An everyday story of violent sporting folk by our guest columnist: Gary “Mr Stewed Eels & Mash” Hoadley
Cobbling was a little-known sport played in the slums of East London around the late 19th century. It’s a highly skilled test of endurance in which men line up facing each other, and at a given signal, they then take it in turns to kick each other in the testicles, or “cobblers” – a cockney rhyming slang term which has been shortened from “cobbler’s awls” The last man standing is then declared the champion.
My Granddad was champion of West London, while the editor-in-chief of The Whitechapel Whelk, Billy Sykes’s granddad, was champion of East London.
They met for a showdown late one afternoon in Mile End Road in July 1898. Sadly, for both…
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