Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling Association

Demographic changes in Cumberland Wrestling over the last 50 years

Two photographs taken over fifty years apart capture the changes which have taken place in Cumberland Wrestling in recent times. The core sport and action remain the same as for centuries, but the ambience and demographic changes.

 Grasmere line-up in the 1960s



The oldest photograph shows the line-up for the men's costume competition at Grasmere. I don't know its exact date, but it must be in the early sixties, as a young Tom Harrington is part of the line-up. The first thing you notice is the number of men ready for action in their traditional strips, as the line stretches out across the main ring.

The other photograph was taken at Keswick Show in 2015 when they hosted the All Weights Championship. On the spur of the moment, a group of wrestlers was informally clustered together by Linda Scott at the end of that very successful event.

Keswick 2015

One big difference is the number of female wrestlers present. Female wrestling simply did not exist in the sixties; now it is a normal part of a wrestling programme, and the sport's administration is female led.
A large contingent of foreign wrestlers is embedded in the group. Before 1985, when the Bretons persuaded us to join La Fédération Internationale des Luttes Celtiques (FILC), hardly anyone from South of Preston or North of Langholm competed in our rings. In the 2015 photograph are numbers of Icelanders, Bretons and Scots all trained and competent in our back-hold style.
The wrestlers in the older photograph are all older and masculine, and that indicates a problem we have now. The Academies are great at nurturing young talent, but in the present climate too few mature wrestlers are fully committed to their sport, turning out each week come rain or shine. The core skills and great exponents are still with us, but not in the same numbers.

(Written by Roger Robson ..... ©All Photographs on this site are the copyright of Roger Robson, Jill Robson, Julian Richardson, Linda Scott or Webmaster. Unauthorised usage is forbidden {2017} ©)

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