Emily Archer informed us that she started a brand new blog dedicated to The Cromwellian Club.
So far one entry has been posted and it already learned the Church a thing or two. Probably Emily will be able to add some sensational stories and anecdotes as well, because she has access to a wealth of inside information coming from a man who could write a few books on British wrestling and clubbing alone, her father, Bob Archer. Known as Bob Anthony in wrestling circles, he was a co-owner of the Crom and responsible for its 'entertainment' division as he hired the bands that turned the place into a huge success.
The Reverend had the pleasure to ask Bob a few questions a while ago (see: The Wrestling Beatle) and this may have made his appetite grow for more. People often tell Bob he should start writing his memoirs and we certainly hope that Emily will squeeze him hard enough to get those juicy stories out of him.
We wish Emily all the best with her Cromwellian blog and all we can add so far is: it's about time!
The White Angel
Recently the Wrestling Heritage website has started with a 'members only' Top Twenty Masked Men feature and The White Angel has made it on the 8th position. Hiding behind that mask was Judo Al Hayes, another Crom owner.
In one of our previous topics (Dr Death and other assorted figures) it was revealed how The White Angel had to fight another masked wrestler, Doctor Death, in April 1962. At stake was not only a 500 £ price but also the loser's secret identity. Doctor Death won the match and in a great ceremonial ending The White Angel was unmasked before the cheering crowd, much to the enjoyment of Doctor Death whose reputation sky-rocketed.
What most wrestling fans didn't know at that time was that Al Hayes had just signed a contract with Paul Lincoln Management and that the outcome probably had been staged. Paul Lincoln was not only a wrestling manager, but also Doctor Death, a personal friend of Al Hayes and another co-owner of the Cromwellian. For the next months to come Doctor Death and The White Angel repeated the match at other places and always with the same result.
At the moment we write this (May 3, 2011) the Top 3 of the Masked Men remains to be published at Wrestling Heritage and still there is no sign of Doctor Death.
Update August 2011: In July 2011 Doctor Death was awarded The Number One Masked Man of the Heritage Years by the Wrestling Heritage website.
Paul Lincoln Tribute
Paul Lincoln passed away in January 2011 and the British Wrestling Reunion website has published a tribute, written by Wayne Bridges. It gives a detailed career overview of Paul Lincoln and we hereafter present some highlights of this eulogy.
Simultaneously alongside wrestling, Paul had always enjoyed a love of music and would often frequent a bar in Goodge Street run by Greek grappler: Milo Popocopolous, where he soon learned of a derelict condiment shop for sale in Old Compton Street, owned and run by the Irani brothers. Paul and Ray bought the premises to open as one of the first ‘coffee bars’ in London, complete with new fangled ‘expresso frothy coffee’ from Italy. Not knowing what to name this venture, they saw that the previous owners had left a tatty old sign with just the letter 'I' displayed in two places , being all that was left of their name, and the 2i’s legend was born.
A small stage was set up in the corner, a jukebox and Gaggia coffee machine added, and it soon became a mecca for budding musicians who were eager to copy their idols such as Elvis Presley. With the skiffle era in full swing it also attracted many wannabe stars from this field of music.
Never one to miss a chance, Paul invited these kids to rehearse on the stage in return for help with erecting the rings at his many wrestling shows. In the beginning Lonnie Donegan, Nancy Whiskey and Chas McDevitt were the rage, but these youngsters were hot on their heels, just waiting the chance to make it !
Paul together with impresario: Larry Parnes, soon to be known as Mr Parnes, shillings and pence, saw the opportunity for these musicians and names such as Colin Hicks were changed to Tommy Steele, Ron Wycherly to Billy Fury, Reg Smith to Marty Wilde, and of course Harry Webb became Sir Cliff Richard. The fabulous Shadows: Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, Jet Harris, Tony Meehan all worked for Paul prior to becoming the legends that they did. The names created reads like a who’s who and includes Joe Brown, Mickey Most, Vince Eager, Terry Dene, Wee Willie Harris, Screaming Lord Sutch, Georgie Fame, just to mention a few.
With so many halls booked nationwide for wrestling on a monthly basis, it was a simple step to add rock shows in between at these venues and wrestlers such as myself were used as bouncers to control the screaming girls, eager to get at their new heroes.
The 2i’s has been credited as the birthplace of British rock’n’roll assuring Paul Lincoln a place in the annals of music history. In 2007 a plaque was placed on the wall of the building commemorating this achievement for generations to follow. Sir Cliff Richard, Bruce Welch and Wee Willie Harris all attended to pay tribute.
Now recognised as a real mogul in the entertainment business, Paul & Ray together with Tony Matchelli and Bob Anthony, then moved into nightclubs by taking over ‘The Cromwellian’, which was struggling but by booking Tom Jones and P.J. Proby to appear by calling in favours, soon had queues of patrons circling two roads.
Taken from: British Wrestling Reunion, scroll to 26th January 2011 to read the full text.
Update 2014.12.13: unfortunately the Cromwellian blog has stayed unchanged since 2011 and it is still stuck at its first post (that borrowed a lot from the Church). We doubt if it will ever be updated.