Ward's Book of Days.

Pages of interesting anniversaries.

What happened on this day in history.

MAY 11th  

On this day in history, in 1846, died Tom Cribb.

Cribb was a bare-knuckle boxer, who became the first British world titleholder.  

Thomas Cribb was born on 8th July 1781, at Hanham, near Bristol, Gloucestershire, the son of a coal working family. His only education was learning to count the sacks of coal he was obliged to carry as a child worker. Coal portering was a profession that built up strength, which Cribb used to his advantage in prize fights in Bristol. In 1804, after an incident in which his opponent was seriously injured,  Cribb escaped by signing on as a sailor, travelling only as far as London, where he decided to end his nautical career for the more lucrative London  prize fight market.  

Under the training of Captain Robert Barclay, Cribb fought his first fight on 7th January 1805. Victory ensured another bout the following month, and continuing triumphs ensured popularity and success.  In 1810, Cribb was awarded the British boxing title. He then took on American former slave, Tom Molineaux, whom he defeated after 32 rounds. After another bout, against the same opponent in 1811, noted by contemporaries as a particularly bloody encounter, he became world champion.  

In 1812, he retired from the ring, and became a coal merchant and later a publican, at the Union Arms, Haymarket, London. In 1839, he retired to Woolwich, where he died, aged 67. Cribb is now a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Nearby where he ran the Union Arms, now stands a new pub, the Tom Cribb. [36, Panton Street, Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4EA]. Cribb is buried in the churchyard of St Mary's, Woolwich. [St Mary Magdalene Church, Greenlaw Street, London SE18 5AR]

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