British Working Class Heroes: Olly Haggerty, The strong bloke from t’fair

This will be the first part of an ongoing series that details the exploits of those oft forgotten heroes. The ones whom might not have succeeded financially, but nonetheless changed the world with their actions. I will begin with subject close to my heart, professional wrestling and one of it’s long unsung heroes.

Cast your mind back to 1899, though do not cast your body there without the appropriate Sasquatch lest you succumb to the lust of your own sex.

You’re a young boy of school/chimney sweep/ factory death age living in the ravages of the North of England, you have successfully repelled the Scots (again, for they are easily repelled) for the week and you have accumulated (through either labour or larceny) a Queen’s shilling. Whilst you could take yourself to the purveyor of confectionery and increase your march to a bilious death, instead you wish to partake in some cheap thrills and polite and informative entertainment. Only one place for you my lad and that’s the fairground.

Image result for fairground blackpool 1800

Wait there’s a woman in the photo, highly illegal.

But I digress, upon arrival you find yourself drawn to a shoddy looking tent, within said tent, there is a ring and within said ring is this man, only he’s wearing just a loincloth and thrusting in your general direction.

Image result for wrestler UK 1920s

Thankfully he is soon arrested for lewd behavior and replaced by this man.
Image result for wrestler UK 1920s

The man precedes to take on all comers, tying them in knots and leaving many unconscious and dead. This man Is Olly Haggerty and he is the greatest professional wrestler ever to walk God’s green earth. He was born in 1860 to Molly and Walter Haggerty (a miller, because he’s in the north what else would he do?). Olly as a child was a devout Luddite and learned to fight by challenging the Spinning Jenny to fisticuffs. This led to a long, hard and pulsing phase of losing and regrowing his fingers until (or so it is told by Norah down the chippy) “his fists were akin to the hardest substance known t’northern man”, which at the time was Coconut. Coconuts having replaced week old dog poo as the unit of measurement the previous weekend.

This led to Olly’s true calling as a fighter, his first fight was in 1887 against his wife Eleanor. She was immediately killed by a particularly stiff Knucklelock that gave her a tremendous and simultaneous dose of Cancer and Syphilis. She was 11.

Olly then went on to the pro scene, racking up victories against the likes of Arthur “Can’t be doing with that sort of behavior” Shreeves and the world champion Igor Vladimir Imuripurbolokoff after three grueling rounds of headlocks.

Haggerty did not stop there, eager to prove himself the strongest, he booked himself in a No Holds Barred Contest with a Tiger Shark at Wembley Stadium during the half time break of the FA Cup Final between Waddleton Miners Welfare F.C. and The Royal Submariners A.F.C. (Result: 0-0 draw, game to be replayed on Tuesday). The Shark was lowered into the stadium and 5 minutes later Olly walked out to thunderous applause. Some state that the Shark died of fear, others more slanderous folk say that a Shark cannot live out of water but these sort of hooligans did not go to church and as such were not considered people. Either way it was concluded that the shark was a big girls blouse and an obvious poofter and that alone grants Olly’s victory legitimacy.

He died the following year after failing to maintain his internal alcohol level. He was 71.


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