Proud History of West Yorkshire Boxing Clubs Celebrated in New Exhibition

A celebration of the traditional boxing clubs found around Halifax and Calder dale is launching at the Gallery in The Piece Hall later this month.

“Halifax Stars” is a newly created film and oral history project which focuses on the sport’s working-class roots in the many clubs which have proudly operated in and around the town for decades.

The free to enter exhibition opens at 10am on Saturday 29 April 2023 and will run until Sunday 28 May. 

An innovative intergenerational project, it has been led by verd de gris arts and co-created with local boxing coaches and community workers and shares the stories of older fighters, and the gyms that used to be a prominent feature of the area. 

It also celebrates the importance of boxing to young working-class people today to the instilling of self-discipline, self-care, respect and pride in community.

Jeff Turner from Verd de Gris Arts said:

“In developing this project, we wanted to reflect the strength and communal nature of boxing culture in working-class towns like Halifax and across West Yorkshire.

“Rather than us trying to tell this story through historical facts and statistics – we have chosen to let the boxers speak for themselves and give you an insight into why boxing is perhaps the most noble of sporting arts.”

“Many of these clubs have historically worked with some of the most socially and economically disadvantaged people in the borough – offering support and positive relationships for young people suffering adverse circumstances, at risk of crime, alcohol, and substance abuse.”  

Verd de Gris Arts worked alongside filmmaker and photographer Geoff Brokate on the project with extensive support and commitment from local gym owners Mick Rowe, Cass Varey, Josh Sandland, and the family of Carrie Shaw, whose book ‘Roy’s Boys’ lovingly documents the history of the local boxing scene.

The exhibition has been made possible thanks to funding from Historic England for community-led projects to unlock untold local stories and hidden histories.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said:

“These grants enable people to tell their own stories, in their own way, and connect with others in their communities through a shared understanding of their local heritage. The histories of castles and great houses and their inhabitants are well documented, but we know far less about our everyday heritage. From council estates, pubs and clubs, to farms, factories and shipyards, these are the places where most people have lived, worked and played for hundreds of years. We want to explore these untold stories and celebrate the people and places at the heart of our history.” 

Halifax and its surrounding area have a long and proud tradition of boxing clubs and academies and currently the area has a growing number of successful boxing clubs and fitness gyms – with owners and trainers steeped in the stories, memories, and glories of the amateur and professional boxing scene.

 Halifax Stars will be open daily from 10am until 4pm from Saturday 29 April until Sunday 28 May.

Categorised in: