some BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF 20th century wrestlers

William Studholme


Transcript of an article from "The West Cumberland Times" Saturday February 13th 1937. A Champion Wrestler - The Late Will Studholme (Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling Association Secretary's Tribute)

On Thursday week, there passed from the pages of wrestling history one of the finest heavyweight champions of the present wrestling age, in the person of Mr William Studholme, Scott Hill, Great Broughton. During my 28 years as Secretary of The Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling Association I have naturally mixed among many champions at various weights, but in my opinion, Studholme was, in his class, the greatest exponent of the game in my time.
Born at Little Broughton 67 years ago, Studholme lived the life of an ordinary village lad, until at the age of fourteen, he entered seriously into the game, and surprised his friends by defeating Splasher Nelson, a good 11 stone wrestler of that time.He went steadily onward in his career, and felled his many opponents right and left; the bigger the man, the heavier his challenger fell. The Grasmere Cup was one of his many trophies, and was presented to him by the late Myles Kennedy, Ulverston, Chairman of the Governing Board, in the years before the war. About this time, Broughton was quite proud of it's wrestlers, and rightly so, for Studholme was the heavyweight; Jack Wallace the 11st 2lb, and Harry Edgar the 10st 2lb champions of the world, and they each issued a challenge to the world in the same year. Arising out of the challenges, Wallace was accepted by George Jackson, Lancaster, and the former beat his man at Morecambe; Studholme lost an exhibition match with Nelson Yates, whilst Barney Lacey of Salter beat Edgar, so the three men remained champions, for Studholme's and Edgar's were only exhibition matches. I also issued on behalf of Studholme, a challenge in the Cumberland and Westmorland style to Hackensmidt, but he would not accept the terms offered. He was however agreeable for Studholme to tour with him, for the purpose of giving exhibitions, but Studholme refused.
Studholme wrestled at every notable wrestling meeting in England and Scotland, and at the height of his career, was the picture of an athlete, standing 6ft in height, with long legs and arms, and a massive chest, though he never weighed much over 12st 2lbs. He won the Heavyweight Championship of the World five times in succession, a feat never before accomplished, and the record still remains. I have seen him play with much heavier men, and one of his favourite methods was to fetch his opponent to the ground after poising him on his chest! The powerful grip and hug to the chest proved too much for any wrestler who was unfortunate enough to be caught in Studholme's mighty embrace. Apart from this method, the champion's style was varied and scientific, and he would bring into use, "buttocks","cross buttock", "swinging hipes", or any other throw equally as well.
At the time the champion was doing so well, wrestling was included at all principal sports, and there were exceptionally good men at the game. To mention a few that come quickly to my mind, were Tommy Kennedy, Cleator Moor; Hexham Clark, Seaton; Joe Bowman, Penrith; Jack Strong, Carlisle; George Steadman, Drybeck; Alex Munroe and Jim Essence, Scotland; J.Thompson, Jedburgh; Jack Rutherford, Morpeth; and Anthony Gonegal. The last-named always proved a very stubborn opponent for Studholme.
George Steadman the former heavyweight champion, recalls a humorous incident which occurred before the Association was formed. It was when Studholme, as a young fellow, met the then champion at Grasmere, and on "getting hold", told Steadman that he could fell him. Steadman no doubt realised this was true, because he offered Studholme 5 shillings to "lie down", with the result that the champion kept his laurels, but he forgot to pay over the money. Seeing him later, Studholme asked for his pay, whereupon he was given a few coppers from the "big man's" waistcoat pocket. Being highly indignant, for he was barely more than a lad, Studholme told him he would follow him and "fell him" at the first oppertunity. This chance came in The Bridge of Allen Sports, where they met in the semi-final, and Studholme definately refused to give way, whereupon Steadman declined to "take hold". "It means me leaving the ring" Steadman replied, but Studholme would not yeild an inch, so his opponent left the ring. They met again at Grasmere, and had three "holds" before Steadman became the winner, but Studholme was aware that the champion was retiring, and this was his last appearance in a wrestling ring. Of course these incidents were quite common in those days. Steadman was a true champion, and it must be clearly understood that he was coming to the end of a very brilliant career, when this episode took place.
Studholme had many chances to tour as an exhibition wrestler, and I could have got him a large number of important engagements, but generally he refused. After arrangements had been made for him to go to Paris and London, he backed out at the last minute. On one occasion however whilst in London, he trained at The Elephant and Castle, where at that time, Jem Mace was preparing for his boxing contest with Jake Kilraine.
Grasmere and Studholme seemed to go hand in hand when talking about wrestling, and I can picture a bright sunny day, (one of the few), whilst during the heavyweight contest I was talking in the ring with Lord Lonsdale, and the late Francis Nicholson, Windermere; on various topics, when through the vast crowd echoed the cry "Studholme of Broughton", and the champion entered the arena looking thoroughly ashamed of himself and reminding me of a schoolboy who had been caught stealing apples. His Lordship immediately went over to him, and after a few words, Studholme got to work, and won the contest without any trouble. He was always shy and reserved, and would rather talk about anything other than wrestling. He was one of the first wrestlers to favour the forming of an Association, and during his long career as a wrestler, he honoured the rules and regulations of that body.
And now that his name has been called by that Higher Power, and his earthly remains have been taken from our midst, let us remember with honour and affection, the name of our worthy champion and friend, Will Studholme, five times Heavyweight Champion of the World.