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  • #91
    Originally posted by Sean Robbins View Post
    Let’s meet Tom Pritchard, the first manager at the Ring. This is the first mention of him from ‘Bella of Blackfriars’:



    pp 78 Bella of Blackfriars by Leslie Ball, Odhams Press, 1961

    From this description, you might be forgiven for thinking Dick Burge and Tom Pritchard had been friends and business associates for many, many years. Perhaps they were, I've not found any evidence of an association between the two men prior to 1909 yet though.

    Tom Prichard was listed as a Variety and Dramatic agent in the London stage press from 1893.

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    Music Hall and Theatre Review - Friday 01 December 1893

    There's this curious story of an attempt to put a real child in danger in 1894.

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    Music Hall and Theatre Review - Friday 19 January 1894

    In 1901, he embarked on a tour in Russia with Miss Violet Friend and ended up 'being followed' throughout his stay in the country.

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    The Stage - Thursday 18 July 1901


    After his return from Russia, he relocated to the West Midlands.

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    The Era - Saturday 26 October 1901

    The death announcement for.Tom Pritchard from Birmingham Daily Gazette - Friday 09 April 1920, demonstrates that the Dudley Tom Pritchard/ Prichard is the same man as the Ring manager, here it is again.

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    Pritchard was making a name for himself in the Music Hall scene in the West Midlands from 1901. Here's Tom Pritchard staging Music Hall events at the Old Circus in 1902:

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    County Advertiser & Herald for Staffordshire and Worcestershire - Saturday 13 September 1902

    And details relating to the The Empire on Hall Street from 1903.

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    Music Hall and Theatre Review - Friday 15 May 1903

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    Birmingham Daily Gazette - Tuesday 15 September 1903

    Dick Burge was arrested in November 1901 and remained firmly under lock and key until 1909. It's possible Dick Burge and Tom Pritchard knew each-other from 1894-1901. Although they may have only met in 1909. There's no suggestion particularly of a business relationship between the two men before 1909. I do wonder for what reason Dick Burge was so confident as to say “Tom Pritchard would stand in with me, I know that". Although that's from Bella Burge's account of the founding of the Ring and I find myself taking a fair bit of 'Bella of Blackfriars' with a pinch of salt.
    ___

    The elder Frederick Gehringer's own City of Norwich pub held a Music Hall licence from 1855-68, source: https://www.str.org.uk/resources/str...s-individuals/. That's the same pub which later became a boxing venue in 1888 and at which they were receiving stolen goods in 1872.

    Has any one reasearched/ written about what a Variety Agents role was exactly during the music hall era?

    I do wonder if the Music Halls had their own associations with organised crime? Hmm.
    According to the list you provided, Gehringer had a licence to play music at the City of Norwich pub (PH) rather than a music hall licence (MH).

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    • #92
      Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post

      According to the list you provided, Gehringer had a licence to play music at the City of Norwich pub (PH) rather than a music hall licence (MH).
      There was no meaningful difference between the licence granted to a public house and the one granted to a music hall. The PH and MH are only indications of the kind of establishment. There were no differences in the licence required for public entertainment. The music halls grew out of the pubs which offered public entertainment with larger theatre venues being built next to or on the same site as demolished public houses.
      After 1850 there were three kinds of licences available. Dramatic licences which would allow the staging of drama, but not alcohol inside the auditorium and plays to be subject to censorship by the Lord Chamberlain, a music and dancing licence from the normal provision of 1751 and 'music only' licences created by a decision of the court in 1850 as an interpretation of the 1751 act. The City of Norwich did in fact only apply and hold a 'music only' licence. Although what difference that makes really is debatable.

      Yes, I had to research this. Checking the legal status revealed much about the policing of public entertainment in the 19th century. it's definitely worth understanding what was the normal legal context of events like live music or prize fights in the 19th century. John McCarthy didn't so much occasionally cross over into illegality, so much as flaunt his ability to break the law without consequences.

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      • #93
        Originally posted by Sean Robbins View Post

        There was no meaningful difference between the licence granted to a public house and the one granted to a music hall. The PH and MH are only indications of the kind of establishment. There were no differences in the licence required for public entertainment. The music halls grew out of the pubs which offered public entertainment with larger theatre venues being built next to or on the same site as demolished public houses.
        After 1850 there were three kinds of licences available. Dramatic licences which would allow the staging of drama, but not alcohol inside the auditorium and plays to be subject to censorship by the Lord Chamberlain, a music and dancing licence from the normal provision of 1751 and 'music only' licences created by a decision of the court in 1850 as an interpretation of the 1751 act. The City of Norwich did in fact only apply and hold a 'music only' licence. Although what difference that makes really is debatable.

