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Peter Banasko – one of the true greats

30 October 2017 by Sarah

Peter Banasko. Courtesy of the Banasko family

Today we have a guest blog by Peter Banasko. He is writing about his father, also called Peter Banasko – a Liverpool lad who became a world-class boxer and was asked to fight before the Prince of Wales, Prince George and Lord Lonsdale. He later became an incredibly successful coach and manager. However, Peter also grew up during the era of the Colour Bar and this blog highlights the prejudices he faced. It is a fascinating local and community history and we wanted to run it during Black History Month. With thanks to the Banasko family for submitting it to us:

Peter Emmanuel Banasko 1915-1993

“Peter Banasko was born and grew up in Liverpool. He was the only child of a mixed marriage. His father, Isaac Immanuel Banasko came from the Gold Coast, Ghana. His mother Lillian Banasko, nee Doyle, came from Liverpool.

“He was named in the birthday celebration of 800 people who put Liverpool on the map. (Liverpool Echo 28/08/2007)

“He attended St. Malachy’s School and started his amateur boxing in 1929 at the famous St. Malachy’s boxing gym. By the time he was 14 he had participated in over 100 fights. At the age of 13, having over 40 undefeated contests to his credit, he claimed the distinction of being the first Liverpool boxer to bring home to Liverpool a British Title by becoming the schoolboy champion of Great Britain in 1929 and again in 1930.

“He was invited to box before the Prince of Wales, Prince George and Lord Lonsdale.

Peter Banasko coaching. Courtesy of the Banasko family.

“At 17 he turned professional under the management of the Liverpool Stadium Promoter, Johnny Best Senior.

“Some said he was the best of the best but unfortunately for Banasko he fought during the era of the infamous ‘Colour Bar’ that forbade any non-white fighter from contesting for a national title. Again this vicious prejudice was evidenced in his marriage to Margaret McNerney, a Liverpool girl. A 300 signature petition was actioned to try and stop this marriage; it was unsuccessful.

“He was the first black manager/trainer in Liverpool, indeed in the UK. He was a friend of Douglas Collister (United Africa Co.) and also Jack Farnsworth (British West Africa CO). Because of this by the early 1950s Banasko and Liverpool were a household names in Lagos.

“His reputation as an excellent manager spread to the Gold Coast.

“According to the boxing purists at that time the black boxers fought in a distinct ‘unscientific’ style; they failed to master ‘the noble art’. However, their performances in the ring soon shattered these stereotypes. Banasko was a contributing factor in this change of opinion. When opposing boxers where facing the ‘Banasko camp’ it was not the boxer they feared but Banasko because of his knowledge and expertise.

“Banasko gained the rank of sergeant with the Royal Berkshire Regiment. His request for a commission was turned down. He was advised he would stand a better chance of a commission if he joined the Indian Army!

“This prejudice came up again when Hogan Kid Bassey won the British Empire Featherweight title. He told Banasko in the dressing room after the fight that he wanted a change of manager. Bassey had been convinced that he would not get any further in his career under a black manager. Banasko, disgusted with this prejudice and gutted by Bassey’s disloyalty, parted from the sport he loved.

“Ian Hargraves in his article in the Liverpool Echo (November 30th 1993) ‘Salute to boxing’s unsung hero’ on his death in November 1993 summed it up completely by stating:

Peter Banasko… a rare talent – one of the true greats’ “.

Peter Banasko and the boxers he coached to success. Courtesy of Banasko family.

 

If you enjoyed this blog, you might be interested in our Black History Month events throughout October.

 

Could World Museum have some of the oldest human remains in Europe?

16 August 2017 by Jen G

Dr Emma Pomeroy from Liverpool John Moores University reveals all about some exciting discoveries in World Museum’s collections.

We’re excited to announce a new collaborative project led by researchers from the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University and World Museum. The project will radiocarbon date five human teeth and part of a jawbone from World Museum’s collections. These all come from the same site that yielded the oldest known human remains from north-west Europe. These teeth and jaw could be important evidence for some of the earliest members of our species in

George Smerdon, site foreman for William Pengelly’s excavations, at the entrance to Kent’s Cavern in 1890. Photo from the British Geological Surve

the UK.
Read more…

Aidan Chavasse – centenary of the death of Noel Chavasse’s younger brother.

