Boxing in the Public Halls

Fundraising by Harpenden Good Companions

Colin Gaskin has recently donated to the Society’s archives a fragile programme for a Boxing Match organised by the Harpenden Good Companions for the Comfort Fund and Auxiliary Hospital on 8 August 1944. This was part of the Holidays at Home week from 5 to 13 August, which covered a wide range of events and raised  (I wonder whether we can find out?).

The ledgers for bookings at the Public Halls, which had opened in September 1938, list the hire charge for Boxing matches (£4) and xx events from 1938-1947.

Colin’s father, S W (Bill) was one of the Good Companions organising committee, and he has provided these notes on other members:

Ernie Ackroyd: there is nothing I can add as I am sure you have much information which has been supplied to you by the late Geoff Ackroyd.

H.E. “Bert” Goode: estate agent and auctioneer with auction rooms in Vaughan Road and estate agents’ office on the corner of Victoria Road and Station Road opposite Ackroyd’s bakery.

H.C. Davey: Can’t tell you much about this gentleman.

W.R. Baum: Believe he served on the Harpenden Rural District Council and the Hertfordshire County Council and was one of the governors of the St Albans Modern School for Boys which Geoff Ackroyd and I attended after leaving the Victoria Road school.

P.W. “Percy” Claridge: local builder living in Cowper Road and also had a small hardware shop at the lower end of Station Road next to the National Provincial Bank.

Harold Firbank: For some time was an assistant in Thorns the Tobacconist shop in Lower High Street, later opening up his own tobacconist’s shop on Leyton Green near to Barclays Bank.

S.W. Gaskin: What more can I say ??

R.A. “Ralph” Oliver was  member of the Oliver family of Wandon End, agricultural machinery suppliers.

A.A. “Archie” Smith: Proprietor of the grain and seed merchant’s business in High Street adjacent to the Cock public House.

R.A. “Reg” Sherratt: Proprietor of the ladies hairdressing saloon in the High Street next to Wootton and Webb the opticians.

F. “Fred” Timson: Proprietor of the boot and shoe repairer business in the little workshop by the parade of shops next to Lines the blacksmith.


Extract from Public Hall booking register for 8-11 August 1944. Credit: LHS archives

Comments about this page

  • There seems to be a long tradition of boxing in Harpenden. On 11 April 1821 the Midlands County Express reported that Harpenden Common was the setting for a return bare-knuckle fight between Tim “Gas” Hinckman of Dudley, and George Cooper of Stone, Staffordshire. Both were redoubtable fighters. Hinckman, nicknamed “the terrible gasman” because he used to work in the gasworks, was approaching middle age. He had won the earlier bout. The reporter commented that “The place for the fight was well chosen. The ground was dry and the ring a capacious one.” In round one Cooper floored Hinckman. In round two Hinckman not only floored Cooper, but “sent him rolling under the ropes, out of the ring”. Hinckman thus scored his second win over Cooper in just three minutes.

    By Rosemary Ross (23/05/2019)

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