A Carlisle landmark .................

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..........has disappeared: the pub sign from the Cumberland Wrestlers has been taken down, for the building now has another use.

The two signs that have ornamented the front of the pub in the last thirty years both featured that wrestler of wrestlers, George Steadman, with a head and shoulders portrait of the great man. On the other side he was joined by Hexham Clark in a copy of one of the most famous wrestling images as the two men took hold for the camera at Grasmere Sports where both had illustrious careers.

Hugh Machin's "Some records of Grasmere Sports" published in 1911 has a photograph of Steadman, already balding taken centre stage in 1872. A photograph dated 1902 shows him still in his wrestling strip at Grasmere only two years before he died.

Hexham Clark of Broughton was the wrestler who vied with Steadman and then took over from him at the end of his career. Last year Hexham Clark and I became better acquainted, when Keith Barkhouse, his great great nephew brought some of Hexham's finest trophies and belts to show me. Months later Susan Baynes, Hexham Clark's great grand-daughter contacted me after googling his name and finding a Cumberland News article which mentioned him.

She came over from Wallsend to see the wrestling at the Cumberland Show, and subsequently she visited Keith Barkhouse to see the trophies. I receive many requests from people researching their wrestling forebears, but the Hexham Clark saga was one of the best.

A substantial group of young wrestlers from all over Cumbria and Northumberland  look like travelling to Brittany to compete in the Breton Backhold Championships on Saturday, 24th February. There are four age categories for boys, each divided into at least six weight sections, starting at 33kgs. In addition there are six men's weights. The female wrestling is divided into two age sections, those born in the years 1992-1995, and the rest. Again there are many weight categories. We need more wrestlers and more adults to participate. Anyone who wishes to be added to the list should contact Roger Robson on 016974 73559 before Monday, 29th January

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (January 25th 2007)

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