London's Lovable Villain
The True Story of Chick "Cocky" Knight's Colourful Life
Words from Andy Scott...
London’s Loveable Villain is about my great uncle, Wrestler and Triple Lifesaver, Chick ‘Cocky’ Knight, and his colourful life and exploits. The title comes from one of his many wrestling bout promotional posters, in which he was referred to as such, due to the fact crowds either loved him or loathed him!
Born in Hammersmith, West London in 1903 (Chick later lived in Castelnau, Barnes SW London where he passed away at home in 1967) Chick was a champion Wrestler, Boxer and Fencer in the Army (1st Suffolk Battalion Regiment), and then both an amateur and pro-Boxer. He fought as a professional Boxer from 1935-36, which included a contest with former British Champion, Reggie Meen. As well as being a professional Wrestler Chick was also a professional Boxer, a Soldier, a Doorman at several London nightclubs, including The Lyceum, a Film Stuntman and Extra, security to Royalty (Princess Margaret at Kensington Palace) and a Triple Lifesaver, with 2 rescues, one in Gibraltar in 1924 when he saved a fellow solider from drowning at Catalan Bay, and a second in the Thames at Hammersmith in June 1930, when he saved 2 people from drowning, going into the River Thames not once but twice to rescue the 2 people! Both incidents are documented fully in the book.
Chick was one of the first British Wrestlers on TV in 1938 (he fought Canadian champion Earl McCready at Earls Court in London) and fought as a professional Wrestler from 1932-58 fighting all the great heavyweights in the UK, Europe and across the globe, including many battles with the legendary heavyweight champion of that era, Bert Assirati. Around 1,000 of Chick’s wrestling matches have been found and documented, and this comprehensive fight history can be found at the rear of the book.
Chick famously fought Former British Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion Boxer, Billy Wells in 1938, in one of the first and certainly televised on film, Boxer v Wrestler matches at Earls Court in London.
Chick also starred in films with the likes of George Formby, Flanagan and Allen, and appeared as a stuntman in several too.
A complete chapter devoted to Chick’s comprehensive Boxing fight history, as well as a separate chapter devoted to the contest with Billy Wells are both contained in the book.
Chick was a friend to many celebrities, including Boxer Len Harvey, singer Josef Locke (Chick fought many times as wrestler in Belfast, Cork, Derry and Ulster in the 1940s & 1950s), comedian Ben Warriss, film and music star George Formby (Chick starred in several of George’s films and George would come along and watch Chick fight when he had wrestling matches in Blackpool) and Britain’s most notorious hangman and executioner, Albert Pierrepoint. The two formed an unlikely friendship but shared a common love of Boxing and fine cigars, and would regularly meet either in London, when Albert would be in town ‘on business’ as he used to refer to it, or when Chick was fighting in Manchester, when he would often stay with Albert at his pub in Oldham, ‘Help The Poor Struggler’.
I also managed to finally trace the son (Ted Soper) of Dorothy Foulger, who was one of the 2 people Chick saved in the Thames at Hammersmith in 1930! We had a great chat, his late mother had mentioned the rescue and that she had fallen into the Thames in 1930, but no more, and they never knew until now, who had been responsible. But for Chick, her son Ted and his 2 other siblings would not have been born. Needless to say, that piece has been included in the pages of the book. The son of the soldier Edward Durrant, who was also saved by Chick in 1924 was also found and spoken with, and both incidents are fully recorded with what happened to those Chick saved included in the book.
A petition to get Chick a plaque on Hammersmith Bridge in recognition of that heroic double lifesaving feat now has in excess of 400 signatures, the link to which is below
Petition · Get Chick Knight a plaque on Hammersmith Bridge · Change.org
London’s Loveable Villain is 236 pages in size, with 28 pages of many never-before-seen images. The cost is £12 + £3.78 p&p for the paperback and it is also available as a Kindle version, cost £6. The back cover has an endorsement by leading sports author, Martin Knight, of London Books.
Book Ordering details
The book is available with a click to buy link on eBay at the moment and is selling well with over 40 copies sold in 3 days!
London's Loveable Villain - Chick 'Cocky' Knight ISBN: 978-1-80049-157-1 | eBay
A promotional page on Facebook has also been set up London's Loveable Villain - The true life story of Chick 'Cocky' Knight | Facebook