(1874-1901) Alfred Edward Tysoe has been described s “the greatest Salford Harrier of them all”. Born at Skerton, near Lancaster, Tysoe ran part-time with the Skerton Harriers running team, while still working as a farm labourer. In 1896 he won the Northern Counties 1000 yards and the one mile titles. His running successes brought him to the attention of Harold Hardwick, founder of Salford Harriers in 1884, and in 1897 Tysoe was persuaded to join the Salford team. Within his first year with Salford Harriers, he had achieved the Amateur Athletics Association championships in one mile and ten miles. In 1898 he helped the team to win their sixth National Cross Country championship. He acquired numerous other notable wins, including the 800 yards in the “Paris International Championships” in July 1900 – the forerunner of the modern Olympic Games. Just two weeks before those games he had broken the world record by running the 800 yards in 1 minute and 57.8 seconds. In the 1900 games he also won a gold medal as part of the 5000 metres team race. This proved to be his last season on the running track, as in early 1901 he became severely ill with pleurisy. Nursed by his father at his home in Blackpool, Alfred Tysoe tragically died on the 26th of October 1901, aged twenty-seven. (Source: James W Bancroft Archive).
World Flyweight Champion Boxer 1932-1935
(1910-1971) Jackie Brown was born into a poor family in Collyhurst, Manchester in 1910. During his career he was to win the World Flyweight Boxing Championship, as well as British and European Titles, all of which he lost in 1935 to the Scotsman, Benny Lynch. Brown amassed a small fortune during his short career – all of which he spent on fast living, clothes, parties, cars and women. During World War Two, he became a physical training instructor, but after all the fame and fortune, in obscurity he coped very badly, and was imprisoned for assault on a four month hard labour charge in Strangeways Gaol. This brought some renewed distinction, as his case was defended by Edgar Lustgarten, later to be a celebrated radio and television personality in the field of criminology. Brown spent the last years of his life, from 1968 to 1971, in hospital at Crumpsall (now the North Manchester General Hospital), where he died at the age of 61. (Source: James W Bancroft Archive).
Olympic Water Polo Player
(1879-1946) A pioneer of British Water Polo, at a time when only the British really played the game, George Wilkinson is regarded as the world’s first great water polo player. He was born in the Gorton district of Manchester on 3rd March 1879, where from an early age he demonstrated that he was a keen and enthusiastic swimmer at his local Gorton Baths. Although a top class swimmer, he never won any straight swimming championships outright, but could only achieve runner-up in the Amateur Swimming Association’s championships. At the age of 15, Wilkinson took up Water Polo, and was playing in the third division of the Manchester League when he was spotted and invited to join the Hyde Seal team in a friendly match against the local champion Osbourne Swimming Club. His role was fundamental in the first defeat of Osbourne in seven years, and as a result he was recruited for the national Olympic Team by John Derbyshire, superintendent of Osbourne Street baths, and a powerful figure in Manchester swimming organisation. Wilkinson was a powerful and versatile player who played in left-forward position. His shooting accuracy was legend, as was his strong two-handed power drive and his speciality backhand flip. Soon after the 1900 Olympic Games, Wilkinson moved to live in Hyde, and continued playing for the Hyde Seal Club at its home base in the Union Street Baths. He was captain of this team for some 22 years, achieving many top awards for himself and the team. These included 22 Northern Championship wins and 9 National Championships. Hyde Seal were also World Champions for 3 successive seasons under his captaincy. He captained both the Lancashire and Cheshire County Teams, gaining 24 English caps between 1900 and 1922. He personally gained a second Olympic Championship Medal in 1908, and captained the winning British Team at the Stockholm Olympics in 1912. In 1925, now aged 46 and virtually retired from active participation, he was award a large purse and Testimonial Award, to which over a thousand local supporters had contributed. On retirement, he became a licenced publican, and, with his wife ran various Manchester pubs, including “The Sportsman” in Hyde, “The Hen & Chickens” on Deansgate, “The Mess House” in Oldham and “The Wheatsheaf” in Hyde, where he remained until his death. His son, Harry, was to follow in his father’s footsteps, and also became a Hyde Seal Player. After his health began to fail, George died, aged 77 on 7th August 1946, and is buried in Gorton Cemetery. A memorial to his memory also honours him in the Swimming Hall of Fame at Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the United States of America. (Source: James W Bancroft Archive).
Emil Robert Voigt
Long Distance Olympic Running Champion
(1883-1973) Emil Robert Voigt won the gold medal in the five-mile race for England in the 1908 London Olympic Games at the new White City Stadium at Shepherds Bush. This was an astounding feat as Emil not only ran with a badly injured foot, but also he had never competed at that distance before nor against internationals, he had been training for half mile and one mile events. In the Olympic heats the arch of his foot had collapsed due to torn muscles but determined to contest the finals he had a special arch support built into his sandshoe overnight. He ended up winning the finals by an amazing 70 yards and to date is still the only Olympic gold medal distance runner England has ever had. Born in Manchester on 31 January 1883, the son of Emil Voigt senior, a German-born mantles salesman. Emil took up running after he left school at the age of 14. He joined Slade Harriers Club in 1897 and competed in cross-country events with them for 8 years before joining the Manchester Athletic Club. He went abroad for a year as a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian based in Italy (1905-1906) and did not do any running while there, then when he returned to Manchester he joined the Manchester Athletic Club in 1906. A strict vegetarian, he attributed his athletic prowess to this fact. He was also a talented linguist.
He continued his running career for another five years after the Olympics, winning a number of British, Australian and European championships. He was the AAA British four-mile champion in 1908 and again in 1909; British five-mile champion in 1908 and British one-mile champion in 1910. In 1909 and 1910 he also competed in Europe, winning titles in Sweden, Finland, Germany and France. In 1911 he emigrated to Australia and became the Australian six-miles record holder in 1911, the Australian two-miles record holder in 1913 and Victorian one-mile champion in 1913. World War 1 put an end to his career. He went on to establish businesses in Australia and became a pioneer of early radio there, setting up his own radio station 2KY in 1925. He became President of the Australian Federation of Broadcasting Stations, and in 1948 he moved to live in Auckland, New Zealand, where he died on 16th October 1973 aged ninety. (Source: Text & Images – Robin Voigt).
Emil Voigt in his 80s with his framed Olympic Certificate.