A journey through the past: Tipton Slasher edition

The Internet is useful for all sorts of things beyond food safety – it’s been a boon for genealogy research.

Which is how we ended up meeting with Carl yesterday at The Fountain Inn in Tipton, U.K., not far from Birmingham.

At one point Carl asked, “So what do you think of it over here?”

“Oddly comfortable.”

Carl got in touch with me electronically after I posted something about William Perry, aka The Tipton Slasher, who was the bare-knuckle heavyweight boxing champ of England from 1850-1857.

Carl, who is descended from one of William Perry’s brothers, had detailed genealogies, constructed from birth and wedding certificates from the area. Tipton’s favorite son, the Slasher, had a son, William Perry II, who had a daughter, Sally or Sarah (she was called both), who married George Edward Powell I. They had a son, George Edward Powell II, who was my grandfather (and there’s nothing noble about the I and II; as cousin Keith said, they were grafters, which in Brit-speak means hard workers). So I got it wrong before, and the Slasher was my great-great-great grandfather.

Sorenne and I posed in front of the statue of gramps in the park across from the Fountain Inn, which was the Slasher’s headquarters and training site before he became champ, and adjacent to one of the many canals constructed in the early 1800s to feed the industrial machine that was Birmingham. Perry started fighting fellow boatmen on the local canals to determine who would be first through the lockgates.

And while we were too early for food, the Fountain Inn did proudly display its food license and level II catering certificate. The slideshow below has lots of cool pics.

The Tipton Slasher and alcohol sanitizers revisited in British prison

William Perry, aka The Tipton Slasher, was the bare-knuckle heavyweight boxing champ of England in 1850 and 1856.

Apparently, I am related, through my father’s father’s family.

You can see it in the profile (left).

I figured this out during a grade 8 genealogy project in 1975.

Now that Al Gore has invented the Internet, I looked on-line, and there are lots of purported relatives of The Tipton Slasher.

But I have a collection of newspaper clippings outlining the alcohol-fueled antics – and downfall – of the Slasher, as well as a copy of the 1959 Pictorial History of Boxing, by Nat Fleicher and Sam Andre, passed through the family to me.

Hey, the Slasher’s even got his own wiki page.

“William Perry (21 March 1819 – 18 January 1881), known as the Tipton Slasher, was an English boxer of the bare-knuckle era.

“Born Tipton, Perry claimed the heavyweight boxing championship of England twice, in 1850 and in 1856. He was finally defeated by Tom Sayers in 1857.

“He died in Wolverhampton aged 62. A statue stands in the town of Tipton, yards away from the Fountain Inn public house, which was once his headquarters. The building received Grade II Listed Building Status in 1984 on recognition of its association with Perry, who regularly fought fellow boatmen on the many local canals in order to be first through the lockgates.”

Another site described great-great-great-great-great uncle Perry as possessing average physical skills but was “tricky, cool under pressure and used good judgment.”

Except when he bet everything he owned, including his bar, on a comeback title match for which he was woefully underprepared and lost everything, returning to work the canals and dying, penniless and drunk.

Cool statue though.

When they’re not bare-knuckle boxing in British prisons – I wonder which inmate has insisted on the nickname, The Tipton Slasher — they’re drinking alcohol-based sanitizers.

Peter McParlin of the Prison Officers Association says inmates were using hand sanitizer distributed to control H1N1 flu,  to make illicit alcohol.

The gel had been distributed around the prison to stop the spread of the swine flu virus. McParlin said on Thursday that giving inmates access to a gel with an alcohol content was unwise.

The Tipton Slasher would approve.