The story of a North East boxing mecca

The 4,000-seater New St James’ Corridor was one of many best boxing arenas within the north

STEP off the prepare at St James’ station on the Tyne and Put on Metro line and you might be standing, roughly, on the positioning of a one-time North East boxing mecca. Tucked behind the Gallowgate Finish of Newcastle United’s well-known floor, St James’ Park, the 4,000-seater New St James’ Corridor was one of many best fistic arenas within the north.

The unique St James’ Corridor, opened for boxing in 1909 by Newcastle world featherweight title challenger Will Curley, ran battle reveals till 1929, when Curley offered the corridor to a builder named John Paget. Having visited boxing halls up and down the nation, Paget had a imaginative and prescient for his new venue and the prevailing corridor didn’t meet his necessities, so he constructed a brand new one as a substitute.

Paget’s purpose-built battle corridor held its first present in Might 1930. Its opening coincided with two fortuitous occasions. First, the closure that month of what would have been its principal competitor: Sunderland’s Holmeside Stadium, which was torn all the way down to make means for a cinema and dancehall. Second, it was the beginning of a boxing increase in contrast to any seen earlier than or since on this nation.

As my co-columnist Miles Templeton outlined in a current article, there have been extra energetic professional boxers and reveals going down in Britain within the early Thirties than at another time. These have been the halcyon days for New St James’ Corridor when stars resembling world champions Panama Al Brown, Teddy Baldock, Benny Lynch, Jackie Brown, Younger Perez and Baltazar Sangchili appeared on the venue, in addition to famed British titlists Len Harvey, Johnny Cuthbert and Geordie legend Seaman Tommy Watson; to not point out top-notch North East males like Jack “Solid Iron” Casey, Benny Sharkey, Douglas Parker [pictured above] and Mickey McGuire.

On the top of the increase there have been six payments every week and the 4,000-seater corridor, which provided a superb view of the ring from each vantage level, had no hassle filling its reveals. Each Saturday, individuals would depart Newcastle United’s floor after a match and queue up for the boxing. By 1937, nevertheless, demand for Paget’s reveals had waned, with rival types of leisure drawing followers away from the game.

Paget died in 1938, and the possession handed to an area corn service provider and reputed millionaire referred to as Adam Hedley, who then offered the corridor for £50,000 to Sol Sheckman, proprietor of the profitable Essoldo cinema chain. In 1938, Fred Charlton – who’d been matchmaker and referee on the Holmeside Stadium within the Twenties and wrote for Boxing Information utilizing the alias Carl Fedthron (an anagram of his identify) – grew to become New St James’ Corridor’s supervisor. He guided the venue by way of the powerful conflict years, when many top-liners have been referred to as as much as serve, and stepped down in 1947.

Quickly after taking up the corridor, Sheckman appointed Joe Sheppard – a former professional fighter turned supervisor who had an extended affiliation with the venue – as its matchmaker. Joe staged in style fortnightly promotions that featured a brand new era of North East heroes. Males like British and European champion Teddy Gardner, British title challengers Stan Hawthorne and George Bowes, plus in style performers resembling Billy Exley, George “Ginger” Roberts, Wilf Bone, Jackie Keogh, Johnny Miller, George Casson and Ben Duffey.

By the course of its lengthy historical past, New St James’ Corridor earned a status as a “graveyard of champions”. World flyweight king Younger Perez was KO’d in two by native Mickey McGuire, world bantam champ Baltazar Sangchili misplaced to Benny Sharkey, European flyweight titlist Younger Martin was knocked out in two by George Bowes, European bantamweight champ Mimoun Ben Ali was whipped by Alan Rudkin, British welterweight champ Wally Thom by Vincent O’Kine and bantamweight boss Johnny King by Tom Smith.

Sadly, New St James’ Corridor took the total rely in 1968, when it was transformed right into a bingo palace. The constructing was bulldozed in 1976.

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