Great London Sporting Events: “Cobbling”

cobblingThe two combatants square up in 1898. Notice the horse in the background which was to ruin everything

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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