A major landmark in British sporting and boxing history, and former home to the National Sporting Club, 43 King Street in Covent Garden, has been marked with the unveiling of a Westminster City Council Green Plaque.
Known as the National Sporting Club between 1891 and 1929, under its president Hugh Cecil Lowther, the fifth earl of Lonsdale, and co-founders Arthur “Peggy” Bettison and John Fleming, 43 King Street became the home of modern glove boxing. Consequently, Westminster City Council has unveiled an official Green Plaque at 43 King Street to commemorate the historic significance of this well-known London sporting landmark.
The plaque is sponsored by the London Ex-Boxers Association (LEBA), which was formed in 1971 following an informal meeting of former boxers, and from small beginnings now has over 600 members, including 85 life members. In addition to its monthly meetings, LEBA also hosts an Annual Awards’ Dinner on the third Sunday in February, and plays a key role in raising money for local charities, and has supported many London Amateur Boxing Clubs over the years. In addition to its wider community role, LEBA also plays a role in ensuring that the welfare of its members is taken care of.
The plaque was unveiled by Cllr Steve Summers, the Cabinet Member for Sport, Leisure, and Customer Services at Westminster City Council, and the guest of Honour was Lord Hugh Lowther the eighth Earl of Lonsdale, whose family introduced the famed “Lonsdale Belt”, which is still awarded to British Champions to this day. Indeed, former holders of the Lonsdale belt include great British boxers including Henry Cooper and Lennox Lewis, as well as current day champions including four time super middleweight world champion Carl Froch and current IBF Welterweight Champion Kell Brook.
Stephen Powell, Spokesperson for LEBA, said: “The London Ex-Boxers Association are proud to sponsor a lasting memorial to all those in the Boxing fraternity, and their descendants, that inherited and carried the rules, and traditions, of The National Sporting Club into the 21st century. Without The National Sporting Club, there would be no legal boxing as we know it today. No World, or British Champions, no ‘Local Heroes’, and a little less of the English sense of ‘Fair Play’”.
Cllr Steve Summers said: “It is not often that the origins of a sport can be traced back to a particular building such 43 King Street, and this is why it was such a straight forward decision for Westminster City Council to award this green plaque”.