Boxing

A popular pastime on St. Helier

Rosehill Boxing Club was founded early on in the estate's life.  It still runs, though its venue has changed. The St Helier Arms hosted several boxing matches.  They were good crowd pullers. Can anyone else supply memories?

Photo:Ted Thomson (senior) displaying some of his boxing trophies in the 1930s

Ted Thomson (senior) displaying some of his boxing trophies in the 1930s

Ted Thomson

"I used to box -  Rosehill Boxing Club. I mean, my dad was a schoolboy champion. He came off the estate and that particular era had some very good [boxers]. Boxing was encouraged in all the schools then . As we came into the sixties, it was taken off the agenda.  They said it was  too dangerous which was ridiculous. There was nothing wrong with kids getting in there and scrapping.  No one used to get hurt. The gloves were big enough to stop them getting hurt and if they were taught properly they didn't get hurt. Fortunately I was taught properly by my dad who was very good, so they tell me. In fact some very good boxers came off the estate in the thirties, forties. Freddy Smith was one and Billy English was another .  People that have spoken to me about boxing over the years have said that my dad, Ted Thomson, Billy English and Freddy Smith were the three best boxers off the estate."  (Ted Thomson)

Photo:Ted Thomson (senior), Schoolboy Champion of Great Britain, 1930s

Ted Thomson (senior), Schoolboy Champion of Great Britain, 1930s

Ted Thomson


26th March 1953, Wallington & Cashalton Advertiser

Dave Perry and George Bush become national champions

Dave Perry for the second time, and George Bush, for the first, became national schoolboy boxing champions of Great Britain at the Empire Pool, Wembley, on Friday.

...Bush, the new intermediate 8st 4lb champion first started boxing in 1948 when he entered Welbeck Road County Secondary School. Trained since then by Mr. J.J. Price, the school boxing instructor, he had never before gone further than the divisional finals.  He has been the school boxing captain for the past two years.

In his final, Bush, who lives at 79 Peterborough Road, Carshalton,  defeated Paul Tranter, Plymouth.  The bout was not a distinguished one.  Tranter lacking a punch and being mainly concerned in keeping away from Bush, who was not troubled to win points.

This page was added by Cheryl Bailey on 18/07/2010.
Comments about this page

good page, yes just about everybody boxed at one time or another, great fun, one of the good boxers around in the late 40s early 50s was Wally Becket had a brother Don, I think they used to live in St Bennets grove, Wally was a Professional, there were also some useful amateurs around, Billie Burns,Joe Pyle, Bert Farley to name just a couple. I remember when Stewarts boxing booth would come to town all the likely lads would go and have a go, wonderful times.

By Ted Blowers
On 09/08/2010

Regarding the Becket family. They did live in St. Benets Grove, between Stavourdale and Robertsbridge Roads . There were three brothers, all useful boxers. Thei third brother was aged between Wally and Don but I can not recall his name. He was less extrovert than the other two but was possibly the better. Their father was also an accomplished boxer in his youth. Though slightly younger than him, and smaller, I actually fought Don as a youngster and the fight was stopped due to punch from him to my right eye reducing my vision in that eye which culminated in my first 'black eye' A badge of honour in those days.

By Nib West
On 26/09/2010

I think Joey lived  around St Helier estate - nice gentlemen I was told by my uncle who drank with him.. r.i.p. God bless you Joey.

By philipmaguire
On 21/02/2011

Wally Becket was a mate of mine for some years. His biggest problem was keeping his weight down to middleweight. The last time I saw Wally he was the bouncer in German Harry's club in Balham. Another potential was Don Cockell a heavyweight, who came out of Bishopsford Rd. I think. He had the same problem as Wally, he couldn't keep his weight down.

By Peter Leonard
On 22/05/2011

Does anyone remember the Taffurelli family. Joe Taffurelli started the Rosehill Boxing Club and had 3 sons who boxed for them, namely Johnny Taffurelli, myself, Donald and my younger brother Victor. Would like comments from anyone who can remember the boxing club at this early stage. Don and Vic were also trainers at the Club when their boxing came to an end. Would love to hear from anybody who knew the family.,

By Donald Taffurelli
On 21/12/2011

Donald, I knew all the family as I lived in Muchelney Road where they lived. David was a schoolfriend. I seem to remember that Vic was a Southern Area Champion at one of the weights but can't remember which. I also remember Gloria and (I think) Sylvia? Joe (known also as John) was a chain smoker and I always remember him lighting another cigarette from the one he was just finishing. Lovely family.

By John Maslin
On 10/05/2012

.....another boxer that springs to mind from  Welbeck School was Lennie? Coleman, I attended the school from 1947/49 having transferred from Glastonbury..which was considered a softies' school in comparison, according to the Head Master - a Mr Matthews. Len reached the schoolboy finals and we went to the Albert Hall to see him, if my memory serves me right. It was not his night and lost. The following week in the local newspaper it was reported under the heading ...Bewitched Bothered & Bewildered....which was a popular song at the time. I later worked with Len at the Blue Star Line offices in Lower Regent Street. Many boys went to this company if they wanted a commercial career.

By Freddie Knopp
On 12/06/2012

I also went to Welbeck Rd school 1954-58. In my last year I was captain of the boxing team. I also went to Rosehill Boxing Club - the Taffurelli's were running the club. I was the same age as Vic. Bobby Becket was there. He won the ABA schoolboy championship at the Albert Hall. I also kept in touch with his brother George. I believe Wally fought Randolf Turpin who went on to beat Sugar Ray Robinson.Don Cockell went on to fight Rocky Marciano r.s.f in the ninth round. He was never the same after that beating. Joey Pile was there and could have gone on to better things but got in with the wrong people

By Bob Scott
On 28/08/2012

My only fight was at a St. Helier schools organised boxing matches . I fought a boy from Lillieshaw { not sure of spelling} school. After the first round my second who was from Rose Hill boxing club told me I was doing ok. " but why do I keep on blinking " I asked him " Oh that's when he is hitting you " he said But I did enough to win.

By John ginger Taylor
On 08/11/2013

With reference to Donald Taffurelli 21/12/2011, I remember your brother Victor when he was at Garth school. I wasn't in his class at school and did not know him personally but I remember quite vividly the scrap he had with a boy by the surname of Daly in the school playground. They went hammer and tongs at each other until the geography master Mr Marshall pulled them apart. I seem to recall that Victor had very fast hands and Daly was a 'Thumper'. It was a great spectacle at the time. I also remember David Becket who I knocked around with a few times and George Bush who dated and later married I believe, a girl who lived a couple of doors away from my family in Malling Gardens. 

By Roy Laming
On 15/01/2016

I remember Rose Hill Boxing Club. I was a member in the 1950s, before moving on to South Norwood and then Battersea. My last fight was at Rose Hill against Eric Blake, knocking him out in the second round. I have fond memories of Rose Hill.

By Harry Knowles
On 22/09/2016

I remember young Teddy Thomson, a little younger than me. I trained under Billy English and Horace Stopher (not sure if that how it was spelt) Billy's son also Billy was a little younger also there was Dave Pleon a very good light middleweight and Tony, can't remember his name a good southpaw. I started at about 12 years old roughly 1959, and at 16 was 9.0 stone London Home Counties SW Div Champion finally boxing at the Royal Albert Hall, losing Semi Finalist in 1964 a great time of my life and definitely helped me, being fairly small in St Helier Estate, I thank Rosehill A.B.C a lot I have never been bullied. 

By Pete Bedford
On 23/12/2016

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.