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.

1927   Rectangular Fix:  64 ½ lbs
1927 Slow curl: 96 ½ lbs
1927 Left hand dead lift 238 ½ lbs
1927 Two dumbbells Clean and Jerk 104 lbs
1927 Two Hands Clean and Jerk 162 ¾ lbs
1927  Right hand swings:  105 ½ lbs
1927 Two dumbbells Clean and Jerk:  126 lbs
1928 Right hand clean and bent press 118 lbs
1928 Swinging Indian Clubs for 24 hours  
1929 Two Hands Anyhow with Barbell & Kettle 169 lbs
1929 The nine lifts prescribed by the BAWLA  

In 1932, when Jim was County Champion, his lifts were:

Left hand snatch  89 lbs
Right hand clean and bent press     139 lbs
Two hands clean and press F. B. neck    98 lbs
Two hands clean and jerk with barbell  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. Wolverhampton 1928-30.

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 Clubs 68½hrs.

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.

centre: ?, D. Downes, ?, W. Botten, S. Whitehouse, J.Buckerfiled, E.Nock, S.Davies.

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 Bilston Carnival.

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. 

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