        Yes, I had to research this. Checking the legal status revealed much about the policing of public entertainment in the 19th century. it's definitely worth understanding what was the normal legal context of events like live music or prize fights in the 19th century. John McCarthy didn't so much occasionally cross over into illegality, so much as flaunt his ability to break the law without consequences.
        A music hall is not the same as a pub with a music licence, that’s the meaningful difference.

        Have you come up with any evidence of McCarthy ‘flaunting’ his criminal activity?

        Comment


        • #94
          Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
          A music hall is not the same as a pub with a music licence, that’s the meaningful difference.
          Expand in 1850s terms, with particular regard to the licencing laws. In your answer explain at what point a pub became a music hall (or vice versa) and exactly what the definable difference between the two was, if there was one.

          Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
          Have you come up with any evidence of McCarthy ‘flaunting’ his criminal activity?
          No, you did.

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          • #95
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            East London Observer - Saturday 30 January 1886

            Snippet from the Ring Organisation article ( Sporting Life - Tuesday 09 May 1911);

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            The Ring Organisation article does make it sound as though the silver cup awarded 25 years ago (which surely must be the same event as the one described in the East London Observer in 1886), was the same occasion that he raised the £100 0s 6d he raised from the boxing entertainment in Dukes-place. The East London Observer article at the time state he raised £26 10s on that occasion, so nothing like £100.
            i can't find any details about the fight in Dukes-place, but if Barney Barnato was the referee then it had to have been before 1897. Barney Barnato died in 1897. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barney_Barnato
            Last edited by Sean Robbins; September 8, 2022, 02:47 AM. Reason: Barney Barnato died in 1897, not 1898

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            • #96
              Before getting into the detail of how Jabez White's trip to the US went and how that led to Tom Pritchard suing the newspaper 'Boxing' for libel, a brief look at Jim Coffroth, the man who sent a cablegram to invite Jabez White to fight the winner of the Nelson-Gans fight.

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              Sheffield Evening Telegraph - Saturday 19 September 1908

              Jim Coffroth is a notable figure in US boxing history and has been described as “America's first big-time boxing promoter”.

              He’s significant enough to earn himself an entire chapter (https://www.google.co.uk/books/editi...sec=frontcover) in Paul J Vanderwood’s ‘Satan’s Playground - Mobsters and Movie Stars at America's Greatest Gaming Resort’ (Duke University Press, 2010). Although, there is no evidence to suggest he was ever a movie star.

              Coffroth first became seriously involved in boxing after meeting with “Big Jim” Kennedy in New York in 1900. New York State had passed the Lewis Law, which made all forms of prize fighting illegal in New York. Coffroth was able to secure permits to stage fights in San Francisco via a politician named Abe Ruef. Ruef is better remembered these days for his conviction for receiving and distributing bribes during the San Francisco Graft Trials.

              Coffroth himself was to be banned from promoting fights in San Francisco after being caught attempting to bribe San Francisco officials for boxing permits in 1906. Press reports about him mentions him ‘tweaking the nose of an antagonist’ or ‘tossed a jar of pickles at a rival’ (Vanderwood, 2010).

              The Jabez White - Joe Gans fight was to take place on the 12th of March, 1909. In the days after the fight Jim Coffroth was accused of stabbing a gambler, sportsman and ‘man about town’ named “Butch” Geggus.

              The San Francisco Call from Sunday the 21st of March 1909 covers the story, after Charles Geggus, the cousin of Butch, called the Call asking where Coffroth could be found. The stabbing had occurred in the early hours of Saturday the 20th. The call's coverage descibed Butch as being seriously injured.


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              San Francisco Call, Volume 105, Number 111, 21 March 1909


              According to Vanderwood’s account, Butch Geggus would later dismiss the attack as ‘Just a fight that friends would have when they’ve been drinking, see? And no damage was done me. See my face? There ain’t no marks there, is there?’. Coffroth was reported to be “out of town for a few days”.

              Coffroth continued to have a successful career, he went on to build a new race track at Tijuana. So perhaps it is intriguing that Tom Pritchard made his trip to America in 1907 and upon his return seems to have changed career from a music hall agent to a boxing promoter, and was immediately able to set up a transatlantic fight in association with a man of Coffroth’s stature and reputation.

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