’s first boxers.

The exhibition will explore the lives of big names such as Daniel Mendoza, Ron Cooper, and local boys Terry Spinks MBE, Sammy McCarthy, Johny Kramer and Mickey Pye. It will also showcase the experiences of Jewish and black boxers, and the discrimination they faced in the sport.

Female boxers will have their moment in the spotlight, from the early days of bare knuckle bone fighting to the upcoming debut of women’s Olympic boxing in the 2012 games.

Charlie Wright, chairman of London Ex-Boxers Association, 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.”

Visitors will learn about the basic rules of boxing, as laid out by Jack Broughton in 1743. The exhibition will also contain interactive elements, such as a boxing training video and the chance to sit in an ex-boxer’s living room.

Cllr Jonathan McShane, cabinet member for community services, 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.”

East End Boxing Lives will be on display at the Hackney Museum from January 25 to April 30.

For further information, or to contribute to the exhibition, contact Sue McApline at or call 020 8356 2551.


  1. keith March 20, 2011
  2. john hall March 30, 2011
  3. Heather Bishop April 4, 2011
  4. Pam McKay May 5, 2011

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