Jim's B.A.W.L.A. lapel badge.
Weight lifting remains, these days, a popular sport, with representative
competitions up to Olympic level. In the 1930s it was, perhaps, much more
popular, especially when it is taken along with what was then a closely
associated activity, physical culture. Physical culture was part of the
"Health and Strength" movement, with the "Health and Beauty" movement for women.
It is quite likely that these activities appealed to Jim Morgan not least
because bus driving in those days - with no power steering, no power brakes -
needed strength and endurance.
Jim's membership cards and other printed documents show that he
was actively engaged in this sport from at least 1926 to at least
1939. He was a member of the Wolverhampton Weight Lifting
Club, which, on some documents, is referred to as the Wulfrunian
Weight Lifting and Physical Culture Club. Where they met is
not known, though some of Jim's certificates refer to the club's
being at Heath Town; and some refer to weight lifting feats being
performed at the Wellington Road Institute of Physical Culture,
Bilston. He may have been a member of that club or it may be
that this was the centre for all local refereed performances.
||Presumably the Wolverhampton club engaged in weight
lifting competitions with other clubs, though there is
no indication of this in the scrapbooks which Jim kept.
But one of Jim's fob chain medallions is engraved
with the words "Morgan (winner) v Washbrook" suggesting
some sort of competitive lifting.
Perhaps of more importance (or perhaps simply better
recorded in memorabilia) were personal achievements.
Jim kept a large number of certificates, some of which
are issued by the magazine "Health and Strength", which
record Jim's own weight lifting feats, all observed by
the British Amateur Weight Lifting Association.
|The rest of the certificates were issued by the
BAWLA itself, and also record various feats. These
are feats of personal performance and standard achieved,
not local or national records.
But there is one certificate which lists the lifts
Jim made and then says "thus gaining the title of 9 1/2
stone Amateur Champion of Staffordshire for 1929".
Another certificate refers to his being the County
Champion in 1932 also.
Some of the feats recorded might be of interest
as an indication of the standards of the day; and also for the
types of lift they record, many of which are no longer performed
in any competitive way. It should be mentioned that, in
all the certificates throughout the period they cover, Jim's
weight is always 9 1/2 stone or thereabouts.
|| Rectangular Fix:
||64 ½ lbs
||96 ½ lbs
||Left hand dead lift
||238 ½ lbs
||Two dumbbells Clean and Jerk
||Two Hands Clean and Jerk
||162 ¾ lbs
|| Right hand swings:
||105 ½ lbs
||Two dumbbells Clean and Jerk:
||Right hand clean and bent press
||Swinging Indian Clubs for 24
||Two Hands Anyhow with Barbell &
||The nine lifts prescribed by the
In 1932, when Jim was County Champion, his lifts
|Left hand snatch
|| 89 lbs
|Right hand clean and bent
|Two hands clean and press F.
|| 98 lbs
|Two hands clean and jerk with
||166 ½ lbs
Jim seems to have become a senior stalwart of
his club and may well have been one of its officers but there is no
mention of this in the scrapbook. But there is a reference to
him, in one his membership cards, as "James Morgan Esq., Certified
Divisional BAWLA Referee, etc.". He was clearly a
leading light in the weightlifting world locally. One of Jim's
fob chain medallions is simply engraved on the back "J. R. Morgan in
appreciation of services rendered".
||Jim's fob medallions. All but one are
hallmarked silver. They are inscribed:
top left: WWLC. Morgan (Winner) v Washbrook.
top centre: 7 Certificate of Merit. J. Morgan.
top right: B.A.W.L.A. J. Morgan.
bottom left: J. R. Morgan. In
appreciation of services rendered.
bottom centre: J. Morgan. 9. B.A.W.L.A. Diploma Winner.
bottom right: J. Morgan. Swung
There are two group photos of the Wulfrunian Weight Lifting Club.
Unfortunately neither is dated but as Jim appears in them they must
be from the late 20s or the 30s.
||This photo was taken in the Queen's Arcade.
back: Bill Adams, Jim Morgan, Wilbrey, H. Bills,
A. Hazeldine, J. Powell.
front: ?, ?, ?, S. Solloway, Mr. Whittingham,
G. Bennett, Joey ?, A. Kidd.
|back: ?, Woodissey, J. Powell, H. Parkes, Tom
Harrington, T. Downes, Sexton, Giles.
D. Downes, ?, W. Botten, S. Whitehouse, J.Buckerfiled,
front: ?, ?, W. Wilbrey, Mr. Pratt (President),
J. Morgan, W. Durnal, ?
The club seems to have taken part in carnival parades.
These snaps might be of the Royal Hospital Carnival or of the
||The weight lifter are on the left hand float, with
banners saying "You must keep fit". The vehicles and the
hats suggest late twenties or early thirties.
|The daring young men on a moving lorry must have
been taking a risk. The date seems much the same
as the photo above.
Jim's scrapbook contained many photos of him and his club mates
posing for body building shots. To see them go on to the next
page, which is the last page in this story. Otherwise you can
go back to the People Menu.