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The Pride of Poplar… A New Statue Comes to Town

On May 16th 2014, East London will be blessed with a brand new statue of former boxer, Teddy Baldock; one of the area’s most remarkable sons.

Teddy Baldock

Teddy Baldock

Born in Poplar in May 1907 Teddy’s life was marked by triumph and tragedy.

In 1927 aged just 19 he fought his way to become Britain’s youngest ever boxing world champion; a record which remains to this day. In his rise to fame, Teddy amassed a fortune and became known as the ‘Pride of Poplar.’

Teddy Baldock mobbed by fans on his wedding day (image: The Daily Sketch, via London Ex-Boxer's Association).

Teddy mobbed by fans on his wedding day (image: The Daily Sketch, via London Ex-Boxer’s Association).

However, after suffering injury to his hand in the ring, the young boxer’s luck quickly began to diminish.

Although he managed to forge a second career as a bookmaker, Teddy had a generous nature which was exploited as he gave away thousands of pounds to people whom he thought were friends.

During WWII the former boxer served with the RAF. Whilst he was away, his finances suffered further as a number of properties he’d invested in back in London were destroyed by air-raids.

As the years progressed, Teddy began to drink and gamble heavily. His marriage collapsed and by the time he died in March 1971, Teddy was penniless and long forgotten, an elderly vagrant shivering out his final days on cruel streets and in stinking doss-houses.

In recent years, Teddy’s legacy has been revived with the publication of a biography and a campaign by his grandson, Martin Sax to have a statue erected.

Sculpture of Teddy in his prime.

Sculpture of Teddy in his prime.

After a successful campaign to raise funds, Martin’s dream has thankfully come to fruition.

Sculpted by Carl Payne, Teddy’s tribute will stand outside Langdon Park Community Sports College, Hay Currie Street where it is hoped it will inspire local youngsters. The site holds extra importance in that the college stands on the site of Teddy’s former childhood home.

Minature of Teddy's Statue (image: London Ex-Boxer's Association).

Minature of Teddy’s Statue (image: London Ex-Boxer’s Association).

The unveiling is scheduled to take place between 3-6pm on May 16th 2014 and at the time of writing, actor Ray Winstone (himself a boxer in his younger days) is pencilled in to do the honours. Photos will appear on this site after the event if you can’t make it!

A detailed account of Teddy’s life can be found on his grandson Martin’s excellent website. Please click here for the link.

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4 responses

  1. Always sad to read about a hero who is idolised in their prime and forgotten in their old age. Beautiful sculpture.

    1. Much agreed, Merewoman. Thanks for the nice comment.

  2. […] Poplar is to get a new statue, of local boxer Teddy Baldock. […]

  3. […] promised in an earlier post about Teddy’s life and career (please click here to read), here are some photographs from the […]

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