Welcome to LEBA!

This site has been set up with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. HLF have provided us with a grant to tell the story of London boxing from its beginnings in the eighteenth century to the present day.

The main focus of the project will centre upon recording the lives of 15 former boxers, or people associated with boxing, from the East End of London. The East End has provided some of Britain’s finest boxers, from Daniel Mendoza in the eighteenth century to Ted ‘Kid’ Lewis in the twentieth century.

Boxing has always produced talented fighters from immigrant communities. A cursory glance through boxing history will show boxers from Jewish, Irish, Italian and Afro-Caribbean backgrounds have become great favourites of boxing fans. From this perspective boxing has been a force for racial and social integration. The LEBA web site will celebrate this diversity throughout.

In addition to chronicling the careers of London Boxers the web site will also present detailed information and images about the myriad boxing venues that have existed in London. Initially, emphasis will be given to East-end venues such as Shoreditch Town Hall, York Hall, Bethnal Green Town Hall, Premierland and Wonderland. Sporting venues are an integral part of sport and there is no greater atmosphere in sport than in the tightly packed boxing arena and the web site will reflect their importance.

 

Featured Slideshow


Lions in Winter
This series of photographs, by Nick Dirs, is an invaluable record of London boxers from the sport's 'Golden Age'. Boxing has faded from public consciousness and it is difficult to grasp quite how big it was and quite how feted its stars were, especially within their local communities....

 

Featured Image

Ted 'Kid' Lewis

Featured Location

Premierland
Premierland (pronounced Pree-mier-land) stood on Back Church Lane, just off the Commercial Road. It opened in December 1911 and a then unknown Ted Kid Lewis boxed on its first show. In 1924 business partners Victor Berliner and Manny Lyttlestone took control and guided Premierland through its most successful era. A 1920s boxing boom meant there were three (sometimes four) shows a week. The crowds were a mix of Jewish and Irish immigrants and native cockneys: mostly men who worked as dockers, barrow boys or street traders at nearby Petticoat Lane. Some were current or ex professional boxers, and generally those who weren't had at least boxed for boys' clubs. Kid Lewis, Kid Berg, Teddy Baldock, Kid Pattenden, Harry Mason, Nipper Pat Daly and Dick and Harry Corbett were some of Premierland's biggest stars. Former fighter Jack Hart was the 'house' referee for much of the '20s and mostly officiated from outside the ring. Following a court ruling, in late 1930 Premierland was returned to its owners, Fairclough and Sons, who then used the building as a motor vehicle garage. (Words: Alex Daley)

Featured Video

Alan Rudkin