4 July 2017 by Karen O'Rourke

Soldier

Lieutenant Aidan Chavasse

In the coming weeks, there will be much written about Captain Noel Chavasse VC, as the 100th anniversary of his death on 4 August 1917 approaches. Read more…

More Pride online!

23 February 2017 by Kay

Statuette of standing Hermaphrodite

Pride and Prejudice is our groundbreaking project to put online the social history collections held at the Museum of Liverpool, and the fine and decorative art collections at Sudley House, Walker and Lady Lever art galleries, that have an LGBT connection. We’re excited to launch the final themes today, coinciding with LGBT History Month and the OUTing the past event at the Museum of Liverpool this weekend.
Read more…

Trailblazing transgender service in the British military

13 February 2017 by Kay

Caroline holding up her military uniform jacket

© Stephen King

Our 3rd blog post from one of our inspiring speakers from OUTing the Past: The 3rd National Festival of LGBT History conference, 25 February is Caroline Paige.

Caroline, born in Wallasey, became the first officer to transition gender in the British Armed Forces. She had already served 19 years in the RAF, on fighter aircraft and battlefield helicopters, and following her transition, completed a further 16 years.

Her fascinating talk will reveal the untold story of what it meant to be transgender in the British military before and after permissive LGBT service, the highs and the lows, in peacetime and in war.  Read more…

A warrior with some marker pens, glue and a photocopier!

6 February 2017 by Kay

red ribbon design with hearts

Our second blog post from one of our excellent speakers from OUTing the Past: The 3rd National Festival of LGBT History conference, which is coming to the Museum of Liverpool on 25 February, is Andrew Dineley. Andrew is the Creative Director of Soft Octopus Design Studio and will be discussing his activism and work designing, amongst many other things, Liverpool’s influential first HIV/AIDS public health materials in the 1980s. Read more…

‘Corruption of public morals’! – OUTing the Past

31 January 2017 by Kay

newspaper front page

International Times with ‘Busted’ headline. Courtesy Liverpool John Moores University

In the run up to our free conference OUTing the Past: The 3rd National Festival of LGBT History on 25 February, we will be publishing some special guest blogs by our exciting speakers to give you a flavour of the day and to find out more.

Our first is Valerie Stevenson, Head of Academic Services, Liverpool John Moores University who will be revealing the prosecution case of the International Times newspaper and the ‘corruption of public morals’. Read more…

The weird and wonderful jobs of Pembroke Place

9 January 2017 by Liz

Street sign for Pembroke Place

Today we have a guest blog from Richard MacDonald, a freelance historical researcher and Blue Badge Guide. Richard is leading a team of volunteers investigating historic street directories as part of the Galkoff’s and the Secret Life of Pembroke Place project.

“Have you ever been in the awkward situation of finding yourself with a filthy ostrich feather and not knowing how best to clean it? Read more…

New LGBT objects uncovered

5 December 2016 by Kay

Shaun Duggan with cup of tea

Shaun Duggan

Two new themes, Love and Relationships and Sex and Eroticism (what everyone’s been waiting for!) have now been launched as part of our Pride and Prejudice research project.

We have discovered some fascinating objects in our collections which tell a range of stories and histories. Some of my highlights featured are – Read more…

Pride and Prejudice – we need you

23 November 2016 by Matt

logoPride and Prejudice: Bringing stories out of the closet is a groudbreaking project to reveal the sometimes hidden LGBT histories of objects held at National Museums Liverpool’s art galleries and the Museum of Liverpool. The results of what the team have uncovered can be found on the project web pages, with more to be added at the end of this month.

A two year project, there is still much to come in the next 12 months.

In the next few weeks, there are two opportunities to meet the team at the Walker Art Gallery on 30 November, and the Museum of Liverpool  on 10 December. Come and find out what’s planned for 2017 and see how you can get involved.

Read more…



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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.