Body Building

Eugen Sandow

Well we’ve seen for years Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone probably the best know body builders but the very first body building competition was held in the year of Queen Victoria’s demise in 1901.

The Royal Albert Hall was the venue and was plunged into darkness, spotlights picking out the 80 or so competitors in their body hugging tights and leopardskin leotards as they made their way to the stage, flexing their well-developed muscles.

Judging was one Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, creator of the master detective who had become a close friend Eugen Sandow, the world-famous strongman and music-hall performer who provided personal fitness coaching from his Institute of Physical Culture at 33a St James’s Street, in the heart of London’s fashionable clubland.

Conan Doyle had been following Sandow’s training for a few years when his car snagged a gatepost and ran up a high bank and overturned pinning him beneath it.

Conan-Doyle managed to take the weight of the car on his back, reportedly one ton and put this down to Sandow’s training with whom he had become friends at the Albert hall display of muscles.


The First Eye of London

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Have you been on the London Eye?

The London Eye is a blot on the majestic skyline of the Capital and does in fact make it look akin to a fair ground…I am not keen on it.

Anyway I was coerced onto the London Eye fairly early one morning. Now I am not too good with heights and the big wheel is 442.913386 feet high but it was a good ride and it was a bright morning so we got to see right across The City and down the Thames…a great view that I and the 30 million other visitors had.

The First Eye!

However what I didn’t realise is that in In 1887 J R Whitley opened an amusement park on derelict land between railway lines at Earls Court. One feature was the Great Wheel which was 310 feet high, the first London Eye. It also included Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and permanent attractions included the aforementioned Big Wheel, a helter-skelter and a water chute.

In the current London Eye you travel around the big wheel in pods but if you look at the photo of Whitley’s wheel is the traditional ‘hang on for dear life’ seat with a bar!