Competitions 21A and 21B: results

The setter, George Blake – his second time – has set one competition for a rhymed “address to a Press Baron on his Being Elevated to a Still Higher Rank in the Peerage” (with an injunction that he be ‘imaginary”, as the scope for libel being encouraged is obviously considerable – and this is the WR’s second pot-shot at press barons, of whom Rothermere – the Mail and Mirror owner, and Beaverbrook – the Express and Evening Standard proprietor – were pre-eminent); and one competition for an epigram in verse or prose on “A British Heavyweight”.

The competitors have duly risen to the challenge, but Blake slags them off for using bludgeons rather than rapiers. T.E. Casson is once again – he still hasn’t won – picked out as a notable loser, with Glenda Graham and James Hall coming closer. But the winner, a regular, is H.C.M. with this:


Thereis no second prize.

As for 21B, boxing was in the doldrums in 1930 – there was no world heavyweight champion in the 1930 for financial reasons – and in Britain, a few top boxers had been making a habit of being knocked out early (in Jack Bloomfield’s case, earlier in the 1920s, in suspicious circumstances). The British title-holder at the time the competition was set was Phil Scott, and he had only weeks earlier suffered a technical knockout at the hands of Young Stribling. There’s a newsreel here of Scott being knocked out in two rounds within a year of this competition. So no witty paeans were expected.

Among the best known boxers in the 1920s were brothers Jack and Joe Bloomfield, both of whom had held a heavyweight title (then as now, there were a variety). Jack had retired in ignominy after a notorious early knockout (i.e. he went down). Joe was still active, but was in the middle of a series of defeats. (In 1928, he and another boxer had had their match declared null and void by the referee because they weren’t doing their best!)

Jack and Joe Bloomfield

Joe and Jack Bloomfield

In the event Blake, pausing to commend a variety of entrants, but including L.V.Upward, who was to stick at the competitions for a good few years, he splits the one-and-a-half guineas three ways, between O.H.T. Dudley, W. Snow, and the often-present James Hall, successful in this competition where he’s come close in the other –


O.H.T. Dudley was Oscar Hugo Thornton Dudley, born in 1877 in Staffordshire, and a man who had spent about a quarter-of-a-century as a leading inspector of schools in India, until at least the early 1920s. His family were clergy – his father was the vicar of Ticehurst in Sussex, and his great-uncle had been the chaplain on one of the first four ships that took settlers to New Zealand in 1850. I suspect he was retired by this time: he was a literary scholar on the side, and erudite articles about, for instance, Jane Austen and Keats were published in scholarly journals just before and during the existence of the WR.


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